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Man or Madman? Abdullah in Hull

By TIM BAINES -- Ottawa Sun


There\'s a pause and a crack in the telephone line as The Madman from the Sudan picks up the receiver on the other end.

The barbaric Madman offers a polite \"hello\" and then, when asked to describe his style of wrestling, breaks into character.

\"I started hardcore wrestling,\" he spews. \"I was the first to use forks, hammers, nails ... everything. There are a bunch of idiots walking around trying to act like Abdullah.\"

This is not just any Abdullah.

Wrestling lore has it that the Butcher ... the unpredictable, bloodthirsty Abdullah the Butcher ... is in his sixth decade of carnage.

Lore also has it that the 400-plus-lb. lunatic has left fans in tears as, in his wrestling persona, he threatened to attack with his arsenal of cutlery.

The same Abdullah the Butcher who will be featured in the main event at tomorrow night\'s Canadian Professional Wrestling mega-card at Hull\'s Robert Guertin Centre, vowing to put on a performance this area will never forget.

\"Abdullah is coming back,\" he says as he once again gets his wrestling-speak tongue revved up. \"People there are going to see a 425-lb. man move like they\'ve never seen a man move before. When I get off the plane, I\'m going to run out of the airport and right to the arena. I am coming.\"

It\'s also the same soft-spoken Abdullah the Butcher who was born Lawrence Shreeve in Windsor. Part of a family of 10, the Butcher jokes in his wrestling-speak: \"Every time the police came to our house, there\'d be one more of us missing. That\'s how poor we were. We had to eat one of the other kids.\"

He now lives in Atlanta, Ga., where he proudly operates Abdullah the Butcher\'s House of Ribs and Chinese Food. But he still gets back to Windsor often to visit his 87-year-old mom, who The Madman says can\'t watch his in-ring carnage.

\"People used to call the house and tell my dad he should be ashamed of what I was doing,\" says a subdued Abdullah, who\'s been married for 27 years to Mrs. Abdullah, a saint who also refuses to watch her husband behave so boorishly in an arena.

But madmen can\'t stay subdued for long.

It\'s been suggested Abdullah is 66 years old, born Nov. 2, 1936. But he disputes that. \"I\'m 29,\" he says. \"I\'m still fast.\"

And who\'s to argue with The Madman?

As a youth, he learned karate and judo; Abdullah says he\'s a grandmaster seventh degree. A trip to the Windsor Arena would change his life.

\"I saw this wrestler-promoter Jack Britton,\" says Abdullah. \"He was driving a dark blue, 1963 Cadillac. He said to me, \'I can make a lot of money with you, kid.\'

\"Well, I\'m still here.\"

Abdullah says it was Gino Brito, one of the men behind tomorrow\'s card in Hull, who was the target of his first foreign object.

\"It was Buck Lake Ranch, Indiana,\" says Abdullah. \"I broke a chair and started hitting him with the leg.\"

BLOODY BRUTALITY

That jump-started a career of bloody brutality. Crimson-soaked feuds with guys like The Sheik, Bobo Brazil, Dusty Rhodes and Cactus Jack gave him a reputation as the craziest giver and taker of punishment out there.

Abdullah will be front and centre in a new wrestling promotion, Atlanta Pro Wrestling, which will have a Nov. 12 show.

But first, there\'s the show in Hull. He\'s promising more mayhem, vowing it\'ll be a show spectators will never forget.

Retire? There\'ll be no senior citizens home for The Madman any time soon.

\"I can\'t stop,\" he says. \"I want to pound on somebody. I just get a kick out of it.\"

And we\'ve gotten a big kick out of you Abdullah.

I\'d say thanks for the memories, but I\'m afraid in appreciation he\'ll gouge a chunk out of my forehead tomorrow night.

THE BIG SHOW: At the Guertin show tomorrow, I\'ll be doing my part to make sure that Pierre Carl Ouellet has a fair strap match against Thunder. You see, this yappy pipsqueak JJ Crooke has been sticking his nose into PCO\'s business. And I aim to ensure that doesn\'t happen tomorrow. So the little man is in big trouble -- he\'s handcuffed to me so he won\'t interfere. Abdullah will team with Wild Dangerous Dan to face Guy Sauriol and Dave Le Justicier. Among the other matches is CPW champ Dynamite Tommy Blade vs. Paranoid Jake Matthews. The show begins at 7:30. Don\'t miss it!

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