August 9, 2007
Abdullah the Butcher's a cutupSuperEX wrestling a slice
By DON BRENNAN - Ottawa Sun
Being in the same room as a butcher, there's always a good chance you're going to get splattered. Especially when his name is Abdullah.
This, we were reminded yesterday at a press conference hyping SuperEx Showdown: When Legends Collide, slated for Aug. 23 at Lansdowne.
The scheduled combatants in what promises to be the messiest meeting of the night are Hannibal (a.k.a. Ottawa's Devon Nicholson) and legendary villain Abdullah the Butcher (a.k.a. The Madman from Sudan, a.k.a. Larry Shreve), and when the two headed for the front stage in the Assembly Hall to sign the contract for the bout, I heeded the Butcher's reputation and went to the back.
Sure enough, no sooner had pen met paper than Abdullah's manager Honest John Portly began chirping Hannibal, who responded by swatting the fat man across the face and into the stage.
Naturally, the Butcher didn't stand for such treatment of his handler. He slowly lifted his 400-lb. frame from the chair, grabbed a pop can and bashed it into Hannibal's forehead. That started the red stuff flowing.
Not satisfied, the Butcher reached into his black bag, pulled out his signature illegal weapon, then dug the fork into his victim's scalp. Hannibal, his face covered in crimson, managed to get a couple of shots at the Butcher -- while the latter was being held by peacekeepers -- before he was led from the room.
On his way out, Hannibal screamed some threats, threw down a chair and a garbage can and stomped directly at the innocent Ottawa Sun scribe who didn't realize he was standing beside a clear door to the parking lot.
"Getouttamyway!" Hannibal spat, pushing yours truly aside before disappearing through the exit. His blood (or whatever the hell it was) wound up on my shirt sleeve, my arm and my notebook.
It was almost enough to make a guy lose temporary interest in the sandwiches they were bringing out for lunch. Almost.
"He has some real anger issues," Honest John, a welt across his left cheek, said of Hannibal. "We've been to Puerto Rico, Japan, Korea ... all over the world with this kid. It's been pretty bloody. On Aug. 23 there won't be a question ... we're going to lay this kid down!"
Now, Hannibal is 24 years old, but he really is a kid compared to the Butcher. As is about everybody else. One of the industry's all-time great bad guys, Abdullah is now 70.
That is not a typo .... the man is still grapplin' and gougin' at 70 years of age.
Maybe John Muckler wasn't too old to be a GM after all.
"I've fought 'em all," Shreve (real name) says, rhyming off legends like Andre the Giant, Edouard Carpentier, Don Leo Jonathan, Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon and The Sheik. "I've been in the business for 46 years. What I've forgotten, (Hannibal) will never know."
Shreve, originally from Windsor, owns Abdullah The Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food, with locations in Atlanta and Korea.
How ironic, that a guy who uses a fork on people (he demonstrated his digging technique on my left arm to prove the instrument was very real, thank you) also feeds them in his own restaurant.
"When I'm cutting up meat, I'm reminded that I'm cutting up people, too," said Shreve, who is then asked about the most damage he ever inflicted on an opponent. "One guy needed about 60 or 70 stitches. I cut Dusty Rhodes for 15 stitches in Japan. I cut (Hulk) Hogan for 15, too."
He's also been on the receiving end of some severe punishment.
"Right here I was burned," said Shreve, pulling back his left sleeve to show scars near his armpit. "A guy had gasoline in his mouth and lit it. He would have set my face on fire if I hadn't turned my head."
I ask Shreve: "How do you explain your longevity in such a brutal business?"
"No. 1, The Man upstairs is taking care of me," he said. "And you keep going because you can't stop. I'll probably die in the ring."
Who's the toughest opponent you ever faced?
"My wife," he said, a slow smile finally crossing his face as he lowers himself into the back seat of a limo.
Abdullah the Butcher/The Madman from Sudan/Larry Shreve: "Tell the people to be there on the 23rd. Tell them the only way I'm ever going to retire is if they carry me out on a stretcher. Until then, I'll still be walking."
And carving his place into wrestling history.