April 6, 2009
Abdullah the Butcher says adieu to Montreal
By PATRIC LAPRADE - For SLAM! Wrestling
MONTREAL - Abdullah the Butcher has been the talk of the town for several weeks now, with his supposed final show in Canada taking place this past Saturday. Needless to say, the match -- a loss to Hannibal -- went down in typical Abby fashion.
The main event at the NDR Centre, under the auspices of the NCW promotion, started outside the ring, with Hannibal giving chair shots to Abdullah. The fans -- about 550 of them -- got on their feet and stayed up until the match ended. After a few minutes of brawling, Abdullah was already covered of blood. The fans were hooked! You could hear chants of Abdullah throughout the venue. After a while, Abby gave his famous karate chop to the delight of the crowd, which popped for the move. Then he took a fork out of his pants and started to hit Hannibal with it. Another huge pop from the crowd.
They finally stepped in the ring and, after a good 10-minute match, Hannibal pinned Abdullah 1-2-3. The crowd wasn’t too happy with the result though. But Abdullah, who was seconded by his old manager Deepak Massand, gave them something to remember as he attacked the referee, Wild Dangerous Dan, former CPW promoter in Gatineau, blaming him for the loss. The crowd gave Abdullah a final ovation before the legend headed back to his locker room.
Even though he lost, the fans saw what they wanted: karate chops, the fork, a hell of a beating and blood! It was another Abdullah’s classic.
The promotion for the bout was unlike any other indy show. The Journal de Montréal covered the story with a full-page article. The most listened to morning-man in Montreal talked about it for a half hour. SLAM! Wrestling ran a Q&A with Abby, as well as a feature on Abdullah's five-year feud with Hannibal, and the Sun's Tim Baines interviewed The Butcher for his national column.
Suddenly, people who once were wrestling fans were again talking about Abdullah. They all remembered his fork, the riots he was part of with Eddie Creatchman as his manager and, of course, his bloody matches. The young fans who never saw him wrestle live wanted to come. Even my uncle, who is 70 years old, and my 16-year-old cousin called me about tickets.
Around 7 p.m., the doors opened. There were a few hundred people waiting in line before the show. It was just an amazing atmosphere. The show was held at NDR Center in the Villeray neighbourhood of Montreal, the same place where Johnny Rougeau, who had great matches with Abdullah himself, used to live. The NCW promotion has been running its shows there every two weeks for years and was co-promoting the show with Devon Nicholson (Hannibal) of the Wrestling Supershows promotion.
But it wasn’t a usual crowd that night. A lot of those 550 fans were old fans who probably haven't seen wrestling live in Montreal for 20 years. The venue was completely packed, and people were actually refused entry at the door. Oldtimers like Gino Brito and Louis Laurence were among the people there Saturday night.
It was a great night and perhaps the last hooray of Abdullah the Butcher in a city where he was a living legend.
Personally, I had the privilege to have lunch with Abdullah before the show, along with Dan Gervais and Gino Brito. He seemed just happy to remember all kinds of stories, including his time in Montreal.
Just as many people went away happy Saturday night.
Here’s the rest of the card presented by NCW:
Patric Laprade has been a part of the Quebec indy scene for nine years and is actually working on a book about Quebec wrestling history. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on his website at www.quebechof.com.