Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Abdullah the Butcher

Go To
"The Madman from the Sudan."

Lawrence Robert Shreve (born January 11, 1941), aka Abdullah the Butcher, is one of the biggest legends in Professional Wrestling history. Starting his career in his native Ontario in 1958, he became one of the true pioneers of hardcore wrestling.

A huge star in places like Japan, Mexico and Puerto Rico, he wrestled for All Japan Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, The UWA (Mexico), WCW, ECW, the American Wrestling Association, Stampede Wrestling, Juggalo Championship Wrestling, Dino Bravo and Gino Brito's "Lutte Internationale" in Montreal, the Von Erichs' World Class Championship Wrestling in Dallas, the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, Ring of Honor, Dragon Gate, Fighting Opera HUSTLE, and so many more. He traveled a lot over his career, mainly to keep his act from getting stale; it mainly consisted of him stabbing his opponent bloody with a fork, with other weapons used as well, brawling through the arena, and eventually pinning his opponent with his finisher. A major draw all over the world for decades, he and Dan Spivey faced Bruiser Brody and Carlos Colon in Brody's last-ever match, on July 15, 1988.

Among his achievements, he is a former All Japan Pro Wrestling PWF Heavyweight Champion, a former WWC (World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico) World Heavyweight Champion, he was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996, and into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011.

"Mad Tropes from the Sudan":

  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Tamba, from The '80s UWA Mexico, with the only difference he'd actually perform several wrestling holds and locks.
  • Arch-Enemy: A few, depending of the promotion. The most constant and legendary was Bruiser Brody.
  • As Himself: He appears at his restaurant in the video for "Damn!" by YoungBloodz.
  • Ax-Crazy: Uh, fork crazy? He was unnecessarily violent and clearly not all there anyway.
    • Most of his promos placed him gnawing from raw meat to bones and even a (fake) fly he catch on the... um, well "fly"!
  • Bald of Evil: ...of the foreign kind.
  • Bash Brothers: The Original Sheik, Tiger Jeet Singh, Kevin Sullivan, Giant Kamala #2, Cactus Jack.
  • The Butcher: Both literally and figuratively at this point. He earned the epithet from his fearsome reputation but he is a pretty good cook, at one point owning two restaurants (One in Atlanta and the other one in Tokyo) called "Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food."
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • For starters, Karnov was heavily inspired on him. Not just in his debut but in every installment the character is on.
    • Also 1993's Martial Champion Avu. But instead of a fork, the character wields a scimitar.
    • Recurring also in Fire Pro Wrestling as The Arab Danger.
  • Combat Pragmatist/Genius Bruiser: It takes wits to perform a very limited moveset based solely on cheat constantly, blade your opponent dry, actually not trading locks at all... and make it work!
  • Covered with Scars: Seriously, just look at the top of his head. Mick Foley mentioned once that you can place a whole casino chip inside of them!
  • Determinator: You really needed to deal a lot of punishment on Abby to take him down back in his day, not that he was imprevious to pain or something, but tough as few can brag about of being.
  • Expy: To The (Original) Sheik. The difference here was only on their favoured weapon.
  • Fat Bastard: Seriously, it came with the gimmick. "Fat" in that, if the image did not make it clear enough, he's not a small man, and "Bastard" in that he was very violent in the ring, and most wrestlers worth their salt know to steer clear of his bloody dome now, since his Hep C is an open secret (which he knowingly passed on to others in the ring) outside of the ring.
  • Finishing Move: Sudanese Meat Cleaver (Running Elbow Drop)
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Even though he wrestled largely outside of Canada, being from there was seemingly not foreign enough so he was billed from Sudan.
  • Garbage Wrestler: One of the Ur-Examples along with Brody and The Sheik. That said, he would work in actual wrestling moves here and there when he felt like it.
  • Heel: A traveling variety, letting people all over the world learn to fear him.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite what his fighting style might make you think, he has a background in both Judo and Karate.
    • According to Mick Foley's first book, Abdullah behind the scenes was a model of decorum, specifically mentioning him holding a fart for a hundred mile car trip as not to offend Foley's wife.
  • It Will Never Catch On: He was famously one of the first people to predict that Diamond Dallas Page would find success, even over Page's close friend Mick Foley. When asked why he thought so, Abby replied "He lives his gimmick."
  • Kayfabe: Is a notoriously hard man to interview for truth about certain facts and has even lied about his age constantly.
  • Long Runner: He was an active in-ring performer for 53 years.
  • Mighty Glacier: His working rate was really slow, making his heel tactics look even more premeditated and gory.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Created a very basic style that barely employed any regular wrestling moves and made it work for over five decades.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: With an epithet like "The butcher." Abdullah is a pretty nonthreatening name otherwise.
  • Never Learned to Read: Shreve only reached the 2nd grade, never learning to read or write.
  • Older Than He Looks: Does he look anywhere near 82?
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You/The Rival: Brody, BARS NONE!
  • Power Stable:
  • Red Baron: "The Madman from the Sudan", Kuroi Majutsu-shi (黒魔術師 "The Black Sorcerer") in Japan.
  • Ring Oldies: Abdullah wrestled long enough to have feuded with both Carlos Colon and his son, Carlito Colón.
  • Signature Move: O.K. count'em up people, it won't take you that long: Sword stab, Headbutt, Toe and Back Kick. THAT'S IT! It used to make truly a big fuzz during a match if he actually performed a Side Head Lock... go figure!
    • That said, biting and fork stabbing the other guy to oblivion was his shtick!
  • Spiritual Successor: Verily The Great Kabuki took a lot of cues from him.
  • Technician Versus Performer: In regard of the long standing rivalry with Brody, Abby has stated that despite his utter brutality, the latter was the real wrestler while his own style is a bit different as he stated on ''Dark Side of the Ring".
    "I'm not a wrestler, I don't grab holds! I use karate, I use Jiu-Jitsu... I can beat you up any time that I want to beat you up, understand?"
  • Theatrics of Pain: Hell, just listen to him screaming at top of his lungs every time he's being overpowered in a match... several aspiring Heavy Metal singers would be dying for having his pitch.
  • Tournament Arc: He won All Japan Pro Wrestling's Championship Carnival in 1976 and 1979.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He and The Sheik went back and forth either teaming up with each other or pitted against each other for years. Kevin Sullivan qualifies as well.
  • Vocal Dissonance: He is usually The Quiet One when wrestling since his gimmick didn’t require him to speak English or even at all. In real life, his voice has been compared to Kermit the Frog. In Mick Foley's first book, he wrote that Abby had "a surprisingly high-pitched voice".
  • Weapon Specialization: Just like Brody and The Sheik, it is a long list. He wasn't squeamish to employ whatever he could lay his hands on, extended but not limited to steel chairs, folding tables, ring bells, wiring, the announcer's microphone... But he always favored his trademark Fork Fencing, he even came down the aisle holding the cutlery instrument in his mouth at times.
  • Wrestling Monster: At barely 5' 11'' but weighting 360 lbs. Abby showed mighty few people could stand in his way. We are dealing with a performer who practically faced every big name in the last 3 generations of pro wrestlers here. YES, EACH AND EVERYONE!
  • Wrestling Psychology: Did you read what's in "Combat Pragmatist", buddy? ...well, 'NUFF SAID!!!