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Welcome to the WWE Abdullah the Butcher

Abdullah the Butcher is going into the WWE Hall of FameLegendary territorial pro wrestler Abdullah the Butcher will be heading into the WWE Hall of Fame. The WWE put together a great Abdullah the Butcher Hall of Fame video that brought back some fun memories of arguably the scariest heel in pro wrestling history.

I think it is a wonderful thing to see Abdullah the Butcher inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Yes, the Hall has lost a lot of credibility this year thanks to Drew Carey but I am going to ignore that for a moment. Celebrating the 40 plus year career of Abdullah the Butcher is something all of us old school wrestling fans can sink their forks into.

Like many wrestling fans my age (late thirties), I learned of Abdullah the Butcher through wrestling magazines. Every month I would read some article about Abdullah coming to some territory and attempting to collect bounties on some the biggest stars in pro wrestling during that time period. Abdullah was bigger than life to a kid like me and made a big impression on this wrestling fan long before I ever saw him wrestle.

Seeing him wrestle was a whole other story altogether. The pictures of Abdullah I would see in those magazines were unlike anything I’d see on my televised WWF wrestling. Nobody looked like Abdullah in the WWF or anywhere for that matter in pro wrestling. His image was so powerful that I often had nightmares after seeing him maim his opponent with a fork or object in a magazine. The pictures of Abdullah digging his fingers into his opponent’s face with his eyes bulging out of his head were enough to send any sane child into hysterics.

I was probably 12 or so years old when NWA Championship Wrestling was syndicated into Philadelphia. I would finally get to see guys like Ric Flair, the Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes, and Magnum TA on my television. But it wasn’t Flair or Dusty who made the biggest initial impact. It was Abdullah the Butcher!

Abdullah wrestled a preliminary match or what most would call a squash match on Jim Crockett Promotions syndicated television. Squash is definitely the operative word because Abdullah literally squashed this poor kid by stepping on him and beating him into oblivion. Abdullah was just as scary on television as he was in pictures, maybe even scarier. The Butcher dropped a 400 pound elbow on his opponent’s chest to end the match and I thought, “What the hell did I just see?” Minutes later Abdullah was eating paper in a promo and went from the scariest to the coolest wrestler I had ever seen.

Abdullah began a feud in the mid-1980s with the late Bruiser Brody that became something of legend. Pictures and descriptions of their wild matches littered the monthly wrestling magazines. World Class Championship Wrestling was syndicated into Philadelphia which gave me a few brief glimpses into their legendary brawls. There was something about seeing these two giant men tear into each other all over an arena that captivated me on paper and screen instantly.

Abdullah the Butcher vs. Bruiser Brody in Wildwood NJI was lucky enough to catch one of these legendary Abdullah the Butcher vs. Bruiser Brody matches live. Brody died in 1988 so I want to see it was 1987-88. The two rivals headlined an independent wrestling show in Wildwood, NJ at the Wildwood Convention Center. It was well worth the wait to see these two legends I had read about for almost ten years live and in person.

Brody and Abdullah delivered the second they made physical contact. Quite honestly I don’t even think they ever got into the ring. The two men brawled all over the building, tearing apart the concession stand and bathrooms. At one point I remember Abdullah the Butcher using a broomstick on the big Bruiser. Not surprisingly the two fought to a double disqualification. I had never seen anything like this before in my life. Luckily I would get it to see up and close and personal on a regular basis 9 years later when ECW brought their version of Brody vs. Abdullah to Philadelphia on a monthly basis.

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Once Vince McMahon began swallowing up the territories, Abdullah became less active in the United States. Abdullah would appear sporadically in WCW but never got the big push he received elsewhere throughout his career. Even as he was winding down his career, his matches in WCW against Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan stole many shows.

One of my favorite Abdullah the Butcher WCW highlights (we won’t get into low lights at Halloween Havoc) was Starrcade 91. Starrcade 91 featured the Lethal Lottery which paired random wrestlers as tag team partners throughout the night (an idea I always thought would make for a great WWE event). Sting was randomly paired with Abdullah as partners to wrestle Brian Pillman and Bobby Eaton. Abdullah came out, acted as if he was going to shake Sting’s hand, and then attacked him. The place went nuts and it was simply awesome! In my opinion, Abdullah the Butcher stole the show at Starrcade 91.

I used to sneak backstage at the old NWA shows at the Philadelphia Civic Center as a teenager. I can honestly tell you that all of the guys for the most part were pretty cool. If they saw you back there, they assumed you belonged, and were always very friendly. However, Abdullah the Butcher was a different story. He was so old school that he would stay in gimmick anytime he spotted a non pro wrestler in the back. I remember seeing Abdullah flapping his lips and shooting menacing stares with his crazy eyes as he’d walk up the ramp and wonder to myself, “What the hell am I going to do if this guy decides to run into the green room and go nuts?” I probably would have had a heart attack.

It will be odd seeing Abdullah present any kind of acceptance speech at the Hall of Fame. During his day, he never gave interviews. Abdullah would just stare, eat paper, or break objects as his managers would do the talking for him. Abdullah has chilled out quite a bit over the last few years and has done many interviews out of character.

I interviewed Abdullah about ten years ago for an RF Video Shoot Interview. I had no idea what to expect sitting a few feet away from the man that gave me nightmares as a kid. By this time Abdullah was probably in his sixties and well, I don’t think he was going to win any marathons. Even still, there was a part of me that was in fear as I stared into those dozens of scars and gig marks on the head of one of the most intimidating figures in or out of pro wrestling. At one point during the interview he actually pulled a prank on my friend the late Doug Gentry where he almost had Doug going to the bathroom in his pants. It was awesome and quite honestly I wouldn’t have blamed Doug one bit.

I always thought that Abdullah would have made for a great foe against either Hulk Hogan or Bob Backlund. I can’t imagine any young pro wrestling fan at that time not in fear of Abdullah massacring the top stars and taking the WWF championship back to Sudan. It never happened for a variety of reasons yet ironically Abdullah the Butcher is finally getting some WWE television time and it is about damned time.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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