Abdullah the Butcher
Lawrence Robert "Larry" Shreve, best known as Abdullah the Butcher, is a semi-retired Canadian professional wrestler known as one of the most brutal professional wrestlers of all-time. He debuted in the late 1950s.
Abdullah is one of the most famous gaijin wrestlers in the puroresu history. He has been to Japan more than 140 times, which is the record for the gaijin talents as of 2008. His entrance music in Japan is "One of These Days" by Pink Floyd.
The scars in his forehead are said to be a result of frequent blading.
Outside of wrestling, Abdullah owns "Abdullah the Butcher's House of Ribs and Chinese Food" in Atlanta, Georgia.
Shreve grew up in Windsor, Ontario, Canada to a Native American father and African American mother. He learned karate and jūdō as a youth and, teaching fellow children in the backyard, claims to have eventually earned the title of seventh-degree grandmaster.
Standing 6 feet tall and weighing a robust 441 pounds, Shreve caught the attention of Montreal promoter Jack Britton, and he soon made his professional wrestling debut at age 17 in 1958. He initially competed in numerous independent territories north of the border under such various monikers as Pussycat Pickens and Zeras Amala. However, he ultimately created his legendary gimmick of an evil Arabian sadist; and in a match against Gino Brito (Jack Britton's real-life son), Abdullah the Butcher first distinguished himself as one of the world's most feared rule breakers when he broke a chair over Brito's head and then beat him senseless with the leg.
For the 1960s, Abdullah mainly wrestled in his home country of Canada. He won his first major championship on 1967/10/23 when he teamed with Dr. Jerry Graham to defeat John Tolos & Chris Tolos for the NWA Canadian Tag Team Championship in Vancouver. A few years later, he ventured to the Montreal region, where he had three reigns as the IWA International Heavyweight Champion between 1969 and 1972, feuding against Ivan Koloff and Johnny Rougeau.
He later served as one of the premier rule breakers in Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, capturing the NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship, as well as having six North American Heavyweight Championship reigns during the early 1970s.
In the early 1970s, Abdullah was based in the Great Lake region. On 1972/6/24, he defeated Ernie Ladd in Akron, Ohio to capture NWF World Heavyweight Championship. He also performed in the Detroit territory in the 1970s, and he engaged in a classic rivalry against local legend, The Sheik. He teamed with Killer Tim Brooks to win the NWA World Tag Team Championship before defeating Bobo Brazil on 1975/2/8 for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship.
Throught the 1970s and 1980s, he wrestled in Japan as well as many territories such as Georgia, Mid-Atlantic, Florida, Puerto Rico, and Texas.
Japan Pro-Wrestling Association (1970-1972)
Abdulla first wrestled in Japan for Japan Pro-Wrestling Association in the summer of 1970. He was still unknown, but during his Japanese debut, he pinned the country top star, Giant Baba. He gained the popularity throughout the tour, and on the last card of the tour, JWA decided to replace Karl Heisinger with Abdullah as the challenger for Baba's NWA International Heavyweight Championship.
All Japan Pro-Wrestling (1972-1981)
After Giant Baba started All Japan Pro-Wrestling in 1972, Abdullah became a regular gaijin and feuded the "fan favorites" such as Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta, The Destroyer, and The Funk Brothers. The huge-drawing feud between Baba and Abdullah went on for two decades, often involving the titles such as PWF Heavyweight Championship and NWA International Tag Team Championship. He enjoyed the feuds, saying that he remembers all bouts with Baba and is very happy with every one of them. He also says, "because I had Baba as my rival, I was able to understand what the Japanese fans wanted and was able to improve my skill to make them happy.".
In 1977/12, All Japan held a round-robin tournament, "World Open Tag Team Championship", which was the preceder to the annual "Real World Tag Team League". Abdullah participated in the league, teaming with The Sheik. The final match of the league took place on 12/15 at Kuramae Kokugikan between the heel team and the Funk Brothers, Dory Jr. and Terry. This match brought even more popularity to the Funks, who became rare example of a gaijin "faces".
On 1979/8/26, Tokyo Sports, a newspaper company that supported puroresu for long time, held an allstar card with All Japan, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and International Wrestling Enterprise. In the main event, Baba teamed with his promotional rival/enemy Antonio Inoki to face Abdullah and Tiger Jeet Singh, who was at the time New Japan's top heel.
New Japan Pro-Wrestling (1981-1985)
In 1981, Abdullah shocked the fans by jumping to New Japan. The promotional war between New Japan and All Japan started. Dick Murdoch and Tiger Toguchi, who was the third top star of All Japan, also had joined New Japan. In return, All Japan signed two of New Japan's top gaijins, Stan Hansen and Tiger Jeet Singh.
Although his matches against Inoki were rather disappointing to the fans, he had several memorable bouts against other gaijin wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan, Dick Murdoch, Dusty Rhodes, and Wahoo McDaniel.
All Japan Pro-Wrestling (1987-1996)
After two years of absence from the puroresu scene, Abdullah returned to All Japan in 1987, teaming with TNT to participate in the annual Real World Tag Team League. In the following year, Abdullah and Tiger Jeet Singh reunited as the team of two of the top heels in the history of puroresu.
During Baba's 30th anniversary memorial card on 1990/9/30, Abdullah teamed with Baba to face Hansen and Andre the Giant.
In the 1990s, he mainly teamed with Giant Kimala II. After Baba stepped down from the main events, Abdullah also stepped down and became more of a comic attraction in the mid-cards.
Independent promotions (1996-2000)
Abdullah competed more regularly in Big Japan Pro-Wrestling after 1999.
He wrestled for All Japan three times in 2001. One of the historical moments took place during Giant Baba's memorial card at Tokyo Dome when Abdullah teamed with Kimala (II) to face Terry Funk and Ōnita Atsushi. He continued to perform irregularly for All Japan through 2008.
Abdullah also has wrestled for various indepdendent groups such as Hustle, IWA Japan, Dragon Gate, and Osaka Pro-Wrestling. He also appeared on New Japan card for the first time in 25 years on 2010/1/4 at Tokyo Dome.
- NWA Canadian Tag Team Championship (Vancouver) (2 times)
- IWA International Heavyweight Champion (Montreal) (3 times)
- NWA Canadian Heavyweight Championship (Calgary)
- North American Heavyweight Championship (Calgary) (6 times)
- NWF World Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- PWF Heavyweight Championship
- Puerto Rican Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- NWA International Tag Team Championship
- NWA United National Heavyweight Championship
- WWC North American Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- WWC World/Universal Heavyweight Championship (6 times)
- Caribbean Heavyweight Championship (3 times)
- WCWA Texas Brass Knuckles Championship
- International Heavyweight Championship (Montreal)
- TWA Tag Team Championship