So pro wrestling legend Abdullah the Butcher is still inflicting pain in the squared circle — at the age of 73?
Apparently so, according to this terrific NYT profile of Abdullah (real name Larry Shreve), who portrays himself as “the Madman from The Sudan” but is actually Canadian. Of course.
Aside from moving a lot slower, Abdullah has hardly changed in his 50-year career. He’s still a giant, tipping the scales at 400-plus pounds. He still gouges opponents with his trademark fork, the ultimate pro wrestling “foreign object,” which always materializes from somewhere deep inside his costume. He still slices his forehead to bloody ribbons during a match, transforming his psychotic visage into a “crimson mask.” And he’s still, shall we say, entreprenuerial.
… Abdullah explains what motivates him. “Money,” he says. Then, for emphasis: “Money.” …
When first approached for an interview, Abdullah demands payment. “Everything has a price,” he says. “I’ve got to make a living.”
On the night of his match, before an interview is mentioned, Abdullah’s first words are, “Where’s my money?” When reminded that he will receive no compensation, he points to a stack of autographed photographs that sell for $10 apiece and says, “Buy one of these.”
It gets better. Deep in the story, you discover that Abdullah’s entrepreneurial spirit also manifests itself in an Atlanta restaurant — Abdullah the Butcher House of Ribs & Chinese Food. It’s everything you’d expect from a house of ribs and Chinese food named for a maniacal pro-wrestling heel.
This is a great country.