By Paul Stratoti, Contributing Writer & Lifetime Cauliflower Alley Club Member
Happy Birthday (January 11, 1941) Abdullah the Butcher from the Cauliflower Alley Club and the Gorilla Position!
On behalf of the Cauliflower Alley Club I’d like to invite you to attend the 2018 Cauliflower Alley Club Reunion April 30 – May 2nd. Our organization supports our members who may have fallen on hard times, based upon individual circumstance, and who may be in need of medical care.
It was your blood that this reporter tasted sometime in 1972 when my peers kept making fun at my fascination with the wrestling biz and I needed to shut them the fuck up about whether the blood that they saw flowing was real, crayon, capsule, etc. You didn’t seem to mind my wiping my hand over your bloody forehead at the Cleveland Arena ringside area after which I kept my distance. From this point on I knew that the blood was real and original and nobody could detract from the facts and after countless visits to the arenas to see matches in which Abdullah wrestled in I don’t think I saw very many where there was no bloodshed.
Allowing me to photograph you backstage through the years without protest, cooperating with my photo shoots an subsequent calling me in 2005 while I was in college class all lead to the desire to obtain your services at some point in the future.
In recent years our beloved WWE Hall of Famer has accumulated a few ailments the kind of like which has kept him away from our reunions as well as out of in-ring action. Make no mistake about it; his legion of fans want to preserve his legacy and to carry the torch of remembrance in a positive light.
Local Match Highlights
- On November 6, 1971 at Cleveland Arena during the final Cleveland Arena event of the evening, Joe LeDuc won the 20 Man Battle Royal*. Out from nowhere, Abdullah the Butcher who was wearing an expensive looking suit with his manager Eddie “the Brain” Crechman stormed the ring. They had never been seen in this arena before. Abdullah remained on the ring apron while Crechman distracted the referee and issued a series of insults to the “Canadian Lumberjack” Joe LeDuc. At one point, Leduc became so incensed that he exploded with rage, grabbing a hold of Crechman by the throat and lifting him into the air. As he was about to slam him, Abdullah stepped in to give a series of mule-kicks and karate chops to LeDuc, which wore him down considerably. Then before anyone knew what was happening, it was all over. Crechman had slipped the Butcher a lit cigar. While Crechman continued shouting insults Abdullah threw a fire-ball into Leduc’s eyes, blinding and burning his retinas. LeDuc went down as a dazed Abdullah followed Crechman back to the dressing room.
The “Palestinian Brain” had brought the Butcher into the NWA via the Detroit connection and ever since Abdullah rampaged through all parts of Ohio and most parts of the USA injuring and maiming countless opponents in his blood lust for the ultimate goal of working in WWE at some point.
- On November 25, 1971 at Cleveland Arena Abdullah returned to wrestle and defeat Chief White Owl.
- December 2, 1971 @ Cleveland Arena – Abdullah the Butcher vs Johnny Powers went to a NO CONTEST!
- December 9, 1971 @ Cleveland Arena – Johnny Powers vs Abdullah again went to a NO CONTEST. The action just could not be contained in the ring!
- December 30, 1971 @ Cleveland Arena – Abdullah defeated Johnny Powers by DQ!
- January 6, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Powers and Dominic DeNucci defeated Waldo Von Erich & Abdullah
- February 3, 1972 @Cleveland Arena – Abdullah vs Bobo Brazil – Double DQ!
February 10, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena- Powers & DeNucci defeated Abdullah & Luke Graham by DQ!
- February 17, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Abdullah vs DeNucci -D DQ!
- February 24, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Abdullah vs Tony Parisi – DRAW!
- March 17, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena Tony Marino vs Abdullah the Butcher – Double DQ!
- June 2, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Abdullah defeated Mike Loren
- June 9, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena Abdullah defeated Dandy Dan Miller
- June 16, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Abdullah defeated Manuel Soto
- June 23, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Abdullah defeated Manuel Soto
- June 30, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – New NWF World Champion Abdullah the Butcher defeats Ernie Ladd by DQ!
- August 12, 1972 @ Cleveland Municipal Stadium WRESTLING SUPERBOWL – Brass Knuckles Match: Abdullah the Butcher defeats Ernie Ladd by DQ!
- October 19, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Johnny Valentine defeats Abdullah the Butcher for the NWF Heavyweight Championship!
- October 28, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Abdullah def Manuel Soto
- November 18, 1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Ernie Ladd/Mystery Partner Bearcat Wright def Valentine/Abdullah
- November 23,1972 @ Cleveland Arena – Ernie Ladd def Abdullah
- December 15, 1974 @ Akron Armory – Abdullah defeated Leo Burke
- December 28, 1974 @ Akron Armory- NO Count-Outs: Mighty Igor defeated Abdullah by DQ!
- December 30, 1974 @ Cleveland Masonic Auditorium – The Sheik & Abdullah the Butcher defeated Johnny Powers & Ernie Ladd by DQ!
- January 12, 1975 @ Akron Armory – Abdullah the Butcher def Ernie Ladd by DQ!
- January 18, 1975 Akron Armory – Abdullah defeated Tex McKenzie
- January 25, 1975 @ Cobo Arena Special Referee-Andre the Giant: Tex McKenzie defeat the Sheik & Abdullah by DQ!
- January 30, 1975 @ St. Joseph High School – Abdullah the Butcher vs Johnny Powers – D DQ!
- February 15, 1975 @ Akron Armory – Johnny Powers vs Abdullah – D DQ!
- February 22, 1975 @ Akron Armory – Special referee Walter Johnson: Abdullah defeated Johnny Powers by DQ
- February 27, 1975 @ St. Joseph High School – Abdullah the Butcher defeats Johnny Powers! Angelo Poffo interfered!
- March 15, 1975 @ Akron Armory – Abdullah defeats Jimmy Banks by count out. – Later that night Abdullah vs Johnny Powers went to a double count out
- March 20, 1977 @ Canton Civic Center – Bulldog Don Kent & Ripper Collins defeat Abdullah & Gino Hernandes
- August 20, 1977 @ Cobo Arena – Dory Funk Jr. defeats the Sheik by DQ. Abdullah interferes, then remains in ring! – Abdullah vs Andre the Giant went to a Double Count Out!
- September 17, 1977 @ Cobo Arena: Texas Tornado Match: Fists are taped – Abdullah & the Sheik defeated the Funk Bros.
- October 30, 1977 @ Cobo Arena – Abdullah/Moose Cholak defeat Sheik/KentÂ by Captain Ed George interferes!
- December 18, 1977 @ Cobo Arena – Abdullah vs Ed George by D DQ!
- January 7, 1978 @ Cobo Arena – Hank James defeats Abdullah by DQ!
- November 18, 1983 @ Cleveland Convention Center:- Tommy Rich defeats Abdullah the Butcher by DQ!
- February 25, 1984 @ Cleveland Hts., High School – Abdullah the Butcher defeats Big Red (aka Voodoo Mulumba)
- February 26, 1984 @ Painesville Harvey High School – Abdullah the Butcher defeats Big Red
- March 15, 1984 @ Palomino Night Club – Abdullah the Butcher def Bob White
- April 29, 1984 @ Orange High School – Johnny Powers vs Abdullah the Butcher by D DQ*
- May 3, 1984 @ Pope John Hall: – IWA Int’l Championship: Johnny Powers (champion) vs Abdullah the Butcher by D DQ!
- October 9, 1984 in Hermitage PA @ ? – Abdullah the Butcher defeats Voodoo Mulumba!
- October 10, 1984 @ Girard High School – Abdullah pins Voodoo Mulumba!
- December 27, 1984 @ Cleveland Convention Center – Tommy Rich/Abdullah def Long Riders by DQ!
- April 19, 1985 @ Cleveland Hts., High School – Abdullah the Butcher vs Blackjack Mulligan by D DQ!
- October 7, 1985 @ Canton Civic Center – Rock & Roll Express def Abdullah the Butcher & Thunderfoot- DQ!
- November 16, 1985 at Cleveland Convention Center – Abdullah the Butcher vs Manny Fernandez went to a Double Count Out
- December 7, 1985 at Cleveland Convention Center – Rock & Roll Express defeated Abdullah the Butcher and the Barbarian when Morton pinned Barbarian
- January 8, 1986 at Ashtabula High School – Abdullah the Butcher vs Dominic DeNucci went to a Double DQ!
- March 27, 1990 @ Canton Civic Center – Norman/Abdullah def Robbie Idol/Mike Sampson
- November 2, 1991 @ Cleveland Convention Center – Sting defeats Abdullah (w Cactus Jack) by DQ!
- April 9, 2006 at Turner’s Hall – Abdullah defeated Michael Hellborne
Abdullah the Butcher interview conducted by your’s truly:
Welcome once again to Cleveland, Ohio this time at Turner’s Hall for Cleveland All Pro Wrestling’s “April Armageddon 2006” where your opponent for tonight is Michael Hellborne who is more notably recognized as the BasketNazi. You may have recalled reading his interview that I had 2 months ago conducted in this weight room where he stated that he was in search of a “Hardcore” Title. He claims he doesn’t mind bleeding as he tears through his opponents flesh and makes him bleed more in the process in search of that title:
So what do you think of the facility over here?
“Well we drew the biggest house in history and we had to turn people away tonight. Me and my partner Honest John and the other people were scared to death. They didn’t want to go on last so they put us on last and we still went out there and tore the place down and beat the shit out of everybody. What do you think, John, tell them what you think.”
“It was a beautiful sight, Mr. Abdullah. The man who set the shows up did all year what we did in 1 night.”
Abdullah, you’ve had over 50 matches right here in the city of Cleveland and surrounding burbs. As I remember November 6, 1971 was your debut here in Cleveland.
“I’ve been in the business 45 years. Every place I go I draw people. Every time me and Honest John go into a building we have interviews….We had an interview with WEW the Women’s promotion and the guy kept coming back for, what did he want?”
“He wanted more and more interviews.”
“…and then you know I have my record company.”
“…and that number for the record company is 1-877-MUSIC07.”
In going over some of your past battles here in Cleveland, one name that comes to mind is National Wrestling Federation Promoter Johnny Powers. He had the longest lasting independent wrestling federation in the area here until about 6 years ago when Cleveland All Pro Wrestling set the record.
“Well, Johnny Powers was a great man. I liked him and Pedro Martinez who was the promoter at the time. I’ve seen Johnny Powers up in Toronto. He’s doing very well. He’s a wealthy man. He still has big power. I hate to say it but it took Abdullah and Honest John to come back to Cleveland and pack the place. We turned people away. Do you know what I mean? It’s like people playing ring-a-round-a-Rosie. They were square dancing around the building because they couldn’t get in.
I remember the very first time I saw you on November 6, 1971 when you scared the shit out of me…
“Ah, sir, don’t be swearing. My sister is here and she’s a preacher. OK? Have some respect.”
“Yes, sir… I seem to remember that you threw fire at him at that time, something that I’ve not seen the 50 or so other times that I’ve seen you wrestle Northeast Ohio. Is my memory clogged, or did I in fact see the fire?
“Yes. I threw fire and…”
Your manager at the time was Eddie “the Brain” Crechman.
“Eddie Crechman’s dead. He’s gone, passed. He’s probably turned into ashes by now…The noble Sheik, he’s gone too. Bobo Brazil. They’re all gone.”
I recall an interview that I conducted with the late Grand Wizard and when I told him about that debut at Cleveland Arena and I’ll never forget his words, and I quote:
“The only fire that Abdullah the Butcher will ever be able to throw is that which gets lit from a pack of matches or a cigarette lighter. He is merely lying. Only the Sheik gets his powers from Allah, not Abdullah, not Mephisto!”
I never had the chance to talk with you about this `till today, Mr. Butcher. Would you like to give some feedback on those comments?
“Well, at that time the Weasel and the Sheik were jealous of me. I was a newcomer coming up and they were scared at what I was doing and I overpowered them. I’m still going. The Weasel, he’s floating someplace. The Sheik, he’s gone and that’s it. When you say that only Allah can throw the fire, uh-uh! Anybody can throw fire. Take some gasoline light it and throw it. What do you think, John?”
“So how did you feel tonight when you were out there taking pictures and…”
: “Getting beaten up!”
“How did you feel right at the moment when all of a sudden you got dropped?”
I was here to take pictures, my friend. I wasn’t talking to you!
“You weren’t talking to me but I think that somebody else had 5 fingers walking across your head and it was a beautiful sight!”
Bloodthirsty Misfits do rule in Stratmandu, I’ll say that for sure! … I’m going to read off a few names. If you like, kindly give some views on these people and events.
Recently dethroned CAPW Heavyweight Champ Chris Hamrick.
“Is that with one of those young kids?”
Chris Hamrick was for a minute in ECW in `94. In July of 05 he hit the “Great American Bash” where he wrestled Road Warrior Animal.
…During this time, our waitress asked how our meals were right after which Abdullah interrupted the waitress and said:
“Hey, my sister is praying and we’re trying to eat so quit trying to bother us! Let her say prayers here for a minute!”
Another of your earlier opponents at Cleveland Arena was the late Tex McKenzie:
“Tex McKenzie was a good guy. I wrestled him many times. He was good. Now what I’m going to do is eat my food.”
[At this time I put the recorder away. I waited until after we arrived back at Days Inn to resume the interview]
One of my all time favorite phenomenal tag teams was Abdullah when you were teamed up with the Sheik at Cleveland Masonic Temple and Cobo Arena.
“Well, me and the Sheik were a good tag team but I didn’t trust him and he didn’t trust me because you never knew when we were going to turn on each other. What else do you want me to say?”
You covered it in a nutshell right there. Perhaps we can go into some of your past hardcore matches. Andre the Giant was a classic.
“He was classic but he was a big giant and I took him off his feet. I stabbed him. I beat him up. He was a good fighter but he was a little giant like Giant Baba and Pak Son. They were giants but they
were all clumsy too.”
How about Pampero Firpo, Did you ever fight him?
“Pampero Firpo was a good fighter but he was just a little midget. Firp had a little beard and a little skull. That’s all he was.”
“Tony Atlas was a good wrestler but I wrestled him when he was called the Black something. He wore a mask until I took the mask off of him in the Omni.”
Stratman: I know that he was there the night that Bruiser Brody got killed.
Abdullah: “No comment on that!”
Strat: Tonight we had Samoa Joe debut and go against the returning Rhino.
“We were supposed to be before them but they came up with some kind of excuse saying that they didn’t want to wrestle after us. But together, me and Honest John are the only ones who sold out that building and turned people away. That’s it.”
Strat: …and that record speaks for itself here 46 years after you entered this sport.
“I came back to Cleveland and still sold it out again! The people enjoyed the `Hardcore’ match.”
Strat: There were sure a lot of bloodthirsty misfits at Turner’s Hall!
“That’s it, there were a lot! What do you say about that, Honest John?
“You know, Mr. Abdullah, the thing is here we are and people talk about 46 years, but it’s awful strange. Every year everywhere you go it seems to sell out more than ever.”
“Hey, John, why don’t they give me the chance before I get out of this business to go to New York?
“Mr. Abdullah, You…”
“I’m the one that should be in the Hall of Fame!”
“You’re the one that should be in New York and in Japan, nobody wouldn’t be anything without you, Mr. Abdullah!”
“Thank you, sir! A good man like Johnny Ace. I taught him a lot in Japan. He wouldn’t even give me the decency to call me but you know, Mr Ace, there’s always one saying `What goes around always comes back’. Remember, Johnny, I helped you many times. You came to me many times. It’s OK. Sayonara!”
[One hour later I returned to Abdullah’s hotel room in search of one final interview question]
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
“Yeah, who is it?”
“Look, look! You’ve chased us all over Cleveland. You’re driving us crazy. You’re marking out! How about going to your crib and letting us get some sleep so we can get out of this place? We pack a place four times what they draw and you just keep following us around. Get on your computer, watch some Abdullah tapes, and just leave the man alone! Don’t forget, Mr. Abdullah is a gentleman. Let the man rest!”
NOTE: The following is what I happened to capture as I snuck my tape player through Abdullah’s hotel room door a short time later:
“Here it is, man, midnight. Isn’t it great to know that out of about 750 people, we are the only 2 who are going to lay down without fear? They all rest with fear. It’s this way everywhere we go. People who live with this fear should call 1-877-MUSIC07. How sweet it is. Goodnight, Abdullah.”
Abdullah:”Let me go to sleep, will you?!!”
After Abdullah won induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, “Superstar” Billy Graham made the following comments on Wikipedia… In April 2011, Billy Graham stated he wanted out of the WWE Hall of Fame stating,
“For the WWE to induct into their Hall of Fame, Abdullah The Butcher, who has never wrestled one match under a WWE contract, is bordering on blasphemy. I am demanding that this company remove my name from their index of Hall of Fame wrestlers. It is a shameless organization to induct a bloodthirsty animal such as Abdullah The Butcher into their worthless and embarrassing Hall of Fame and I want the name of Superstar Billy Graham to be no part of it. The WWE and their Hall of Fame is disgustingly embarrassing, I want out.”
Ironically enough, Billy Graham’s autobiography referenced Abdullah in a very positive light.
- March 29, 2008 – UXW @ The Central Florida Fairgrounds Pavilion, Orlando, FL – ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER vs. STEVE CORINO In ANYTHING GOES NO DQ… …..NO RULES MATCH!
On April 12, 2008 @ Franklin Area High School Abdullah faced “Wildfire” Tommy Rich. Match could not be contained in the ring! Later, Abdullah stated that he will be appearing overseas the following week.
While Abdullah may currently be enjoying semi-retirement from the wrestling business his heart will always be with the biz.
Not long ago, I asked former CAPW Heavyweight Champion Chris Hamrick if he had ever met the Butcher. This is what he had to say:
“Yeah, actually I have. The 1st time I was in the dressing room and Abdullah spoke – I nearly had a heart attack. If he can still do it and he still can please the crowd, and still get those paydays, God bless him, let him do it. He’s only got so much blood.”
Yet, at other times, Abdullah seems as gentle as a mouse when in his favorite environment
The lowest of the low. That no good Zoltan Ken Jugan took charge by escorting the Sudanese slaughterer to the ring…and then some.
Tommy Wildfire Rich as he looked in IWC Legendsfest action getting forked to the forehead.
Get the hell outta there, Zoltan!
I said, get the hell outta there!!!
On April 2, 2011, Abdullah was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in Atlanta, Georgia. Disappointed that it took so many years to induct him by a company who never showcased him on their programs, Abdullah is believed to have sold his induction ring. He has also sold his restaurants.