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Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Steve Laflamme
OF FEAR: ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER ON QUEBECER GROUND
Abdullah the Butcher had
his best moments when International Wrestling was born would be untrue;
Abby has a long list of bloodbaths in the province of Quebec, as many
would consider him “part
of the furniture” at the Montreal Forum and at the Paul-Sauvé Center,
for instance. Abby had memorable battles with Quebec greats such as
Jacques Rougeau, Sr., Gino Brito, Sr. and Jos Leduc in the 60s and 70s,
and had already made his scary reputation when Gino Brito, Sr. formed
International Wrestling in 1984.
the Butcher has always been one of my all-time favorites—even though
he scared me to death when I
was a kid. The first time I saw him was on “Les Étoiles de la Lutte”
(Wrestling Stars), Varoussac Promotions’ televised weekly show,
back in 1981 or 1982 (couldn’t tell) against
my favorite wrestler at the time, Dino Bravo. I must have been
5-6 years old and knew nothing about Abby, but my father did. Randoming
TV channels that evening, he stopped by on “Les Étoiles de la Lutte”
right when he saw Abby. The
match had taken place at
the Sumo Palace in Tokyo, on New Japan turf, if I am correct, but they
telecasted the event in Quebec a little while later since Bravo and Abby
were known to Quebecers and Bravo, at the time, was International
Champion in Canada.
won’t describe the match because it’s not the place nor the time,
but all I can tell is that I had nightmares all over that night after
seeing Dino Bravo’s face, the face of my childhood hero, bloodied like
I had never seen before
(this match can be found on a tape I have called “The Butcher” which
is a tribute to Abdullah in Montreal).
That is the first kind of eye contact I had with Abdullah the
Butcher, definitely not a sweet one—but
has anyone seen anything
sweetening from Abby?
Years later, Abdullah the Butcher would come back to Quebec as a strong player in Gino Brito’s International Wrestling promotion. Brito knew the man very well since he had feuded with him in the past and was “friends” with Abby. There had to be a way to book the Butcher on Quebecer soil again so that he could still scare people over here and keep feeding his rich career in Montreal. I really can’t tell, but I like to think that Abdullah the Butcher, a Windsor, Ontario native, was pleased to wrestle in Quebec since he owes his gimmick to Johnny Rougeau, Jacques and Raymond’s uncle and Jacques, Sr.’s brother, probably the most charismatic wrestler this province has known.More...