Abdullah The Butcher
When I was a kid, I collected wrestling action figures. What young wrestling fan didn’t? Toys were so integral to my fandom growing up, and I know I’m not alone there. One of the biggest pro wrestling podcasts out right now is all about the figures! Now, as wrestling fans, we can get a bit obsessive. Watching the guys on TV week in and week out isn’t enough for most of us. We want to know the history of the product and have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things pro-wrestling. Toy company Jakks Pacific, who had been in the wrestling market for a number of years up until this point, knew this about their demographic in 2004 and released one of their most popular lines, “Classic Superstars” which showcased the stars not only your father grew up watching, but your grandfather too.
Photo credit: WWE.com
Yeah, I never got to actually watch Hulk Hogan bodyslam Andre The Giant at Wrestlemania III, but I sure as hell had that moment duplicated on my night-table on a daily basis. On my eighth birthday, my parents bought me three wrestlers from the Classic Superstars line: King Kong Bundy, Yokozuna and Abdullah The Butcher. I was fascinated by the way they all looked. Bundy was the largest wrestling toy I’d ever seen, Yokozuna was wearing sumo gear, and Abdullah had three large indents on the top of his head. The latter of the three was by far the most interesting to my curious young brain. I needed to see what this guy looked like in real life… That may have been a mistake on my part.
The blood… Holy shit, the blood. I downloaded a video from BitTorrent called something along the lines of “Abdullah The Butcher Stan Hansen Bloodbath.” While I’ve had trouble rediscovering the match in recent years online, there are two parts I remember very, very clearly. At one point, Abby grabs a fork, jabs it into his own head, pulls it out, and repeatedly stabs Stan Hansen with it until the blood is literally shooting out like a hose. Near the end of the match, Abby digs his fingers into Hansen’s eyes, and the way I remember it looking, I had questioned everything I had known about pro wrestling being a work. This wasn’t Undertaker shooting lightning from the turnbuckles. This was fucking terrifying.
Abdullah The Butcher would travel from territory to territory and spark local interest due to his mythical status. People knew his name and his acts of violence were the stuff of legends in pro wrestling circles. When he made his way to the ring, often going against the territory’s top babyface, all skeptics of his fabled danger were shut down. Arabian war music played through the arena, while a 330-pound man walked slowly up the ramp, holding a fork and periodically stabbing himself in the forehead.
A wrestling novelty in its truest sense, Abby never wore out his welcome, and each match was more bloody than the last. If he wasn’t profusely bleeding from his forehead, he was bleeding from his mouth while getting fried by an electric chair. Feuds with the likes of Terry Funk and Bruiser Brody proved that you don’t need to be supernatural to be scary… Sometimes you just need to have no regard for the safety of your opponent, or your own for that matter.