The traditional WrestleMania Eve induction ceremony for the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame is tonight in Atlanta. I’ve reported previously on lead inductee Shawn Michaels’ 2008 chair beating of the late Lance Cade, which an aggressive prosecutor might have investigated for manslaughter. But I haven’t gotten around to talking about another inductee, a blood fetishist and seriously sick cult legend by the name of Abdullah the Butcher.
Abdullah, real name Larry Shreve, has had no career connection to WWE. He was selected for the Hall of Fame for two reasons: now semi-retired, he owns a popular restaurant in the Atlanta area; and WWE owner Vince McMahon’s mission in his late life includes appropriating, self-curating, and domesticating the entire history of the pro wrestling industry.
This week a Canadian wrestler on the independent scene, Devon Nicholson, went public with allegations that the commingling of his blood with Shreve’s in their matches was the cause of Nicholson’s diagnosis of Hepatitis C, which cost him a job with WWE. Read the story at netnewsledger.com, a site in Thunder Bay, Ontario:
“’Don’t Bleed on Me’: A Scary Look at Pro Wrestling,” http://netnewsledger.com/?p=6727
The piece embeds an extended excerpt of a new documentary film airing Nicholson’s charges. He is supported by prominent retired WWE wrestlers Superstar Billy Graham and Wayne “Honky Tonk Man” Ferris.
Whether Nicholson, Graham, and Ferris’s overall credibility quotients are high matters less than the fact that their specific allegations here about Shreve seem to hang together.
David Bixenspan of Cageside Seats has a good overview of the controversy at http://www.cagesideseats.com/2011/4/1/2085803/did-wwe-hofer-abdullah-the-butcher-give-a-fellow-wrestler-hepatitis-c.
Fan-news bellwether Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer dropped the ball on this story; his coverage is unacceptable. In an online update this week, Meltzer wrote: “Canadian independent wrestler Devon Nicholson said that he had a WWE deal in 2009, underwent the medicals and found out he had Hepatitis C, and thus the company rescinded their offer. He blames it on his matches on the indie scene with Abdullah the Butcher at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWcpiHiBroM. I don’t know that he’ll get another shot given that he shot on Tommy Dreamer in the middle of a worked match a few months back.”
Meltzer misses the point in every important way. It is revealing and sad that he would frame for his readers a bedrock anecdote about occupational health and safety almost solely in terms of insider frat-boy politics.
Of course, insider frat-boy politics is nearly the whole name of the game for Meltzer’s online partner, Figure Four Weekly publisher Bryan Alvarez. The Observer/F4 brand recently launched its very own addition to the arrested-development video genre known as “shoot interviews,” and Abdullah the Butcher was Alvarez’s kickoff subject.
Meltzer and Alvarez were emailed for comment for this post, but offered none.