Though I’d already heard of the The Wrestling Observer’s eagerly awaited Abdullah The Butcher shoot interview DVD, t’was with considerable surprise that I opened a copy of this morning’s New York Times while on an airplane and recognized a photograph of The Madman From The Sudan on the The Gray Lady’s front page. Incredibly, a wrestling story that concerns neither Mickey Rourke nor Linda McMahon’s senate campaign, has been deemed relevant enough for The Paper Of Record. From the NYT’s Mike Tierney :
Currency is a constant in his conversations. Another wrestler, who has relied on Abdullah for promotional duty, says: œEverything™s business to him. He charges for everything. Doesn™t need the money, either.
When first approached for an interview, Abdullah demands payment. œEverything has a price, he says. œI™ve got to make a living.
On the night of his match, before an interview is mentioned, Abdullah™s first words are, œWhere™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, œBuy one of these.
A $9 dinner at Abdullah the Butcher House of Ribs and Chinese Food in Atlanta, which he founded and operates, loosens his tongue somewhat. He cuts short most answers, reminding himself not to disclose too much before the imminent release of a DVD that unspools his life story.
Each visit to Japan, he says, is worth $10,000 for a series of matches. The middle school gig paid him $1,500.
œFor what, two minutes? he says, exaggerating to point out that the workload is not taxing.
While most wrestlers peddle bric-a-brac, like action figures an masks, to supplement their ring income, only Abdullah would think of marketing the fork with which he jabs his foe.
His cellphone rings. His son conveys Father™s Day wishes. Abdullah says he will call more often if the son sends him money.