A former professional wrestler known for his devout Christian beliefs has demanded that World Wrestling Entertainment remove him from their Hall of Fame.
"Superstar" Billy Graham, a former WWE champion who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, released a statement Monday explaining his reasons for seeking this removal.
Graham's dominant problem with the WWE Hall of Fame came in 2011 when they decided to induct Abdullah the Butcher, whose real name is Larry Shreve.
"Not just because Shreve had never worked for the WW(W)F or stepped foot inside Madison Square Garden, not just because my good friend Randy 'Macho Man' Savage was passed over in the honors list of that year, but because Abdullah actually is a butcher in a disturbingly real sense," said Graham.
"Well, losing touch with reality is one thing; losing respect for other wrestlers' rights is another, and in my view the 'Butcher' has blotted his copybook big time by becoming a suspected spreader of Hepatitis C through his negligence when blading in the ring."
The "blading" act that Graham was referring to happens when a pro-wrestler intentionally cuts himself, usually with a small hidden blade, so as to make it appear as though his opponent brutally caused him to be cut open.
"Larry Shreve was once a friend of mine and it has saddened me to see him sink into such anti-social behavior. But right is right and wrong is wrong and never the twain shall meet," said Graham.
"WWE, with its powerful influence on our vulnerable youth in these increasingly immoral times, should be strongly condemning life-threatening gimmicks in the ring, not rewarding them, and Larry Shreve needs to take stock of his actions and the tragic effects they have had on others."
Born Eldridge Wayne Coleman of Paradise Valley, Ariz., "Superstar" Billy Graham took his stage name from the renowned evangelist preacher in tribute.
Graham's pro-wrestling career occurred mostly during the 1970s, with him winning the WWF World Heavyweight title from Bruno Sammartino in 1977. However, the harmful effects of his extensive steroid usage resulted in his wrestling career being over by the early 1980s.
Due to a lost legal battle in a British court against the World Wildlife Fund, the WWF would change its name to WWE in 2002.
Since his retirement, Graham has occasionally been a critic of the direction that pro-wrestling has taken and had spoken against the 2011 induction of Shreve in the past.
In response to the criticism of his induction, Shreve posted a statement on Facebook back in 2011 against the criticism that Graham put against WWE's decision.
"I helped Superstar Billy Graham when he was in Calgary. I loaned him money. For him to say I shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame is wrong," wrote Shreve.
"I still think he's a nice guy, but he doesn't know what he's talking about. Why shouldn't I be in the Hall? They put Drew Carey in," added Shreve, who was referring to comedian Drew Carey being inducted into the "Celebrity Wing" of the WWE Hall of Fame.
The WWE Hall of Fame was begun in 1993 and the first inductee was the late Andre the Giant.