Around the Loop: In Praise of Abadon

Out of all the performers in All Elite Wrestling’s deep roster, there is no one like Abadon. With their facial piercings, wildly dyed hair and make-up that riffs madly on Luna Vachon’s look, Abadon is a much-needed whiff of mausoleum air in an industry filled with cookie-cutter women and big meaty men slapping meat. Abadon’s appearance certainly commands one’s attention, and sometimes a distinct look alone makes a wrestler memorable. [We’re looking at you, Glacier.] What makes Abadon so compelling is their refusal to break character in or out of the ring.

Abadon’s gimmick can be explained in two words: they’re dead. Not dead in the way the Undertaker was, with his mysterious funeral urn and his supernatural command over lightning. Abadon is a zombie, snarling and ravenous, even going so far as to bite the neck of then-AEW Women’s Champion Hikaru Shida in December 2020.

Horror fans have long debated over their preference of zombie style. Some like the old-school shuffling zombies that move slowly and methodically. Others believe that fast zombies, like the kind popularized by Zack Snyder’s remake of Dawn of the Dead, are more terrifying. Abadon’s in-ring style seems to settle that argument by asking “why not both?”

Watch them slink down the entrance ramp to the ring before the match begins. Kick Abadon in the gut and they may bend a little, barely reacting, a virtual no-sell. Hit them with a classic Flair chop to the chest. Abadon will just screech. It seems like nothing affects Abadon, and why would it? They’re dead.

Without warning, Abadon speeds up, a paroxysm of action, whipping into the ropes with flailing madness, nothing in their scleral-lensed eyes but fury and attack. It is a frightening thing to witness, that kind of focused rage coming out of nowhere, like a sudden lightning strike on a clear day at the lake.

Abadon’s wicked finisher, the Black Dahlia, consists of Abadon placing a muscular leg over their downed opponent, getting the competitor’s head in the crook of their knee, and falling backwards, driving the face of Abadon’s latest victim into the mat. I don’t know all the secrets of wrestling moves and how workers protect their partners, but that move looks like it really hurts. Vicious and visually effective, the Black Dahlia is one of the best finishers in the business.

Being a social media savvy company, AEW has plenty of stars that have their own vlogs or YouTube channels. Through those videos, viewers are treated to a peek behind the curtain. Performers often break character on those shows. One one hand, that’s great for fans to get a glimpse of what their favorite wrestlers are really like. On the flip side of that, nothing killed kayfabe, the treasured facade designed to make one believe that wrestling is real, faster than social media outlets. Those rivalries between heels and faces that you see on television lose a little impact when you see them hanging out together and joking around in the locker room.

No matter if they’re being interviewed or if they makes a guest appearance on a vlog, Abadon is in full gimmick mode. They never speak, choosing instead to hiss or make wretched guttural gurgling sounds. The juxtaposition of Abadon with wrestlers like The Bunny, resplendent in her blonde glory, is hilarious. No one knows what to do with Abadon. They are the awkward horror movie nerd that accidentally got invited to the cheerleader party.

Abadon has had some high-profile programs with stars like Shida and Baker, but more recently, they have been making regular appearances on AEW’s YouTube shows, Dark and Dark Elevation. Fans who eschew those programs as lesser content have missed Abadon’s growth as a performer and a fan favourite. When Abadon’s music hits, the crowd goes wild. They are over like Rover with that audience. As soon as they begin crawling to the ring, Abadon becomes nothing less than the ruler of the Dark.

On one level, there isn’t a lot to unpack with Abadon. They’re dead. Beneath that high-level description, Abadon represents a time long gone from wrestling, when the bad guys were really bad, the good guys were untouchable, and the two were never seen together outside of the squared circle.

There isn’t a lot of information available on the internet about the human behind Abadon. One senses that lack of background is by design. They are mysterious and frightening, and they back it up with an approach to grappling that teeters between Method acting and being totally unhinged. Abadon is the kind of performer the wrestling world has been lacking, scary without being overly cerebral, a mythical monster to cheer for while simultaneously being repulsed, the closest thing to kayfabe we have right now.

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