Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling

Butch Reed (July 11, 1954February 5, 2021) was a professional wrestler best known for his time in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).


Butch Reed started wrestling in 1978 in the Kansas City, Missouri territory after attending the University of Central Missouri and briefly playing professional football for the Kansas City Chiefs. Early on he wrestled as Bruce Reed adopting the “Hacksaw" nickname over time. Reed and Jerry Roberts beat Mike George and Bob Sweetan for the NWA Central States Tag Team titles in late 1980 and lost them to The Kelly Twins in January 1981; this is believed to be Butch Reed's first major title in wrestling. His next title also came as one half of a tag team when he and Sweet Brown Sugar (Skip Young, not Koko B. Ware) won the Florida version of the NWA North American Tag Team Championship when they beat Dory Funk, Jr. and David Von Erich in 1982. Reed wrestled mainly for the NWA in the early 1980s and made a name for himself in their St. Louis, Florida Championship Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling territories.


Reed established himself as a force to be reckoned with while competing in Bill Watts’ Mid-South Wrestling from 1983 through early 1986. In Mid-South, he was known as “Hacksaw" Butch Reed and came into the territory as a tag team partner for the main face in the territory the Junkyard Dog. Reed immediately came face to face with "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan over the “Hacksaw" nickname. Back in 1983, Duggan was part of the heel group the "Rat Pack" along with Ted DiBiase and Matt Borne and used every dirty move he could think of to beat Butch Reed. Reed and Duggan would feud over the “Hacksaw" name until Jim Duggan turned face. Duggan's face turn resulted in Butch Reed's heel turn when Duggan was picked to be the Junkyard Dog's tag team partner over Reed.

Reed appeared on TV stating that "Butch Reed is going to start looking out for Butch Reed", which prompted the Junkyard Dog (JYD) to join him in the ring. After arguing back and forth, Reed attacked JYD and was soon joined in the attack by Ted DiBiase. On July 16, 1983, Butch Reed won the Mid-South North American Heavyweight Championship and proceeded to turn back JYD's challenges in subsequent months. In October 1983, Reed's arrogance made him agree to let the Mid-South fans pick a challenger for the North American title; he let them pick from the JYD, “Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, newcomer Krusher Khruschev, and Magnum T.A.. The fans picked JYD but Reed dismissed the choice; he also said Duggan and Khruschev did not deserve a shot and instead gave the title shot to a very young and inexperienced T.A. As fate would have it, T.A. beat Reed to win the title, then lost it 12 days later to Nikolai Volkoff.

On the same night that Reed lost the North American title, he and partner Jim Neidhart beat Magnum T.A. and “Hacksaw" Jim Duggan to win the Mid-South Tag Team Championship. After a few weeks the North American title was returned to Reed, claiming that the title match with T.A. was not legal since the fans chose JYD. Reed's run as a double champion did not last long as JYD got his title shot with Dusty Rhodes as the special guest referee. After losing the North American title, Reed and Neidhart focused on the tag team titles and defended them against all comers. When Magnum and Mr. Wrestling II challenged for the titles, they felt that the challengers had to put up something of their own: Mr. Wrestling II's mask. Mr. Wrestling did not unmask that night as they took the gold from Reed and Neidhart in a Steel cage match on Christmas of 1983. Neidhart and Reed started to blame each other and had a short, brutal feud.

The Neidhart feud was soon replaced with one with Terry Taylor who came out to save Neidhart from being beaten down with a football helmet after a match. The Reed/Taylor feud raged all through the spring of 1984 and was instrumental in establishing Terry Taylor as a star in Mid-South. The feud soon expanded to include "Nature Boy" Buddy Landel as Reed's tag team partner and saw Reed attack Taylor with a “Coalminer’s Glove" on several occasions. After fighting with Terry Taylor for months on end, Reed's attention turned from Taylor back to his old enemy the Junkyard Dog. During a match, Reed and Landel attacked JYD as he performed under a mask as “Stagger Lee" and painted him yellow. The war between the two brought in Sonny King and later Ernie Ladd to team with Junkyard Dog. After the tag matches, came brutal singles matches such as Dog Collar Matches

Just as the feud was about to reach its heated highlight, the Junkyard Dog left Mid-South and signed with the World Wrestling Federation without informing booker Bill Watts of his decision. This meant that the federation was without their biggest face and the shows had to be hastily rebooked. Watts brought in "Master G" to take JYD's place but the feud between Reed and “Master G" never took off forcing Watts to rethink his options. When "General" Skandor Akbar entered the Mid-South and started to build a stable of heels, he presented Buddy Landel with a golden Rolex watch with the understanding that it wasn't actually for Landel but for someone else Akbar was trying to recruit. When Landel tried to give the watch to Reed, he became incensed, in the storyline, stomped on the watch, and started to brawl with his former partner. Akbar and his cronies came to ringside, which prompted Reed to rant on them getting the crowd behind him as he told them he didn't need back-up. When “Hacksaw" Jim Duggan came to his rescue from a 3 on 1 attack, Reed's face status was cemented. The two Hacksaws feuded with Akbar's army of Landel, Ted DiBiase, Steve Williams, and Hercules. The two Hacksaws were successful at first, until Reed came up against Kamala. He proved to be too much for Reed, beating him all over the Mid-South territory before Reed quietly left.

Reed would go to the American Wrestling Association for a short stint as Jimmy Garvin's bodyguard, but would return to Mid-South in the middle of 1985 only a few short months after leaving it. In October 1985, Butch Reed beat Dick Murdoch for the North American title. Around this time, he had a famous one-hour time-limit draw with NWA Champion "Nature Boy" Ric Flair and feuded with Dick Slater when Slater helped Ric Flair keep the world title. In January 1986, Slater won the North American title from Butch Reed through underhanded means.

After leaving the Mid-South, Reed returned to Kansas City and the "NWA Central States" territory run by Bob Geigel. In Kansas, Reed initially teamed with Rufus R. Jones as the Soul Patrol. Reed later turned on Rufus and joined manager Slick's group in 1986. After a brief feud with Jones, Reed got involved in a feud with Bruiser Brody. That summer, he lost a Loser Leaves Town match to Bruiser Brody and left the territory along with Slick.

World Wrestling Federation

Reed and Slick signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and were brought in as a package. Reed dyed his hair blond and became "The Natural" Butch Reed, an updated version of Sweet Daddy Siki. He feuded initially with Tito Santana, a target of Slick's verbal jabs, and made his pay-per-view debut at WrestleMania III, where he defeated Koko B. Ware.

In the weeks after WrestleMania, Reed targeted new Intercontinental champion Ricky Steamboat and faced him at house shows and on an episode of Wrestling Challenge. According to a persistent myth, Reed no-showed a set of TV tapings where he was booked to win the title, resulting in the championship instead being put on The Honky Tonk Man. However, in a shoot interview, Reed has said this is untrue. In fact, when the Honky Tonk Man won the title from Steamboat in June 1987, Reed was shown celebrating with Honky and other heel wrestlers in the locker room although, in fairness, that was a taped segment.

In the fall, the WWF was heavily hyping a feud between Reed and "Superstar" Billy Graham, a former WWF champion who was staging a comeback after hip-replacement surgery. However, Graham's condition was such that he could no longer handle the physical demands of being a wrestler, so Reed and Slick's newest acquisition, the One Man Gang, "injured" Graham in a sneak attack that was used to explain his permanent retirement. Graham began managing the man who came to his aid, Don Muraco, with Muraco immediately entering into a rivalry with Reed. The enemies were on opposing teams in the main event of the first Survivor Series (Muraco took Graham's place on Hulk Hogan's team); Reed (a member of André the Giant's team), was the first elimination of the match, by Hogan.

Reed competed in (and was the first wrestler eliminated from) the first Royal Rumble match in January 1988. Two months later, he was eliminated in the first round of the WrestleMania IV championship tournament by eventual tournament winner "Macho Man" Randy Savage.


Shortly after WrestleMania IV, Reed and the WWF parted ways, Reed's manager stayed with the federation while Reed struck out on his own once more. Butch Reed resurfaced in the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions as "Hacksaw" Butch Reed. He more or less immediately resumed his Mid-South feud with The Junkyard Dog. He was briefly managed by James J. Dillon before his contract was "sold" to Hiro Matsuda's "Yamasaki Corporation". Reed did not see much success in the early parts of his run with JCP; his biggest match was a loss to Sting at the Chi-Town Rumble on February 20, 1989. During the summer of 1989, Reed would flounder in the mid card as Jim Crockett Promotions grew to become a national wrestling organization.

The Steiner Brothers were involved in an angle with Woman who promised "Doom" for the two brothers but never specified exactly what this meant. Woman unveiled her threat at Halloween Havoc 1989, a couple of brawny, hard hitting masked African-Americans. It was obvious to most wrestling fans that Ron Simmons and Butch Reed were under the masks — they had both been on W.C.W. television shortly before Doom debuted, and they were the only two African-American wrestlers in the federation with the same massive physical appearance — but the announcers were made to keep up the storyline (although Jim Ross accidentally exposed Reed's identity on commentary during Starrcade 89: Future Shock). Doom won their debut match against the Steiners when one of the members of Doom pinned Rick Steiner after a headbutt with an illegal object in his mask. Doom followed up on this success by defeating Eddie Gilbert and Tommy Rich at Clash of the Champions IX, looking very strong in the process.

Doom's next PPV outing did not come with the same success. Along with the Steiner Brothers, the Road Warriors, and the Samoan Swat Team they were entered in a one night, tag team round robin tournament. They did not score a single point, ending dead last in the tournament. Doom's misfortune continued as Woman soon dropped the team and left the federation. Then on February 6, 1990, Doom were defeated by the Steiner Brothers and as a result of the stipulation were forced to unmask. When Doom unmasked, it was hardly surprising to see Ron Simmons and Butch Reed underneath the black hoods.

Doom beat the Steiner Brothers at Capital Combat; at that point in time, the Steiners didn't lose very often. Doom won the tag team titles and quickly set about defending them against the former champions the Steiners as well the rest of WCW's very talented tag team division. In the fall of 1990, Doom soon feuded with The Four Horsemen and defended against them in two inconclusive tag team title matches at Halloween Havoc 1990 and Starrcade 1990. At Clash of the Champions XIV, Doom lost a non-title match to Sting and Lex Luger in a match that foreshadowed the trouble that lay ahead.

On February 24, 1991 at WCW's WrestleWar PPV, Doom took on former tag team champions The Fabulous Freebirds and lost due to miscommunication between Reed and Simmons. After the Freebirds left the ring, Reed turned on Simmons and beat him up; this turned Simmons face and ended the team of Doom forever. Teddy Long sided with Butch Reed as the former Doom partners engaged in a short but intense feud. The feud culminated at SuperBrawl I where Ron Simmons pinned Butch Reed in a Steel cage match (referred to as a "Thunder-Doom" cage match). After the PPV, Reed left the company for a short while only to return in 1992 siding with The Barbarian and Cactus Jack. Reed and the Barbarian teamed up to defeat Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham at Clash of the Champions XX but left WCW for good shortly afterwards.

Independent scene

After leaving WCW, Reed went to the United States Wrestling Association where he once again started feuding with longtime opponent the Junkyard Dog. Reed even managed to beat JYD for the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship on October 12, 1992. Reed only held the title for a week before he lost it to Todd Champion. Reed left the promotion before 1992 ended.

Reed next appeared for a notable promotion was in 1994 when he started to wrestle for the Global Wrestling Federation during its last days of existence. Reed became the second to last GWF North American champion on June 4, 1994 when he beat Rod Price for the held up title. The title had been held up the previous day after a match between Reed and Price got out of hand and ended inconclusively. Reed held the title for almost a month before losing it to "Gentleman" Chris Adams, who would be the last GWF North American champion.

Reed continued to work on the independent scene on a part-time basis so that he could participate in the rodeo circuit in Kansas City. In 2000-2001, Butch Reed started working for Harley Race's WLW promotion. Reed beat “Luminous Warrior" for the WLW Heavyweight Title on March 31, 2001 and held the title until Dennis McHawes beat him for it on January 25, 2002. After losing the title, Butch Reed retired from wrestling.

After being retired for about three years, Reed returned in 2005, appearing several times for Mid States Wrestling and eventually defeating Heavyweight Champion "Mr. Saturday Night" Michael Barry on November 11, 2005 for the Mid States Wrestling Heavyweight title. He also participated in the “Legends of Wrestling" tour in 2006.

On September 9, 2007, he made a cameo appearance backstage at the September 14 WWE SmackDown! taping during a segment involving his former manager and SmackDown! General Manager Theodore Long.

Personal life

In July 2016, Reed was named part of a class action lawsuit filed against WWE which alleged that wrestlers incurred traumatic brain injuries during their tenure and that the company concealed the risks of injury. The suit was litigated by attorney Konstantine Kyros, who has been involved in a number of other lawsuits against WWE. In September 2018, the lawsuit was dismissed by US District Judge Vanessa Lynne Bryant. Butch Reed died at age 66 due to heart complications.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • Insane Championship Wrestling
    • MWCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Mid-States Wrestling
    • MSW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
  • Missouri Wrestling Federation / Midwest Wrestling Federation
    • MWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)

External links

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