Photo credit: WWE.com.
Butch Reed—who wrestled for WWE, WCW and multiple other promotions during his lengthy career—died Friday at the age of 66.
Reed is likely best known by wrestling fans for his stint with WWE from 1986-88 followed by a run in Jim Crockett Promotions (later WCW) from 1988-92.
Former wrestling stars John Bradshaw Layfield, Tommy Dreamer and Lance Storm are among those who honored Reed on Twitter after news of his death broke Friday:
John Layfield @JCLayfield
One of my favorite tag teams of all time. 100% bad ass. My first night in the wrestling business (almost 30 years ago) was spent with Butch Reed-I asked him about the story about him riding a horse into a bar, it’s true-what a good time. RIP Butch Reed. https://t.co/S2RmoVMwuh
Lance Storm @LanceStorm
I never met Butch Reed, so my take on him is from when I was kid & a fan. I can’t say I was a “fan” of Butch Reed’s back then. He was a heel after all, at a time when if you were good at you job people didn’t like you. He had a credibility though, that you had to respect. #RIP
Before breaking into professional wrestling, Reed played college football at the University of Central Missouri and briefly spent some time with the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs.
Reed debuted as a pro wrestler in 1978 and wrestled in Kansas City, Florida and St. Louis, but his first huge break came in 1983 when he joined Mid-South Wrestling, which encompassed Tennessee and Arkansas.
He excelled as both a babyface and heel in Mid-South under the name “Hacksaw” Butch Reed and had memorable rivalries with the likes of “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, Junkyard Dog and Magnum T.A.
In Mid-South, Reed held the North American Heavyweight Championship three times, the Television Championship once and the Tag Team Championships once with WWE Hall of Famer Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.
Reed joined WWE in 1986 and became known as “The Natural” Butch Reed. While Reed never won a title in WWE, he competed for the Intercontinental Championship on multiple occasions.
Reed wrestled at both WrestleMania III and IV, and he was also part of the first-ever Royal Rumble match in 1988.
The Kansas City native joined WCW in 1988, and after initially trying his hand at being a singles star, he joined forces with WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons in 1989 to form the tag team Doom.
Reed and Simmons enjoyed a dominant run that saw them win the WCW World Tag Team Championships from The Steiner Brothers in 1990.
After leaving WCW in 1992, Reed continued wrestling sporadically on the independent circuit for 10 years and then came out of retirement and continued wrestling from 2005-11.
Reed was one of the most popular and successful Black wrestlers of the 1980s and 1990s, and he helped pave the way for many of today’s stars.