The WWE and wider professional wrestling industry lost another one of its all-time greats as Bruce Franklin “Butch” Reed passed away today. He was 66 years old.
Butch Reed was a professional athlete for nearly his entire adult life. He enjoyed a brief stint with the Kansas City Chiefs before going into wrestling in the 1970s. Early in his career, Reed won championship gold as in regional promotions, and feuded with such legends as Jim Neidhart, Steve Williams, Ted DiBiase and Kamala.
Reed’s star grew big enough for the World Wrestling Federation to give him a contract in 1986, and he quickly made an impact on the biggest stage. In his pay-per-view debut, Reed defeated future Hall of Famer Koko B. Ware at WrestleMania III.
But Reed may have found the most success in WCW. Teaming with the legendary Ron Simmons to form the tag team “Doom,” Reed won one half of the WCW World Tag Team Championship in 1989. The two would hold the prestigious titles together for 281 days – the longest reign in the title’s history.
WWE is saddened to learn that Butch Reed passed away today at the age of 66.
WWE extends its condolences to Reed’s family and friends.https://t.co/vu1fvidRsw
— WWE (@WWE) February 5, 2021
After leaving WCW in 1992, Butch Reed hit the independent circuit. He continued to wrestle all the way until 2011.
Reed ultimately enjoyed a professional wrestling career that spanned over 30 years.
WWE and AEW have both released statements offering their condolences.
All Elite Wrestling joins the wrestling world in mourning the death of Butch Reed. Our thoughts are with his family, his friends and his fans. pic.twitter.com/rxWfC6e9A8
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) February 5, 2021
After leaving the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, Butch Reed started his ring career in the central states area in 1978. He became a major player as “Hacksaw” Butch Reed in Mid-South Wrestling in the early 1980s and is remembered there for his hard-hitting rivalries with WWE Hall of Famers Junkyard Dog and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, whom he happily came to blows with over nothing more than the nickname “Hacksaw.”
Reed’s tenure in WWE began in late 1986. Billed as “The Natural,” (a wink and nod to his not so natural blond hair), the massively muscled grappler was a force to be reckoned with thanks to his power and his manager — the underhanded Slick. In WWE rings, the 260-pound native of Kansas City quickly made an impact, battling the likes of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat and Magnificent Muraco in 1987.
From there, he moved on to WCW where he formed the dangerous team of Doom with Ron Simmons. Managed by Teddy Long, the duo defeated The Steiner Brothers for the WCW World Tag Team Championships in 1989. They would hold the titles for an amazing 281 days, setting a record that stood until WCW’s demise in 2001.
Our hearts go out to Mr. Reed’s family and loved ones.