How did Butch Reed die? One half of legendary tag team Doom passes away at 66

After Butch Reed's death was confirmed, tributes poured in from several major figures within the wrestling community

                            How did Butch Reed die? One half of legendary tag team Doom passes away at 66
'The Natural' Butch Reed (L) had a different era while he was part of Doom (R) with manager Teddy Long and Ron Simmons (Instagram/@realbutchreed)

Wrestling legend 'The Natural' Butch Reed has passed away. He was 66. Reed was a legendary figure in pro wrestling during the '80s and '90s. He was part of WWE, WCW, and multiple other promotions and was one of the most popular and successful Black wrestlers in the history of pro-wrestling. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Reed embraced the sport after his professional football career with the Kansas City Chiefs tanked because of injuries.

In the early '80s, he became known for his feud with Junkyard Dog and his rivalry with “Hacksaw” Duggan, whose nickname he took while with Bill Watt’s Mid-South Wrestling. During that era, Reed once had Klansmen follow him out of town in Loranger, Louisiana.


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He joined WWF in September of ‘86. Bleaching his hair blonde, he started calling himself “The Natural” but he stayed with them for barely a year and a half. He then joined WCW in 1988, and tried his hand at being a solo star. However, he is best remembered after he joined forces in 1989 with WWE Hall of Famer Ron Simmons, who later became the first African-American WCW World Heavyweight Champion. 

The Doom tag team in the '90s during the 'masked' era (Instagram/@realbutchreed)

Reed and Simmons enjoyed a dominant run that saw them win the WCW World Tag Team Championships in 1990. Reed & Simmons would eventually share the ring for a one-on-one Steel Cage Match showdown at SuperBrawl I. WWE posted a condolence message on its website and tweeted about his death.

WWE wrestler John Layfield also reminisced about meeting his idol Reed on Twitter, referencing the Doom team. He wrote: "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." 



How did Butch Reed die?

Butch Reed, whose real name was Bruce Franklin Reed, had been battling health issues. He had already suffered two heart attacks at the start of 2021 according to a post on his official Instagram page four days ago. Reed, who had continued to wrestle on the independents on and off until 2011 had disappeared of late from the public eye. 


After he was hospitalized, he succumbed to heart-related complications, according to his obituary on the Instagram page maintained for him. The long post said: "To everyone who reached out god bless you. Today we lost a great man. Due to heart complications Bruce 'Butch' Reed passed away. Butch is in heaven now with the wrestling god's. I am sure he is already booked for a Heavyweight Championship match. Once again thank you for all the prayers. We will keep this page going in his memory. For funeral arrangements send me a dm for information if you would like to attend. God bless everyone and god bless in heaven 'Hacksaw Butch Reed'".


After his death was confirmed, several major figures within the wrestling community shared their thoughts about him passing on. WCW Tag Team Champion Stevie Ray wrote: "Butch Reed was like a big brother to me and @BookerT5x. We always had the best time whenever we saw each other and my fondest memory is when me, Booker, and Butch had a six man tag match. It was like a dream come true. RIP Hacksaw & my condolences to his family."

Ric Flair, who was pitted against Reed in the ring quite a few times wrote: "So Sorry To Hear About The Passing Of My Friend Butch Reed! We Spent “Hours” In The Ring Together. Rest In Peace!" posting a picture of Reed holding him over his head in the ring. WWE wrestling manager Stokely Hathaway aka Malcom Bivens, posted a picture of the Doom tag team and wrote: "RIP Butch Reed".

WWE's The Hurricane, Gregory Helms, who was also with WCW, tweeted: "RIP “Hacksaw” Butch Reed. I was a fan of his work from the first time I saw him. Loved his jabs. The Team of DOOM with Ron was my favorite team in WCW at a time where WCW was stacked with great teams. Thank you for the years of entertainment sir!"  





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