“THE NATURAL” BUTCH REED
Black History Month rolls on and I have another black action figure review for you. Today I’m taking a look at Butch Reed.
Butch Reed made his debut in the WWF in 1986. It was shortly after that when I became familiar with him. I don’t remember his debut as I was just getting into WWF wresting around that time. He was already an established presence when I started watching. He fought and defeated “The Birdman” Koko B. Ware at the legendary Wrestlemania III where Hulk Hogan slammed Andre the Giant. Apparently he went on to have memorable feuds with Tito Santana and Don “The Rock” Muraco. I remember all the fighters but the details of the match-ups are pretty blurry to me now; I would’ve been 8 or 9 when all this was going down. The main thing I recall about “The Natural” Butch Reed is his blonde hair. One of the reasons I don’t remember much about him may be because his stint in the WWF was quite short; he left shortly after Wrestlemania IV in 1988. WWF was the only wrestling promotion I cared about so when he left the organization he may as well of fallen of the face of the Earth as far as I was concerned.
I was aware of the WCW and knew who the stars of that federation were, mostly by way of generic wrestling magazines, but I never watched it. I knew that Butch signed with them after his WWF departure but I knew next to nothing about the path his career took. It was actually pretty interesting to read his wikipedia page in preparation for this review and to learn about what came after the WWF and even more so what came before.
From ’83 to ’86 he fought in an organization called Mid-Soutch Wrestling where he fought under the name Hacksaw. The Nickname put him at odds with Jim Duggan, the other Hacksaw. Mr. Duggan is the only Hacksaw I was ever familiar with because he carried that nickname with him when he entered the WWF some years later whereas Butch made the change to “The Natural”. I only ever knew Reed as a bad guy (or “heel” in wrestling jargon) so its neat to learn that he started out as a good guy (also known as a “face”) and the tag-team partner of the Junk Yard Dog. After Reed became a heel in Mid-South he took on a new partner, Jim Neidhart, I guy I know as “the Anvil” from WWF. Reed later switched back to being a face and had feuds with baddies like Ted Dibiase and Kamala.
After WWF he fought in WCW as part of a masked tag-team known as DOOM along with Ron Simmons. He and Simmons were eventually unmasked and ended up feuding with each other. Thing have been relatively quiet for Reed since he left WCW in 1992. though he’s fought for smaller regional promotions here and there. The best thing I learned from his wiki page is that he’s still alive. So many wrestlers from my childhood have passed away so it’s nice to check in on a guy like this who I haven’t give much thought to for the past few decades and find out he’s alive and well.
As kids I, along with my brother Doug, managed to collect nearly the complete collection of LJN’s big rubber WWF wrestling figures. We loved those things. Unfortunately they never made a Butch Reed. However, I had a double of Koko B. Ware and so I painted the double’s hair blonde and used it as Reed. I’m not sure why I had a double of the Birdman but I may have acquied it specifically to create a custom Butch Reed…I can’t recall for sure.
After LJN lost the WWF license Hasbro began putting out smaller articulated WWF figures which I didn’t like nearly as much as the big solid rubber ones. Meanwhile, Galoob began releasing WCW figures right around the same time. Galoob’s figures were solid unarticulated pieces much like the LJN figures but they were smaller and more-or-less to scale with Hasbro’s figures. I wasn’t interested in the WCW characters who had never fought in the WWF, like Sting and the Steiner Brothers, but I was happy that Galoob finally provided me with a real Butch Reed figure.
Since this figure is of plain ol’ WCW Butch Reed, and not WWF’s “Natural” Butch Reed it doesn’t have the trademark blonde hair, but hair color aside this is a great figure.
The sculpts on the WCW figures were ahead of their time. The likenesses are very good and the proportions are far superior to those found on the goofy Hasbro figures. Butch’s hair is textured, he’s got veins sculpted into his arms, and his Nike sneakers have loads of nice details.
The key to a great unarticulated wrestling figure is the pose and Butch has a great one. His arms are up and curved which is perfect for body slams, pile drivers, clotheslines, and a bunch of other essential moves. I also like that he has one open hand and one closed fist as that allows for more possibilities as well. Of the 3 WCW figures I have (I also have Lex Luger and Brian Pillman) Butch is my least favorite character but my favorite toy because of his great pose. 8 out of 10.