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 - Scott Williams 

When people with Mid-South memories talk about the legendary wrestlers of the region, the usual list of suspects’ names comes up -- Bill Watts, Ted DiBiase, Junkyard Dog, Killer Karl Kox, Jim Duggan and various tag teams with the word "express" in their names.

A lot of people overlook "Hacksaw" Butch Reed, a major player who was great on the microphone and in the ring, as a face or heel, a man who tried ably to fill the main event void left by the biggest babyface draw in Mid-South history.  This is the first of a two-part look at the history of one of the great, unheralded pro wrestlers of the 1980s.

Bruce Reed, occasionally called "Hacksaw" Reed, had made his biggest mark in the wrestling world in Georgia and Florida, as a fiery, athletic babyface with just a little bit of attitude. In Mid-South, Bruce became permanently known as Butch, and that little bit of attitude turned into nothing but attitude.
Reed joined Mid-South in 1982, as a friend and partner to Junkyard Dog. Dog, as the lead babyface, had endured a series of turns by his best friends. Reed would prove to be no exception. 

Reed’s first big singles feud was with Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who wanted to be sole owner of the nickname. At the time, Duggan was far from the jolly, flag-waving fan favorite most folks remember. Instead, he was one-third of Ted DiBiase’s diabolical Rat Pack, along with DiBiase (who had turned on JYD months earlier) and Matt Borne.  In a tournament for the vacant North American title held in 1983 and eventually won by Junkyard Dog (whose alter-ego Stagger Lee had given up the belt), Reed beat Duggan in an early round, but the two Hacksaws would meet again in the tournament.
As Reed faced off against Mr. Olympia, the inevitable ref bump occurred. Duggan ran in, wearing a strange mask/helmet that seemed by accentuate the spear. He used the move on Reed, leaving him easy pickings for Olympia, the tournament’s other eventual finalist.

Duggan helping Olympia would prove ironic, because Olympia’s allegiances would spur Duggan’s turn, which would, in turn, spur Reed’s.
Olympia, a longtime babyface and former partner of JYD (see the pattern?), had taken on Skandor Akbar as manager and was teaming with DiBiase, Duggan’s Rat Pack buddy. Duggan was not happy about his fellow Rat Packer hooking up with Akbar, who had managed the Iron Sheik. The implication was that Duggan had lost a relative in the botched attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages in 1979. DiBiase promised Duggan he’d split from Akbar, only to (surprise!) turn on him at the earliest opportunity.

So, what does all of this DiBiase-Duggan stuff have to do with Butch Reed? Well, when Mid-South let fans pick a partner for JYD, they picked the freshly betrayed Duggan, not the longtime loyalist Reed.
Reed was not happy about the outcome, and got to thinking. What he came up with breathed new life into his career and gave Mid-South one of its best heels ever.  Reed said Dog could have his tag-team with Duggan, because Reed was only worried about one thing.  

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