Sad news about a man whose name you may not have known, but whose work you’ve admired.
Reggie Parks, a journeyman pro wrestler and belt-maker, died yesterday (Oct. 7). He was 87.
Mr. Parks was truly the “King of Belts”as he created too many iconic championship designs to list in a few tweets. Drop your favorites below to honor his legacy, his talent, his creativity, and the industry he pretty much singlehandedly created. pic.twitter.com/FHNTbjn173— Conrad the Mortgage Guy (@HeyHeyItsConrad) October 8, 2021
Like so many from Western Canada, Parks got his start in Stampede Wrestling working for Stu Hart.
My grandfather Stu loved Reggie Parks.— Nattie (@NatbyNature) October 8, 2021
Over a career that spanned from the 1950s to the 1980s, he wrestled on the undercard across the territories using gimmicks like Mr. High and The Avenger. His lasting legacy will be as the creator of titles like winged eagle WWF World championship worn by names like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage & Steve Austin in the 80s and 90s.
RIP Reggie Parks. A man who created art in the ring in different ways. The man responsible for my favorite title belt design ever. The 86-98 IC Championship. Godspeed sir.— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) October 8, 2021
Parks got his start designing titles when his tag partner Doug Gilbert (Mr. Low to his Mr. High) suggested they make on to replace the trophy used by an independent promoter in Nebraska. In a 2001 profile for Slam Wrestling, Parks told the story:
“The trophy was about six feet tall, and anybody who touched it, it would fall apart [laughs]... From there, word got out. I made for the WWF for 10 years, WCW, independent groups. Just about everybody you could think of.”
While Parks didn’t know how many titles he’d made - not just for wrestling, but for other sports, athletes and franchises - he estimated he did more than 100 per year in the 90s. And he made them all by hand.
We send out our sincerest condolences to the family & friends of the legendary Reggie Parks who has passed away at the age of 87. Not only is Reggie known for his years in wrestling, also known as the man who made some of the most iconic championship belts in wrestling history. pic.twitter.com/ceCKJ537X6— CauliflowerAlleyClub (@CACReunion) October 8, 2021
Our thoughts are with Mr. Parks’ family, and everyone who is missing him today.