SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Reggie Parks
Reggie Parks is presented a title belt by Bobby Heenan, left, and Karl Lauer at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in Las Vegas in February 2001. -- Greg Oliver, CANOE
: August 1934 in Edmonton, Alberta
6'2", 225-230 pounds
: The Avenger, Mr. High
Edmonton-born Reggie Parks is probably the wrestler to have held the
greatest number of championship belts -- not many others can claim to
have held literally hundreds and hundreds of belts.
It helps that he designs and makes championship belts.
The 66-year-old Parks explained to SLAM! Wrestling how his evolution
from successful pro wrestler to belt maker extraordinaire took place.
Turn back the clock 37 years, and Parks was wrestling in Omaha,
Nebraska. The promoter there, Joe Dusek, had a great big tag team trophy
instead of a belt. "The trophy was about six feet tall, and anybody who touched it, it
would fall apart," Parks said with a laugh.
His tag team partner Doug Gilbert (who was Mr. Low to Parks' Mr. High)
suggested they make up some title belts, and Dusek agreed.
"From there, word got out," Parks said. "I made for the WWF for 10
years, WCW, independent groups. Just about everybody you could think
Over the last 10 years, he's made about 100 belts a year -- all by hand.
Before that, when he was still involved with the WWF as an occasional
referee, he did about a dozen belts a year.
You've seen some of his belts in the WWF, WCW, AWA and many of the
original and current NWA promotions as well as Japanese, Mexican and
independent promotions worldwide, as well as boxing, Tae Kwon Do and
Ultimate Fighting Championship belts.
Reggie Parks as The Avenger. -- courtesy Chris Swisher
How many belts have you made, Reggie? "I don't know. I can't even
remember, I've made so many for so many
people. I've made for football players, I've made for boxers, Evander
Holyfield ... the Oakland A's when they won the world title [and] made
one for their manager; Coors Brewery, they've done a bunch of belts,
Strauss the clothing manufacturer. Anybody that wants a belt, not
necessarily have anything to do with athletics."
Growing up in Edmonton, sports was always a part of Parks' life. He
credits Stu Hart
for his start in wrestling.
"I started at a boxing and wrestling club in Edmonton, then Stu Hart
took me under his wing. He more or less was the guy that got me going,
got me out on the road," Parks explained. "He was involved in the
promotion in Seattle, Washington area. That's where I started out. I
went from there to
Portland, L.A., Texas. I was good enough to create a reputation for
myself and then I went from there."
Parks' reputation was based on large part on his physique, strength and
his 'cast iron stomach'. One time, a Volkswagen Bug was driven over his
stomach to prove his toughness. Some called him the "Quiet Superman".
Again, Hart is given credit by Parks. "Stu's tough because he's good. He
takes no prisoners. He didn't teach you a lot of technique. He taught
you how to be tough."
Currently residing in Tuscon, Arizona, Parks has American permanent
resident status but is still a Canadian citizen. During his career, he
spent a lot of time in the U.S. midwest, working in Omaha, Nebraska,
Indianapolis, Chicago, Denver.
Tag team wrestling was always a specialty, and resulted in numerous
titles. "I must have had half a dozen different partners," he said with
"I think that Danny Hodge
was probably my favourite partner. I was never
in any danger with him being my partner. He's one of those double tough
guys. He could do anything, [an] NCAA boxing and wrestling champion,"
Parks said. "Nobody's tougher than him. He's roughly my size and my
When creating a ring persona, Parks admitted that he studied the best.
"I patterned a lot of my stuff after Lou Thesz
. I sort of liked what he
did, and I tried to copy some of his moves."
Despite his years in wrestling, travelling the globe, and later making
belts, until this past February at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion in
Las Vegas, Parks had been without a championship belt of his own.
Everything he had made had gone out the door to honour champions,
celebrate birthdays and hang on the walls of the self-professed 'belt
marks' across the globe.
His business partner in the belt-making game, Ed Chuman, the NWA Midwest
promoter, organized some friends to present Parks with a beautiful
championship belt. The belt was enscribed 'Reggie Parks, King Of Belts',
and had an engraving of Reggie holding up one of his most famous belts,
the WWF Championship Belt worn by Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels
and Steve Austin until replaced with the current belt.
Parks was truly touched. It was a unique honour for one of the greats.
-- By GREG OLIVER, SLAM! Wrestling
, July 2001
I had the privilege of meeting Reggie Parks at the NWA 51st Anniversary Show
in Charlotte, NC. I was down there representing the CWF and NWA Canada. I
met Reggie at the hotel the first night that I got there. EZ Ryder and
I were in the bar when we were introduced to Reggie. We hit it off and
we hung out with him for the next couple of days leading up to the show.
We drove around Charlotte with Reggie, Ed Chuman and Mitch Hartsy. They
showed us everything there was to see in the city. We went to the Harley
Shop, Ric Flair's Gym and various other stuff. Reggie told us some great
stories about the old STAMPEDE Territory and some of the other great things
that happened to him in his career. We also spoke of his belts and what
honour it was for him to have so many great men wear something that he made
with his own hands. He is soft spoken and one of the great men in this
business. I encourage any and all to check out his website and if you are in
the market I would recommend his belts to anyone. I never got the chance to
thank Reggie for his kindness over the couple of days that we were in North
Carolina but I will always remember the experience. Thanks Reggie.