Old School Spotlight: “Iceman” King Parsons


In the long storied history of professional wrestling, many spandex clad gladiators have grabbed our attention and captured our imaginations. These colorful characters remain in the deepest recesses of our minds years after their glory days in the ring have passed. The most memorable grapplers from our years of wrestling fandom are often those that we encounter early on in our initial discovery of the mat game. This column will take a look at some of the most bizarre, flamboyant, charismatic, and downright terrifying pro wrestlers of all time.

King Parsons was born April 9, 1949 in St. Louis, Missouri and started wrestling professionally in 1979 after being trained by veteran grappler, Nick Kozak. King started for the National Wrestling Alliance’s Houston, Texas territory promoted by the legendary Paul Boesch. Parsons soon moved to Barling, Arkansas and lived there while working for the Tulsa promotion and Leroy McGuirk circa 1978–79. He also moved to Worland, Wyoming and wrestled for the Rocky Mountain Wrestling promotion for about a year, wrestling in Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah. Bill Ash booked all the talent and the matches in those areas. Boesch later contacted Don Owen and was instrumental in landing a job for King in the NWA’s Pacific Northwest territory. While in the promotion, he teamed with “Soulman” Rocky Johnson and won the tag team titles. In 1982, he moved on to Jim Crockett Promotions and the NWA’s Mid-Atlantic territory where he teamed with Porkchop Cash and feuded with Don Kernodle and Jim Nelson over the NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship.

In 1983, because of booking agent changes in Charlotte, King then moved on to World Class Championship Wrestling in Dallas to work for Fritz Von Erich. He feuded with the likes of the One Man Gang and “Gentleman” Chris Adams. He also formed a tag team known as “Rock ‘n’ Soul” with Buck Zumhofe and that duo had a big feud with General Skandor Akbar’s Destroyers (brothers Bill and Scott Irwin). Parson’s was often at odds with Akbar’s Devastation Inc. stable as he had fallen victim to one of the General’s infamous fireballs in tag team match against the Destroyers while teaming with the Junkyard Dog. During this time, WCCW had several up and coming “young lions” like Parsons, Adams, The Fabulous Freebirds, and “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin. Parsons had the most successful run of his career in Dallas as the DFW Metroplex had developed into a hotbed for professional wrestling by 1984. Parsons had arrived in the promotion at a very pivotal time in the organization’s history. He was introduced to viewers in a vignette produced by WCCW TV producer, Mickey Grant, which showed him working in an ice factory hauling large heavy blocks of ice across his broad shoulders. Once fans got a glimpse of his raw strength, “The Iceman” was born. He initially sided with the Von Erich clan in their feud with the Fabulous Freebirds. Parsons was second only to Texas’ favorite sons in popularity in the early days of the syndication of the WCCW TV program. He oozed charisma. He strutted down the aisle to the tune of “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge and his memorable catchphrases on the mic always brought the Sportatorium crowd to its feet.

He wrestled briefly in the Texas All-Star Wrestling promotion in 1985 and 1986 and formed the “Dream Team” with Tiger Conway, Jr. They feuded with Mike and Dizzy Golden. In 1985, Parsons would win the WCWA American Heavyweight Championship defeating Chris Adams, later losing that title to “Ravishing” Rick Rude. Like many WCCW stars, the Iceman then went on to the Universal Wrestling Federation in mid 1986 to work for “Cowboy” Bill Watts. While there, Parsons feuded mostly with Adams and with Savannah Jack for many months. His feud with Jack carried over to Ken Mantell’s new Wild West Wrestling promotion. In late-1987, he returned to WCCW as a heel and joined Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts, after Michael Hayes left the Fabulous Freebirds, to help them get revenge on Hayes. Hayes teamed with Kerry and Kevin Von Erich and they had a long feud that eventually saw Gordy side with Hayes and Roberts leave the promotion. Parsons was known as the “Blackbird” during this feud and later formed a trio called “The Blackbirds” with Perry “Action” Jackson and Harold T. Harris. In March 1988, Parsons defeated Kerry Von Erich for the World Class Heavyweight Championship in a highly controversial bout that actually saw the lights go out in the Dallas Sportatorium. Winning that title made “Iceman” King Parsons the first black World Heavyweight Champion in any major wrestling promotion.

In the early-1990s, he moved back over to the Universal Wrestling Federation owned by Herb Abrams who had acquired the promotion from Bill Watts. In a now infamous angle, Parsons feuded with Colonel DeBeers over his treatment of African-American referee Larry Sampson, who was Parsons’ storyline cousin. In 1992, Parsons went to the Dallas based Global Wrestling Federation with Jackson as the Blackbirds managed by The Witchdoctor Baboose and won the tag team titles and also won the North American Heavyweight Title, which was the GWF’s top title. Parsons and Jackson also feuded with the brother tandem of The Ebony Experience, Stevie Ray and Booker T, who later found huge success in WCW as Harlem Heat. He also worked for the United States Wrestling Association where he was managed by former adversary, General Skandor Akbar and later Percy Pringle III.

After the death of close friend Chris Adams in 2001 and suffering from a serious back injury sustained in a car accident, Parsons cut back on his appearances. He is now largely retired, appearing sporadically from time to time for a few independent promotions in his home state of Texas. “Iceman” King Parsons burst onto the wrestling scene during the height of the territory era. His rugged toughness and electric personality won over fans everywhere he wrestled. Parsons was a big influence to many modern African American wrestling stars as well. Although he had a relatively short in ring career, “Iceman” King Parsons will always be remembered for the mark he left on the world of pro wrestling, as he himself used to say, “Momma says it be’s that way sometimes!”

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