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WWE: Chief Jay Strongbow

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posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 10:40 AM
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When Chief Jay Strongbow went on the warpath, no one was safe; not his opponent, not the referee, nor anyone else unfortunate enough to get in his way. Perhaps the greatest Native American to lace up a pair of boots, Chief Jay was one of WWE's most influential and popular grapplers of the 1960s and 1970s.

Although Strongbow was a talented singles star, he etched his name in history through his accomplishments in the tag team scene. Teaming with Sonny King, he won his first WWE World Tag Team Championship in May 1972 when they defeated the rugged tandem of Baron Mikel Scicluna & King Curtis. Although the duo held the title for just over a month, Strongbow demonstrated that he understood the nuances of the tag team division as well as anyone. It was only a matter of time and finding the right partner before he would share the titles again.

That time came in 1976 when he and fellow Native American Billy White Wolf defeated The Executioners and Tor Kamata & Nikolai Volkoff in a three-team tournament to win the titles. Chief Jay and White Wolf were extremely popular. Their reign came to an end after Ken Patera broke White Wolf's neck.

With White Wolf's career over, Strongbow decided to focus on his singles career. Years before, he had battled men like Spiros Arion and Jimmy Valiant. Back as a singles combatant, Strongbow embarked on a long-running battle with Greg "The Hammer" Valentine.

Strongbow won many more matches than he lost during the late '70's and early '80's, but the allure of the tag team division still ran strong through his veins. When his nephew Jules Strongbow made it to WWE, it was only natural that the two team up.

Before long, the two challenged for the titles. On June 28, 1982, they defeated the diabolical duo of Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito to win the championships. Before his career was over, Chief Jay would win the titles once more with Jules and establish himself as a WWE Hall of Famer.

By the mid-1980s, age was catching up with the Chief and he retired from active competition. He remained a vital part of WWE, however, assuming a prominent role in the front office and serving as a mentor to fellow Native American grappler Tatanka in the early '90s.

Different Superstars are remembered for different reasons; some because of a great match or innovative style, others because of longevity or championship reigns. Chief Jay will possibly be remembered best for going on the warpath. The indelible image of his war dance and resulting knee lifts and chops that his opponents received are among the most iconic images the sport has ever produced. Chief Jay Strongbow was a great champion, a charismatic showman, and a warrior. His imprint on the business will be felt forever.

WWE Hall of fame




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