WWE Legend Chief Jay Strongbow Passes Away at 83; Greatest Native American Wrestlers

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WWE Legend Chief Jay Strongbow Passes Away at 83; Greatest Native American Wrestlers

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Chief Jay Strongbow in 2011.

Chief Jay Strongbow, the celebrated wrestler from the 60s and 70s, passed away this afternoon at the age of 83. The news was first reported by WWE broadcast announcer Jim Ross. Strongbow, whose real name was Joe Scarpa, undertook wrestling in the late 40s and lasted until the early 80s. Strongbow then labored for Vince McMahon and the World Wrestling Federation for a brief period in various positions. As Chief Jay Strongbow, the Italian Joe Scarpa hit his stride in the 70s as he choreographed the Native American character. He held several championships, including the WWF Tag Team Championship with Jules Strongbow. The beloved wrestler was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1994.

Strongbow was one of, if not the most popular Native American wrestling character. He inspired numerous other Native American characters throughout the years. In celebration of Chief Jay Strongbow, here is a list of the three most distinguished Native American wrestlers.

Chief Jay Strongbow

As previously mentioned, Strongbow was a mainstream attraction for the WWWF in the 60s and 70s. He also performed for the NWA and acquired the companies prestigious titles. The Chief also held several regional titles across the nation, during a time when the territorial wrestling system was active. Strongbow later inspired several young WWE acts including The Hardy Boyz.


The Native American Tatanka was one of the most prominent babyface wrestlers of the mid 90s. With his war cry theme music and enthusiastic rain dance, Tatanka was cheered by young and old alike. Although he was motivated by Chief Jay Strongbow, Tatanka was the physical complete opposite. Tatanka wore bright colors and had a red Mohawk. During his initial run with the WWE, Tatanka went on a lengthy undefeated streak before he ultimately fell to Ludvig Borga.

Wahoo McDaniel

Wahoo McDaniel was playing for the New York Jets when Vince McMahon Sr. decided to bring in the Native American act. The well-known wrestler was a hit in all the wrestling organizations he functioned for. But McDaniel made his biggest impact with the Mid-Atlantic territory where he feuded with "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Greg Valentine and Harley Race. Wahoo McDaniel is considered the Chief Jay Strongbow of the southeast.

Chief Jay Strongbow left the world on Tuesday April 3rd, but his memory will hold strong for many years. His outward personality and character helped transition the pure pro wrestling generation to the sports entertainment business. Rest in peace Chief Jay.

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Ryan Drew is a 30 year old independent wrestler from Boston. He was trained by Spike Dudley. Follow Ryan Drew on Twitter or at www.TheWrestlingHub.com

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