Chief Jay Strongbow hopes to link past to future
During RAW's Oct. 3 Homecoming on USA Network, WWE will pay tribute to many of the Legends who helped pave the way for all of WWE's future success. WWE.com will be posting interviews with many of these Legends as we recognize the vital role they played well before RAW ever became the landmark show of sports-entertainment.
Chief Jay Strongbow, a WWE Hall of Famer, will be one of the legends on hand for WWE Homecoming. Strongbow was one of the most popular Superstars in WWE history and helped catapult the company into a national force in the sports-entertainment industry.
Strongbow debuted for WWE in 1969 and almost immediately became one of the company's most recognizable faces. In fact, the Chief's popularity was so overwhelming that he was known as the original People's Champion. The Rock later became more well-known by that moniker, but it was Strongbow who held the unofficial title first. Speaking of The Rock, Strongbow, who is also a four-time World Tag Team Champion, even teamed up with The Rock's grandfather, Peter Maivia and wrestled against his father Rocky Johnson.
The Chief, who retired from active competition in the mid 1980s, is looking forward to WWE Homecoming where he can reconnect with several of the legends he worked with over the years as well as meeting some of the current WWE Superstars.
"It's really nice to be remembered after all of these years," said Chief Jay Strongbow. "It's hard to pick just one legend that I'm looking forward to seeing. I can't wait to see them all. I was with some of them for many years."
One legend that will be on hand that Strongbow remembers quite well is fellow WWE Hall of Famer Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. While Strongbow was a veteran, he faced off against a young, hungry, up and coming Valentine in 1979 in a bitter rivalry. Valentine got the best of him, utilizing the Figure Four Leglock, but Strongbow eventually got a measure of revenge.
"It will be good to see him again," said Strongbow. "All of my matches with him were very tough," he said when asked what stood out most about his encounters with The Hammer.
Although Strongbow looks back fondly on his matches with Valentine, his favorite matches were with another WWE Hall of Famer, Killer Kowalski.
"I remember one night in Washington D.C., we were supposed to have a match with a 20-minute time limit," he said. "The time keeper was so into our match, though, that he lost track of time and we went on for at least 45 minutes."
Strongbow said that it's nice that WWE is rememebring some of its legends, and he also thinks it's something that should be done more often to broaden the audience.
"I think the legends can still help the company," he said. "I will be 74 years old, and people in their 40s and 50s remember me. They talk to their kids about me and the guys I wrestled with. It brings the two genereations together. And the kids who are watching today will help create the new legends."
One way in which WWE is keeping the memories of its legends alive is with its 24/7 on-demand cable channel.
"I think 24/7 is a great idea. I was playing golf with a bunch of other guys around my age and they were asking me about it," he said. "It's like one of those old movie channels. A lot of times people like to go back and watch some of the old-timers."
Although Strongbow thinks the past can be a helpful force in propelling the present, he is also looking forward to meeting some of the more recent WWE Superstars.
"It will be nice to see Hulk Hogan. He really got things going for WWE in the 80s," he said. "Mick Foley has done a lot for the business and Stone Cold, too. I look forward to seeing Kurt Angle. I really respect the guy from what I've seen. To have someone of that caliber in the ring is really great."