Grappling great CHIEF JAY STRONGBOW has died of unknown causes.
Strongbow aka Joe Scarpa, achieved fame in his persona of a Native-American grappler during the 1970s and 1980s, whose war dance foretold the downfall of his opponents, died last Tuesday.
His age was listed as 79 0r 83 and his family declined to say how he died nor provide a cause.
Joe Scarpa, who became one of the best-known professional wrestlers of the 1970s and ’80s after he took on the persona of Chief Jay Strongbow, an American Indian whose war dance foretold the downfall of many opponents, died on Tuesday.
Strongbow, at his zenith in his persona of the Chief, played to capacity crowds at Madison Square Garden and other grappling venues throughout the Northeast.
Rising to the big time sometimes billed as Joltin’ Joe Scarpa and The Rebel he began winning individual titles and tag team battles during the 1960s.
But when Scarpa joined with Vince McMahon’s World Wide Wrestling Foundation (WWF) as Chief Jay Strongbow, he became one of a line of colorful ethic grapplers along with the Iron Shiek, Mr. Fuji and Professor Toro Tanaka – each mastering their own unique style of combat.
Scarpa, an Italian American quickly embraced his role as Chief Strongbow. In addition to the sleeper hold designed to render a foe unconscious, Strongbow created signature moves like the Tomahawk death chop and Indian death lock.
Chief Jay Strongbow won the world tag team championship four times, twice with his “brother” Jules Strongbow.
In 1985, after retiring, the Chief helping mentor young wrestlers, among them Christopher Chavis, a member of the American Indian LumbeeTribe, who wrestled professionally as Tatanka.
Strongbow, a native of Philadelphia, was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1994.
Adios, Chief – may you find everlasting peace in the Happy Hunting Grounds.