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Billy Jack Haynes debuted in the Pacific Northwest in 1982, complete with >the black hat and usually referred to as 'Big' Billy Jack, he was an instant hit with the fans. Billy was not your typical rookie, he was closer to 30 then 20 and he had a somewhat checkered past. None of that mattered to anyone though because Billy was money in the bank. As a soft spoken babyface, Billy possessed one of the great bodies to ever grace the region.

I would imagine that the promoters were a bit leery of Billy at the beginning, a short while before this they had given a huge push to a local boy named Mike Popovich only to have him quit in the middle and never return to the ring again. This may be why at the beginning of his career Billy teamed with the veteran Stan Stasiak who was a professional to the bone. 

Stan could take Billy and show him the ropes, both in terms of storyline and about the actual business. Portland took to Billy right away, IMO he was not as over in Seattle as he was in Portland but that could be argued, and Billy made sure to capitalize on being a local boy by mentioning that at least a couple of times in every interview he gave. His finish was the same one given to every Portland strongman, "The Full Nelson."

Soon, Billy and Stasiak where the tag team champs and Billy was on his way. Billy was older then your typical rookie but he still made great strides and his improvement from week to week was noticeable. Which is a tribute to both his work ethic and the veterans around him who got him over. Billy went from the tag team with Stan the Man into a huge singles push and in what seemed like a matter of a couple of weeks he was the top face in the company, and in his rookie year he had a title shot on TV against Harley Race in which he had Race trapped in the Full Nelson as time ran out. The announcers speculated that it was just a matter of time before Billy owned the World's Title.

When a young Curt Hennig came in Billy and he formed a babyface team to fight Rip Oliver's clan. This led to a singles feud with Rip Oliver that lasted on and off for the next seven years. Billy would wander from promotion to promotion at the time knowing that he could always, and always did come back to Portland. I have been told that he used to brag that he was like Hulk Hogan in the PNW, that is how over he was. Don Owen always took him back, because Billy always drew fans, and that is the bottom line in the business, the butts in the seats. In his travels, Billy went to Texas, Florida, the WWF and several other promotions, but being a Portland boy he always returned to Portland, and he was always welcomed like a conquering hero when he did so.

As a performer, Billy was much better then many of the other musclemen of the era and he was a GREAT bleeder, I think he used to actually like to bleed, he would do it on TV, and he would do it often. His babyface promos were nothing to write home about, they were your standard, humble, happy to be here-the competition here is so tough-but I love the fans of insert area-and I do not intend to let them down-of the time. And for a long time, coupled with his great body and local roots, in Portland that was enough. 

Billy was as popular as any wrestler, anywhere in the country was at the time and was over enough to warrant comparisons to PNW legends like Lonnie Mayne, Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper.

In 1984 Billy Jack Haynes appeared to be one of the guys who would be the future of the wrestling game, and when he made his WWF debut in late 1986 all that seemed to be ringing true. It all seemed to unravel when Billy and Trailblazer Mychal Thompson, who was going to be in Billy's corner, stood the promoter up on one of his big cards for more money. They then proceeded to go on a radio show and shoot on Owen for being a cheapskate and told people to NOT attend the show because they would not be there. From here on in, Billy was looked at through different eyes, as Don Owen was a promoter most people sympathized with.  More...

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