Sunday, January 15, 2017

My memories of "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka

Rest in peace "Superfly"
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka has died after a lengthy battle with cancer at the age of 73. WWE announced the news like this "WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka has passed away. I only bring this up because there's no sign of Snuka on the company's website under the WWE Hall of Fame section. A couple years ago it appeared they had removed him due to the ongoing investigation into the death of his girlfriend in the early 1980s. But this blog isn't about that, instead remembering the in-ring performer.

Snuka & Muraco
Courtesy: WWE
My first memory of the Superfly was during the summer of 1983. He was feuding with then-Intercontinental champion The Magnificant Muraco. I've told the story here before, but long story short I was flipping through the channels one night with a few of my friends and we came upon Snuka standing in the ring being taunted by a dapperly dressed Muraco. Snuka had enough and jumped over the ropes and started ripping the suit off of the champ. It's the first thing I remember seeing on WWF programming and became hooked.

A short time later another legendary moment happened with the Superfly. This time it was on Piper's Pit and host "Rowdy" Roddy Piper belittled Snuka before slamming a coconut into his head. It was a legit hit and Piper proceeded to whip Snuka with his belt. It was a brutal and barbaric move and one of the most iconic moments from my childhood wrestling days.

My first live WWF experience also included Superfly. He wrestled "Cowboy" Bob Orton, winning by disqualification when Orton dropped Snuka crotch-first on the top rope. Piper ran in or maybe Snuka ran into the Piper-Junkyard Dog match that night, I don't remember exactly, but it was an amazing sight to see.

WrestleMania 25
Courtesy: WWE
The only other time I saw Snuka wrestle in person came in 2009 at WrestleMania 25. He teamed with Piper and Ricky Steamboat against Chris Jericho. Although the good guys lost, it was nice to see Snuka get one last moment to shine in the spotlight. It was appropriate having him on the show as he was a part of the main event of the first WrestleMania as the cornerman for Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. 

Snuka vs. Backlund
Courtesy: WWE
He had been a part of so many other iconic moments, including that top-of-the-cage Superfly splash against then-WWF Champion Bob Backlund. Snuka missed and Backlund retained, but many fans thought The Superfly had the champ's number that night. It's hard to believe he never held gold in WWF but definitely went down as one of the company's most beloved Superstars. He was on the Hulk Hogan Rock N Wrestling cartoon and was a part of the first series of LJN action figures released in 1985.

Rest in peace Superfly. My thoughts are with his family, friends and fans. 

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