You could make a strong argument that the single greatest angle in modern WWF/WWE history occurred in 1984: the famed Piper’s Pit with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka as a guest.
You ask anyone who grew up in Boston watching wrestling in the 1980s and they will remember when Roddy Piper cracked the coconut on Snuka’s head.
Here’s a nice clip of that Piper’s Pit thanks to the Very Fine/Near Mint website.
The unusual thing about this feud was that it never really got the traditional blow-off and was in some ways left hanging. I believe Snuka pinned Piper only once, in St. Louis (which may have also been Piper’s only pinfall loss during his initial WWF heyday).
Piper and Snuka fought four times at the Boston Garden:
- July 14, 1984—Piper defeated Snuka by DQ
- August 4, 1984—Piper defeated Snuka
- December 8, 1984—Snuka and Tonga Kid defeated Piper and Paul Orndorff
- March 2, 1985—Snuka defeated Piper by DQ
In hindsight all these years later, I love the little nuances of the angle, such as Piper giving the mic to Snuka in the script so that in real life he had two hands to handle all the props. Piper was also quick enough to repeat Snuka’s barely whispered, yet important, line: “Are you making fun of me?” And Piper was just plain mean as he berated Snuka while whipping him with his belt.
I can’t overstate how big this angle was at the time. Piper was a new kind of young, arrogant heel that WWF fans had not seen before, and Snuka was still a huge babyface that had a rare connection with the audience, even though his star would soon fade.
But while his reign lasted, man did Snuka have great feuds in the WWF. And great opponents to play off of, whether it was Bob Backlund, Magnificent Muraco, or Piper.
Wait a minute, did I say that Bob Backlund as a great opponent? Yes — that guy didn’t hold the WWF Championship for almost six years because he was lousy. There’s a lot more to be written about Backlund’s run as champ and why it worked for so long…