Twenty-eight years ago this month at the old Boston Garden, Rowdy Roddy Piper pinned Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka in the main of the monthly WWF card.
I wasn’t at the show, but remember so well hearing the result from my old friend, Doug, who had been at the matches and was a devout Piper fan. I actually could not believe Piper had pinned him, because at that point in my wrestling fandom, the heels rarely won the big blow-off matches.
Those of you who were watching wrestling back then will understand this when I say that Piper was a new kind of heel in the WWF: Young, on the small side, and absolutely insane on the microphone. The angle in which he bashed Snuka in the head with the coconut may go down as the greatest in WWE history. So when Piper actually pinned the Superfly, it was in a subtle way a changing of the guard.
All these years later, I’m not surprised Piper won. He gained a reputation in the WWF for not jobbing (he may have only done it a handful of times during his heyday from 1984 to his “retirement” in 1987 at WrestleMania III), and he always made sure he was involved in the top feuds.
Snuka stayed around in the WWF for about a year, but his losses to Piper signified that his run was ending. New stars had come in to take the spots of the established guys. It’s a formula that keeps the matches fresh, and unfortunately in today’s WWE, we’re in a dry spell when it comes to new talent breaking through.