Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was very complimentary of Bob Backlund and Rowdy Roddy Piper during a recent interview.
Josh Modaberi of the Wrestling101.com site talked to Snuka about his career and new autobiography.
Snuka said his cage match with Backlund in Madison Square Garden in 1982 – which I watched live, I believe on the USA Network when it was broadcasting the monthly New York City house shows – was a highlight of his WWF tenure.
Snuka leapt off the top rope in the ring and missed his superfly splash when Backlund moved and then crawled out of the cage door. I distinctly remember Vince McMahon interviewing Backlund after the match just outside the cage, and Snuka laid face down on the mat the whole time selling the missed dive.
I’m not a glory guy or anything like that, but it was such a great pleasure for me to wrestle Bob Backland, the champion at the time,” Snuka said. “He was such an awesome guy and such a great champion, and it was such a privilege to be able to wrestle him so early on in my WWF career in a title match at Madison Square Garden. Jumping off the cage at the Garden, you couldn’t even hear yourself. I loved it so much. Things like that just stick in your heart.”
Snuka said working with Piper was great, but then the Superfly snuck into a weird, almost kayfabe mode when talking about the famous Piper’s Pit during which Piper smashed a coconut on Snuka’s head.
“Well, first of all I have to tell you when he hit me over the head with that coconut we hadn’t planned it; he just did it out of the blue,” Snuka said. “Roddy was a real character, and with me coming from the Fiji Islands, he was teasing me about eating bananas, pineapples, then from nowhere he picks up the coconut and just hits me around the head.”
Hmmm, so they didn’t plan on the coconut angle, but then Piper just decided to crack it on his head? Hey, I can forgive Jimmy, he seemed spaced out in the 1980s, never mind 2012.
Sarcasm aside, I loved Snuka’s first run in the WWF. I’m very nostalgic about growing up watching all of his great feuds during those years on Saturday mornings on Channel 56 in Boston.