So, WWF fans from the 1980s, how did the late Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka leave his mark on you? Was it the Superfly off the steel cage or the coconut?
For me, it was that moment in 1984 when Rowdy Roddy Piper smashed the coconut into Snuka’s head, and then mushed a banana in his face and whipped him. It may be the greatest angle in ’80s.
But there is not a more iconic 1980s moment in the WWE’s history than Snuka’s leap from the top of the cage onto the Magnificent Muraco at Madison Square Garden in 1983, a moment that several wrestlers a generation later — including Mick Foley — pegged as an inspiration.
That’s the reason Snuka still resonates with us all these years later: He brought a fiery emotion to his angles and matches. The heels didn’t just attack Snuka. Instead, they humiliated him — remember Muraco spitting on Snuka? — and we as fans felt it. And when Snuka was out for revenge, he was a madman.
Video: Snuka vs. Piper and the famous Piper's Pit angle
You don’t see that type of anger any more, when feuds come and go quickly. You don’t get mad for wrestlers the way we got mad for Snuka.
The Superfly died on January 15 after a battle with stomach cancer. Despite his golden years in the WWF — when he was arguably the hottest wrestler in the country — it is bittersweet these days to look back at Snuka’s career because of his alleged actions outside the ring.
For the family of Nancy Argentino — Snuka’s girlfriend back in the day who died under suspicious circumstances in 1983 — any possible justice will now never be served. Snuka was indicted for her murder an incredible 32 years after Argentino’s death, but a judge later ruled him mentally incompetent to stand trial. And now Snuka is gone, too.
So while we all look back at Snuka’s great moments in the WWF, Argentino’s family will no doubt mourn once again for her passing so many years ago. It’s a reminder that the people we cheer, boo, and mark out for are also, sometimes, not good people.
I’ll have more to say about Snuka’s history in Boston in an upcoming post.