Tagged: Jimmy Snuka

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka — dead at 73 — took us to emotional highs in the ’80s

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.

He will forever be burned into the brains of ’80s fans who remember his feuds with Bob Backlund, Muraco, Captain Lou Albano, Ray “The Crippler” Stevens, Piper and others.

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 Continue reading

Mr. Fuji, perennial tag champ and star of ‘Fuji Vice,’ dies at 82

Many of us growing up in the Boston area during the 1970s and ’80s will best remember Mr. Fuji as a tag team champion wrestler who held the WWWF and WWF Tag Team Title five times with Professor Toru Tanaka and Mr. Saito.

For me, however, Fuji will stay forever in my mind for his slapstick comedy in skits with Magnificent Muraco, such as “Fuji Vice,” a parody of a hot TV show at the time called Miami Vice. If you’ve never seen “Fuji Vice,” then you must watch it right now below as an homage. I just did.

 

Fuji, whose real name was Harry Fujiwara, died on August 28 at the age of 82.

He had lengthy runs in the WWF as an active wrestler and then became the manager of stars such as Continue reading

Magnificent Muraco talks Boston Garden, Superfly Snuka, and Fuji Vice

The fellas at the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast scored a rare interview recently with the Magnificent Muraco, who is on the way to retiring as a longshoreman, a career he took up after his pro wrestling days wound down in the early 1990s.

Embed from Getty Images

Muraco, who was one of the hottest heels in wrestling during his 1981 and 1983 runs in the WWF, sounds old now but still has fond memories of performing in the Northeast. He occasionally watches his old matches and said his style back then was to get beaten on for the first seven to eight minutes of a bout to get the crowd riled up.

“All I do is get the shit kicked out of me and the people are popping the whole time,” Muraco said.

He specifically recalled a gargantuan reaction from the crowd at the old Boston Garden when Hulk Hogan and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka teamed up. He’s likely referring to a May 1985 show in which Hogan and Snuka faced Muraco and Cowboy Bob Orton, which was the first WWF show broadcast from the Garden by NESN.

Muraco was questioned during the podcast about the Nancy Argentino case, which has Continue reading

Iron Mike Sharpe: Loud, lumbering — and memorable

If I asked those of you around for the WWF scene in the 1980s what you remembered most about Iron Mike Sharpe, most of you would say one of two things:

  • His loud yelling throughout the match
  • His odd, leather forearm pad

Sharpe was an interesting character in that as a jobber, he was among the most memorable from the early ’80s, but as a true star, he just never made it. I remember when he first came into the WWF in early 1983 that Captain Lou Albano managed him, which in those days signaled that he would be challenging for both the WWF Heavyweight and Intercontinental Titles. And he did get those championship bouts — for example, losing to IC Champ Tito Santana in the old Boston Garden in March 1984 — but few of the fans took him seriously as a contender, and he was quickly demoted to the squash matches.

Embed from Getty Images

I found an interesting result involving Sharpe from Madison Square Garden in November 1983, at which Magnificent Muraco defeated Sharpe Continue reading

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka is charged with the 1983 murder of his girlfriend

Time caught up to Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka this week, as more than 30 years after the mysterious death of his girlfriend, Snuka has been charged with her murder.

On Tuesday, Snuka turned himself in to Lehigh County, PA, police officials to face charges of third-degree murder, which essentially means killing with malice. The charges carry a possible 40 years in prison, according to the Morning Call of Allentown, PA, which had aggressively reported on the strange circumstances of this case within recent years, which eventually led to a grand jury re-examining the facts.

Embed from Getty Images

Snuka had long maintained his innocence in the death of Nancy Argentino, who died on May 11, 1983, during the height of Snuka’s popularity with Continue reading

My memories of Rowdy Roddy Piper at the old Boston Garden

Man, it still feels so weird to think Rowdy Roddy Piper is dead. So many of the great times I had with WWF pro wrestling growing up centered on angles and matches with Piper. He was so entertaining at his peak.

Piper has some interesting history in the old Boston Garden. For those who don’t know, the Garden was an arena built in 1928 that was torn down 60 years later to make way for the stadium now known as the TD Garden. By the time I was going to WWF shows at the old Garden in the 1980s, it was run-down place with old, rickety seats that were way too small and the occasional rat scampering along the walls upstairs. It also had an overhanging balcony that gave you a great view for hockey, basketball, or wrestling — thus the name of my blog.

I first saw Piper live sitting in that balcony, taking on Bruno Sammartino in their first match in Boston following a famous Piper’s Pit at Madison Square Garden during which Piper called Sammartino a “wop.” Piper’s feud with Bruno is well remembered in Boston, and in their initial quick meeting, Piper was DQ’d.

After a tag team rematch in January 1986 that included “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff and Cowboy Bob Orton, Piper and Sammartino clashed in a steel cage match that is still talked about today here in Boston. Piper was at his bad-guy best in this bout, even taping posters of the Chicago Bears onto the cage to razz Boston fans who had seen the Patriots go down to the Bears in that year’s Super Bowl.

Sammartino beat a bloody Piper in the match, which drew on of the largest crowds I can ever recall at the old Garden: 16,180. It was the same night that Continue reading

RIP Piper: I grew up with Rowdy Roddy

Hogan. Andre. Savage. Ventura. Piper.

All five of these guys served as the cornerstones of WWF wrestling in the 1980s. Because these guys played such well-known characters during one of pro wrestling’s boom periods, they all ended up transcending their roles to outside the ring.

Embed from Getty Images

 

And now three of them are gone, with Rowdy Roddy Piper’s death on July 30 putting him beside Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Andre the Giant as stars who died way too young.

It’s really starting to suck being an old-school fan raised on Saturday morning WWF wrestling. Savage’s death blew us away in 2011, Hulk Hogan just last week got exposed for his terrible racist comments, and Piper now dies out of nowhere of a heart attack at age 61.

I grew up with Piper during middle and high school – and I know a lot of you who read this blog did, too. I can’t believe Piper – who at his peak was one of the most gifted performers on Continue reading

Ivan Koloff says he was strung out on coke during matches

Here are some things you might not know about the “Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff:

  • He has an active Twitter account @IKoloff
  • His regular speaking voice is quite normal, and it’s hard to believe how long he performed the gutteral growl of the Koloff character
  • He was on cocaine during some of his matches

All of this more came up during Koloff’s recent podcast with Stone Cold Steve Austin, who said over and over how big of a fan he was of Koloff.

First, the drug issues: Koloff said like many wrestlers, he enjoyed drinking socially, which then led to too much booze, pain pills, and eventually coke.

“It just got so bad that after a while I was even wrestling under situations like that,” he told Austin. It was routine for him to wake up in the morning, smoke marijuana, and then run for three miles.

That sounds nuts, but I first saw Koloff Continue reading

Back in 1983, what would TMZ have done with the death of Jimmy Snuka’s girlfriend?

As we watch the NFL squirm on the heels of allegations against players Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened to wrestlers back during the heydays of the WWE had the Internet been more prominent and TMZ had been on the prowl.

When I saw the video of Ray Rice cold-cocking this then fiance in an elevator, my mind went back to the story of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and his on-the-road-girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. Argentino died in May 1983 under mysterious circumstances, and whether you believe Snuka was involved, there seems to be little doubt that the WWF did its best to keep that incident quiet from the public for a long time.

Embed from Getty Images

Let’s suppose Internet news organizations had existed 30 years ago. When Argentino died while traveling with Snuka, it would have made national news, and it’s likely Continue reading

A grand jury in PA will re-examine the death of Snuka’s girlfriend in 1983

In an incredible twist of events, a grand jury in Pennsylvania will soon re-examine the evidence surrounding the mysterious death of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s girlfriend in 1983.

The Morning Call newspaper of Allentown, PA, ran a story today reporting that the Lehigh County District Attorney has announced a grand jury will take up the matter of Nancy Argentino’s death, which until about a year ago was a cold case. Last year, the newspaper and wrestling journalist Irv Muchnick raised questions about Continue reading