Tagged: Ray Stevens

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

Jake the Snake Delivers a Devastating DDT to Steamboat on the Concrete

Back in 1986, the WWF did not have mats around ringside. Actually, few – if any – promotions put in those mats to help wrestlers break their falls doing moves on the floor, which in most cases are concrete or wood.

Those exposed floors had come into play during prior angles with memorable results, such as when Ray Stevens gave Jimmy Snuka two piledrivers on the concrete or Greg Valentine delivered a vertical suplex on the floor to Pedro Morales.

But perhaps no other incident at ringside could match what Jake “The Snake” Roberts did to Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat in May 1986. The two were scheduled to compete on Saturday Night’s Main Event, which was an NBC show that Continue reading

Tonight at the Hall of Fame, Sammartino and Backlund get some respect back

So, this weekend, in the shadow of WrestleMania 29, two of the biggest omissions in the WWE Hall of Fame will be corrected.

Madison Square Garden has lost its luster as the “Mecca of professional wrestling,” as Gorilla Monsoon used to call it, but it is appropriate that Bruno Sammartino and Bob Backlund — each of whom headlined dozens of cards at the arena during their tenures as WWF Heavyweight Champion — will get their due tonight at MSG during the Hall of Fame induction.

As I’ve written many times on this blog, Continue reading

Stevens and Albano brutalized Snuka to kick off his babyface turn

Many people, including me, point to the Piper’s Pit with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka as a seminal moment in the WWF in 1980s. I’ve argued that it’s perhaps the greatest angle ever in federation history.

We also remember fondly Snuka’s battles with Magnificent Muraco, including the now historic leap off the steel cage in Madison Square Garden.

But no discussion of Snuka feuds and angles would be complete without giving a nod to his babyface turn in 1982, during which he was beaten down and bloodied by Captain Lou Albano and Ray “The Crippler” Stevens. If you’ve never seen this angle, it is awesome and brutal. Continue reading

Ray “The Crippler” Stevens literally says nothing during an amusing MSG promo

I stumbled upon a tremendous house show promo on YouTube by Ray “The Crippler” Stevens — in which Stevens didn’t say a word.

I never fully appreciated Stevens when I was a kid watching the WWF in the early 1980s. Sure, I had heard of Stevens, but the version that showed up in the WWF in 1982-83 was old, out-of-shape, and honestly didn’t seem very engaged (although his attack on Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was a classic). It wasn’t until years later that I learned of his tremendous runs in San Francisco in the 1960s and the AWA in the 1970s, and how well he was regarded for bumping for his opponents.

So back to 1983 and the whole point of this blog post. In a house show promo for Madison Square Garden Continue reading

Bob Backlund wrestled an impressive array of challengers in 1982

Bob Backlund gets a bad rap these days. Most fans either remember him as the nutty heel who turned on Bret Hart in 1994 and briefly won the WWF Title before losing it to Diesel (better known as Kevin Nash), or worse, they remember his tenure acting as a kook for TNA Wrestling.

But for those of us who grew up watching pro wrestling in the early 1980s, Backlund was one of the biggest stars. Continue reading