Pro wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer Superfly Jimmy Snuka passed away today at the age of 73 after his battle with cancer. I first knew of him as a wrestling fan, but met him many times as a wrestler.
As a Fan
WrestleMania VII was the first time I ever watched wrestling and that’s where I saw Snuka wrestle The Undertaker. I also saw him in various other WWF events over the years renting from Blockbuster Video, as well as a random WCW Nitro from 2000 doing his famous splash from the top of a steel cage.
I also watched older footage on DVDs, such as both of his initial steel cage splash against Bob Backlund & his more noteworthy one against Don Muraco. I also read about him in books and heard about his influence on many wrestlers like Mick Foley & being one of the first to hit a big move from the top rope.
As a Wrestler
I will admit I wasn’t a huge Superfly Jimmy Snuka fan growing up since he was a bit before my time. However, I was a fan of him in the multitude of locker rooms I shared with him in ECPW.
Every time I would see him in the locker room, he’d say “bruddah!”and give me a big hug. We didn’t really have many in-depth conversations, but we did share some words about how we were doing and other things (likewise with his wife Carol).
No matter where we were, he would always have sandals on. Ice skating rink… sandals. Snowing in New York City… sandals. If I would have done that, I would have been sick all the time.
My biggest memory with Superfly happened on June 17, 2011 at an ECPW event in Brooklyn, New York. I had the honor of being one of the Masked Superstars (along with my good friend Tony Myers) and we wrestled Jimmy Snuka & Tony Biella. I got into the match being nervous since Snuka was the most notable wrestler I was matched up against at that time.
I remember being so worried about how the match would go, I didn’t even think I’d be tagged into the match to chain wrestle with Snuka. And that I did, which was an experience in of itself. Every small movement, from a wristlock reversal to taking his signature double chop, had the crowd roaring.
My condolences go out to the family of Superfly Jimmy Snuka. Rest in peace bruddah.