WWE Hall Of Fame Member Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka Dies
Sad news today as pro wrestling has lost another icon, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka has passed away at the age of 73. He was battling stomach cancer.
Snuka made his pro wrestling debut all the way back in 1969 while living in Hawaii. Then "Superfly" rose to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s through multiple NWA territories. His nickname wasn't just a nickname, as his high-flying top-rope finisher "splash" was something that had never been seen before. It became so popular, many territories lifted their "top rope ban" that prevented stars from climbing the turnbuckles.
He started in the pacific northwest, but eventually worked his way into the massive Texas pro wrestling scene by the mid 70s. He held the NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship in 1977, and also held the Texas Tag Team Championship as well. Snuka once held the NWA's Tri-State Championship which covered Oklahoma, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
By this point, Snuka was becoming a legend. He was wrestling in all parts of the country, for various territories, and even fighting massive matches in Japan. In 1982, Pro Wrestling Insider had named his match with Bob Backlund the Match of the Year, and in 1983 Snuka was named PWI's Most Popular Wrestler.
By this point, Snuka had joined the WWF (would become the WWE) and was becoming a household name. Snuka's likeness would go onto to appear as action figures, on lunchboxes, bed sheets, shirts, water bottles, and so much more.
Recently, Snuka has been facing a mass of scrutiny for murder charges that were brought against him in a case that dated back to the 1980s. During this period, the WWE had removed Snuka from all merch and publications, including the Hall of Fame listings. However, just a few weeks ago, Snuka had the charges against him dropped. Its unclear if the WWE will move quickly to reinstate Snuka now that he has passed.
For me, knowing that charges were dropped, and looking at his contributions the pro wrestling, he's still a Hall of Famer. Imagine where the WWE would be if there was still a "top rope ban"...