On September 18th, 1989, I attend my first WWE Live Event. It was a House Show at the old Stadium Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Main Event of the show saw The Ultimate Warrior face off against Andre the Giant for the Intercontinental Championship. Other legends that were a part of the show were Shawn Michaels and Marty Janetty, Rick The Model Martel, Barry Windham, The Honky Tonk Man, and Superfly Jimmy Snuka.
I bring this up because word came out today that Jimmy Snuka has passed away at the age of 73 due to stomach cancer. His work in the ring speaks for itself. He was a legend that helped inspire the likes of Mick Foley to lace up the boots and become competitors themselves. He was also the first notch on The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania when The Undertaker defeated him at Wrestlemania 7. He also had a legendary moment with Rowdy Roddy Piper in a Piper's Pit segment involving a coconut.
The last few years of his life were complex to put it lightly. He faced trial in the 33 year old murder of his ex-girlfriend Nancy Argentino. While charges were eventually dropped in the case due to Snuka’s rapidly declining health, questions remained as to whether Snuka had involvement in Nancy’s murder and what role his status as a wrestling star had in not facing charges in her death for as long as he did. Sadly, those questions will remain unanswered.
Jimmy Snuka was a complex person. When a someone passes away, it is imperative that their lives be examined for everything they brought to the table, both for good and bad. He left behind a wife and four children, including current WWE Superstar Tamina Snuka.