Name: Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
Year Inducted: 2012
Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka
the most important thing is my wrestling. I love it. I enjoy it. I love to
meet the people, especially when I travel around the world. The most
important part of my wrestling career is that I love the business of it. I
love it,” Jimmy Snuka once
love was reciprocated by fans around the world. Few stars of the 1980s were
as iconic as Snuka,
who along with Hulk Hogan was considered one of two top babyfaces in
the WWF at the height of its national expansion.
moves and superfly splash
from the top turnbuckle every night in the 1970s and 1980s were a forerunner
of the high-flying style that took over in the 1990s. “Well, I guess I
created it all for them, brutha,
you know and I love it,” Snuka said.
“I love it because I guess I’m a role model, you know, and everyone wants to
6’0”, 250-pound Snuka was
born James Reiher (since
legally changed to Snuka)
on May 18, 1943 on the island of Fiji in the South Pacific. His family
migrated first to the Marshall Islands, then to Hawaii when he was 11 years
old. Attending school for the first time, he struggled in his new home,
entertaining tourists at the Polynesian Cultural Centre with his fire and
knife dances and falling into the bodybuilding culture. While training for
competitions, such as Mr. Hawaiian Island and Mr. Waikiki, and playing
rugby, he met a lot of the wrestlers in Dean Higuchi’s gym, known at various
times as Dean’s Gym, the Power House and the Health Studio of Hawaii.
first territory was the Pacific Northwest, where the raw rookie did feats of
strength, Fijian dances, and tricks such as opening pop bottles with his
teeth or arm wrestling over a burning candle to downplay his lack of
training. Soon he was traveling from territory to territory, learning how to
captivate (or enrage) a crowd like few others ever have.
The Snuka-Roddy Piper
feud started with an unforgettable coconut to Snuka’s head
during a Piper’s Pit segment. This segment was a large part of the
underlying excitement for the main event of the firstWrestleMania,
where Superfly was
in the corner for Hulk Hogan and Mr. T as they battled Piper and PaulOrndorff,
who had Bob Orton in their corner.
out of the WWF/WWE throughout the decades, Snuka carved
such a legacy that he was brought back, at age 64, to team with Ricky
Steamboat and Piper against Chris Jericho in a legends match at WrestleMania25.
Two of his own children took to the ring as well, with his son, Sim,
working in the WWE as Deuce, and his daughter as WWE Diva Tamina.
- Greg Oliver