WWE legend and Hall of Famer Jimmy Snuka has died at the age of 73. He had been battling both dementia and stomach cancer for months.
Snuka, 73, was cleared Jan. 3 for the 1983 murder of Nancy Argentino, an old girlfriend of his. It wasn’t until The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pa. brought up questions about whether Snuka told the truth in the case that the veteran wrestler faced any charges in the matter.
After a lot of discussion and controversy, the judge deemed Snuka mentally unfit to stand trial.
World Wrestling Entertainment released a statement following his passing:
“Snuka is regarded by many as the pioneer of high-flying offense because of his Superfly Splash from the top turnbuckle. His dive off the top of the steel cage onto Don Muraco at Madison Square Garden as hundreds of flash bulbs went off will forever live as one of the most memorable moments in WWE history.”
Many wrestlers, such as Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, and Bubba Ray Dudley, all found ways to attend the famous match mentioned above. Foley can be seen in one of the front rows of the event.
He made his debut with the then-WWF in 1982. Two years later, Snuka had one of the most memorable feuds in WWE history… with the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. In one of the most famous segments of Piper’s Pit, Piper hit Snuka on the back of the head with a coconut. The attack led to a series of grudge matches between the two that were played out over venues across the US throughout the summer of 1984. In late 1984, Snuka entered a rehabilitation facility, ending the feud between the two.
On March 24, 1991, Snuka was defeated by The Undertaker at WrestleMania VII, which began The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania. It remains to this day The Undertaker’s shortest match at Wrestlemania. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996, though over the past year, WWE has tried to hide this fact due to Snuka’s personal controversies, even removing the page from their official website.
He entered semi-retirement in 1996. He even competed alongside Piper and Ricky Steamboat against Chris Jericho at the 25th anniversary of Wrestlemania. It wasn’t until his mental and physical health really took its toll that he officially retired in 2015.