Few Superstars can be said to have single handedly influenced the development of sports entertainment, but Jimmy Snuka is one of them. His innovative
high flying style was the precursor to much of what fans see each week on Raw and SmackDown! from the likes of Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam and Rey
Mysterio. He was the man who popularized maneuvers from the top rope, and was at one time the most popular competitor in the WWE.
He took to referring to himself as "Superfly", in reference to his incredible aerial style of wrestling. Most notable of all was the leap off the top
turnbuckle which he had perfected. Now a commonplace maneuver, back then it was truly unique, and led to countless wins for Snuka.
In 1982, he made his debut in the WWE under the management of Capt. Lou Albano. Instantly rocketing to the top of contention, he challenged WWE World
Champion Bob Backlund in three consecutive main events at Madison Square Garden, culminating in a historic steel cage match on June 28, 1982, in which
he leapt from the top of the 15 foot cage, only to miss his opponent and consequently lose the match.
Later in the year, the course of Snuka's WWE career was altered when he discovered, thanks to the legendary Buddy Rogers (then working as a WWE
announcer) that his manager Albano was ripping him off. Snuka fired Albano and hired Rogers as his new representation, winning the fans over in the
process. He was the target of a bloody attack by Albano and his new charge Ray Stevens, which led to one of the early 80s most violent rivalries.
The following year, Snuka pursued Don Muraco's Intercontinental Championship. Their war was highlighted by another MSG steel cage match. This time,
Snuka hit with his leap off the top of the cage, but it was unfortunately after he had already lost the match. By this time, Snuka was hands down the
most popular Superstar in the WWE.
Next came Rowdy Roddy Piper, who drew the ire of the Superfly by smashing a coconut on his head during a segment of Piper's Pit in January 1984. After
settling up with the Rowdy Scot, Snuka made an appearance at the first WrestleMania, where he was the corner man for Hulk Hogan & Mr. T in the main
Not long after, Snuka disappeared from the WWE scene, just as the company was going national. He missed out on much of the glory days of the 80s, but
made a return to action in 1989 at WrestleMania V. He was no longer the Superfly of old, but still enjoyed a few more years in the spotlight,
including a match with the rookie Undertaker in 1991 at WrestleMania VII. He appeared in his final WWE match to date at the 1996 Survivor Series,
where he returned to the Garden to take to the air once again.
WWE Hall of fame