Professional Wrestler Jimmy Snuka Dead At 73

Jimmy “Superflu” Snuka, who gained fame for his high-flying moves as a professional wrestler for Vince McMahon’s WWE (previously known as the WWF), died Saturday. Snuka’s death was announced by his daughter Tamina Snuka on Instagram.

He was 73.

Snuka, whose real name is James Wiley Smith, wrestled alongside other wrestling greats like “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant.

Snuka’s wrestling career began like other wrestlers of the generation – making a name for himself in the amateur bodybuilding circuit during the 1960s. He began his career in Hawaii, before making his way to the Pacific Northwest Wrestling circuit during the early 1970s. He won his first Heavyweight Champion belt in 1973. He would spend about 10 years wrestling in National Wrestling Alliance territories, facing many WWE Hall of Famers like Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

In 1982, Snuka got his start in the McMahaon promotion as a heel, competing against a memorable rivalry with Bob Backlund. It was this competition that garnered him his name “Superfly” when he tried the “Superfly Splash” from the top of the steel catch. Backlund was able to roll away in the nick of time.

He was the WWE’s most-loved stars before the era of Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior.

He left the WWE in 1985 for competitions in Japan but came back to the Federation in 1989. He became even more known for his loss during WrestleMania VII to the Undertaker, which spawned the Dead Man’s winning streak for the competition.

Snuka left the WEE again in 1992 but briefly returned in 1993 before finally going into a semi-retirement phase where he wrestled for smaller shows but never during at the levels he wrestled during the 1970s and 1980s.

Snuka learned in 2015 that had stomach cancer. A group of wrestlers filed a class action lawsuit in 2016 that Snuka was a part of, claiming wrestlers are suffering from long-term neurological injuries and the company did not provide them with adequate care.

In 1996, Snuka was permitted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but it was removed from the page after he was brought up on murder charges for Nancy Argentino, his then-girlfriend. Those charges were dropped shortly before his death.

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Posted by on Jan 15 2017. Filed under New, Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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