Mark for War: Leap From Grace
This week, Jimmy“Superfly” Snuka was charged in the 1983 death of his then-girlfriend, Nancy Argentino.
Snuka is being charged with Third Degree Murder and Involuntary Manslaughter. I remember hearing about this story some time ago (the late 90s). It was a cold case up until about two years ago, when it was reopened. Snuka actually wrote about this incident in his autobiography in detail. Snuka reiterated that he had nothing to do with Nancy’s death, and has experienced major personal trauma from accusations that he was.
According to the story, Snuka came back to his hotel room to find his girlfriend unconscious. Medics were called. Snuka gave a statement that, in hindsight, had a lot of holes in it. He told several people that he had “pushed” her earlier that day. He told others that she had slipped and fell and hit her head earlier that day. Long story short, it is likely assumed at this point that someone beat her to the point of unconsciousness, and it was more than likely Snuka. He supposedly left her in the hotel room and came back hours later to find her unconscious and near death. Medics got to her too late, and she passed soon after.
What works against Snuka’s innocence plea is the fact that he told several people that day that they had some time of psychical altercation, however big or small. Add to that the fact that Snuka was a known steroid and cocaine user at the time (also addressed in his book), and it’s completely feasible that Snuka is the guilty party in this incident.
If I were a betting man, I’d say Snuka was involved in this. If the evidence wasn’t extremely compelling against Snuka, the case wouldn’t have been reopened, nor would Snuka have been arrested and charged. I’m sure he didn’t mean to kill his girlfriend, but it was the bludgeoning that led to her untimely death.
Years ago, I knew a guy who had a brother. His brother was dating a woman who, unknown to him, had another boyfriend on the side. The boyfriend turned out to be a 65-year-old man. One day, when the two were on a stroll, the 65-year-old man popped in on them on their date. A scuffle between the two men ensued. The dude punched the 65-year-old man, who fell to the ground and hit his head on the sidewalk. Since he was 65 years old, he died. The puncher was charged with Third Degree Murder and Involuntary Manslaughter. The manslaughter charge was the only thing that stuck. He did prison time.
Ultimately, how will this horrific incident affect Snuka’s legacy?
Hall of Fame
Jimmy Snuka will probably be the first man in the Hall of Fame to lose his Hall status post-induction. The WWE Hall of Fame really doesn’t exist in a tangible sense, unlike the MLB Hall of Fame, for example. It really only exists on paper. But the WWE may be forced to part ways with Snuka in an official announcement. If the WWE doesn’t officially part ways with Snuka in an announcement, they are likely to receive backlash from someone in some shape or form. In the overly politically correct/paranoid society we’re currently living in, WWE can’t take the risk of not addressing the elephant in the room.
There may be a horribly sad fallout set to occur from this. Tamina Snuka, the daughter of Jimmy Snuka, is currently on the WWE roster. Two things can happen; either WWE parts ways with Tamina, or the WWE takes a high road stance and separates Tamina from her father’s checkered past. The old “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” saying really doesn’t apply in this day in age. If there’s one good thing that’s come from a very defiant generation of kids, it’s the ability of kids to recognize their parents’ bullshit and say “fuck that.” The worst thing Tamina can do is defend her father in any way shape or form when an inevitable meeting with WWE management happens, or social media/reality show interaction occurs.
In all actuality, Jimmy Snuka will probably die before any type of trial concludes for this. He’s suffering from stomach cancer. There’s a part of me that wishes Snuka would have died before this came to light. But as a human being, assuming he’s guilty, I’m glad this has come to light before he died. This is yet another dark day for the 80s wrestling movement. Once again, it shows how that movement was basically the Wild West, where nothing was taboo. Take solace in the fact that this era is dying off every day. The new crop of superstars seem to be levelheaded, upstanding citizens. Volatile personalities are not embraced in wrestling anymore. They are seen as liabilities rather than beneficial for the company. For example, Jake Roberts once upon a time was given a job because of his volatility. The end result was WWE essentially coddling a real life monster with success. Jake Roberts is lucky to have escaped with his life all things considered. Now take an equally volatile character, Bray Wyatt. From everything I hear, there isn’t a more levelheaded person on the roster than Wyatt. He’s a loyal family man with five kids. Yet his character is off the wall. It seems like the 80s wrestling culture lived their lives as close to their characters as possible in order to justify their characters’ existence. These days, that’s not the case.
By the way, if you’re reading this and your name is Nancy, don’t date a pro wrestler.
Match of the Week: Jimmy Snuka vs. Don Moraco, Madison Square Garden, 10.17.1983
The Mick Foley “I want to be a pro wrestler” match.
I always imagine, almost like a movie, Mick Foley driving up from college on a cold fall night to attend this match. I love this match, and sadly, I can’t really bring myself to watch it given the situation. This was a great feud, are for sure the apex of Snuka’s career. Timeline-wise, this was nine months before the Allentown incident. It’s so sad that Snuka’s legacy will likely be tarnish for many of his fans, including myself. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t really watched a lot of Chris Benoit matches in the past decade. Just a bummer.