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Superfly 1981


By Fred Wallace

The Passing of Jimmy Snuka



Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".

The Great Paul Hill informed us last week that professional wrestler Jimmy " Superfly " Snuka had passed away.

Almost immediately I flashed back to the Spring of 1981 when a Ryerson wrestling fanatic by the name of Robert Cait convinced about 6 of us to head over to Maple Leaf Gardens on a Sunday night to take in one of Frank Tunney's promotions.

The Main Event that night was " Superfly " Snuka against Angelo Mosca......

On the undercard, the semifinal if you will, was Hulk Hogan against Andre the Giant.

Truthfully, the night was great fun, great entertainment and looking back, it was an early lesson in the power and genius of branding and marketing.

On that night, Angelo Mosca was no longer the villain, no longer " King Kong ", no longer the guy who laid the cheapshot on Willie Fleming in the CFL.

Instead, Mosca was the good guy, the Canadian on home turf against the dastardly and sneaky Snuka who I first remembered seeing as a good guy or " baby face ".

Similarly, Hogan and Andre performed in reversed roles from what would follow.

Keep in mind this was more than a half decade before their epic encounter in 1987 at Wrestlemania, but on this night at Maple Leaf Gardens, Hogan was the heel while Andre was the crowd favorite, the friendly giant.

Jimmy Snuka passed away in January of 2016 from a terminal illness he could not defeat.

Still, the memory of that night in 1981 at Maple Leaf Gardens, and probably many more nights through the years around the globe, are vibrant testaments to how strong a personna " Superfly " was.

I'm Fred Wallace

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