"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka -- (born May 18, 1943, as James William Reiher, in The Fiji Islands) is a semi-retired pro wrestler, best known for his work in the World Wrestling Federation as one of the most popular and most influential wrestlers (alongside Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant) through the 1980s, thanks in large part to his Superfly splash, which was the only top rope finisher at the time. He also performed the first plancha on WWF-TV in 1983.
Jimmy Snuka came into pro wrestling after starting in professional bodybuilding in Hawaii, but he made the natural shift through friends he made at the gym. Snuka started wrestling as Jimmy Kealoha in the South Pacific before moving to the Pacific Northwest territories where he assumed his famous ringname. Snuka worked several NWA territories before he was invited to the WWWF in 1982. Under the guidance of Capt. Lou Albano, Snuka challenged WWF World champion Bob Backlund several times, including a memorable cage match where Snuka missed his Superfly splash off the top of the cage, enabling Backlund to escape. Their matches continued until a September 1982 match at the Philadelphia Spectrum when Snuka conceded after getting pinned, shaking Backlund's hand in respect, as well as those of Arnold Skaaland and guest referee S.D. Jones.
Around the same time, "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers exposed that Albano was embezzelling Snuka's money, and Snuka hired Rogers as his manager in place of Albano. In October 1983, Snuka challenged WWF Intercontinental champion The Magnificent Muraco to a cage match inside Madison Square Garden, which he lost but after the match, he hit a Superfly splash off the top of the steel cage, a moment still replayed on WWF montage packages and one known to inspire fans in attendance like Mick Foley, Tommy Dreamer, The Sandman, and Bubba Ray Dudley, to pursue careers into the wrestling business.
In the most scandalous moments of his career, Jimmy Snuka placed an emergency phone call on May 10, 1983, after a WWF event in Allentown, Pennsylvania, because Nancy Argentino, his girlfriend at the time, was critically injured in their George Washington Motor Lodge hotel room and died from "undetermined craniocerebral injuries" at the local Sacred Heart Medical Center. While Snuka was immediately a suspect in the investigation, the case was never officially solved, so criminal charges were not pressed against him; however, Argentino's parents filed a $500,000 civil suit against Snuka, which went uncontested.
Arguably, Jimmy Snuka's most high profile feud in the WWF was against Rowdy Roddy Piper. Their tensions started when Snuka took exception to Piper's questions while the islander was a guest on The Piper's Pit, and the interview boiled down into a melee, which ended with Piper busting a coconut over the head of Snuka. Initially, their feud led to Snuka working as the cornerman for Hulk & Mr. T in the main event at WrestleMania, but the feud has since played out countless more times in the following decades, including a spot at the 2008 Royal Rumble.
Additionally, Superfly Jimmy Snuka is part of the prestigious Samoan wrestling family, which includes blood relations to The Rock, Rikishi, Wild Samoan Afa, Umaga, Rosie, and the HeadShrinkers. Since his time in the WWF spotlight, Superfly Jimmy Snuka has worked in AWA in its heyday, ECW before its heyday, and countless independent wrestling promotions, including IZW.