Jimmy Snuka’s prime as a wrestler was a few years before my time; my earliest memories of seeing the Superfly in action was during his early 90s WWF run where he was a solid mid-card act. As I got older and was able to acquire tapes and eventually the Internet, I was able to see some of Snuka’s older stuff from the late 70s to early/mid 80s and was able to appreciate what he meant for the business and why he was deserving of a spot in the WWF/E Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996, the final class until 2004. Naturally, I jumped at the chance to get a copy of Snuka’s autobiography.
I don’t know why really. I reviewed Legends of Pro Wrestling last year and that book had a forward written by Jimmy Snuka, which I called the worst part of the book. In hindsight, I guess I should have known what to expect from Snuka.
The book contains a forward written by Rowdy Roddy Piper, an introduction written by Mick Foley (which if you’re a wrestler and can get Mick Foley to do something with your book, do it because he’s responsible for the best wrestling books), and an afterword written by Carole Snuka.
The writing isn’t bad, but Snuka and Chattman were apparently going for a “as if it was spoken” approach. That can be good; Willie Nelson’s book is a great example, but not so much here. If you can get pass the overuse of the “word” “brudda” then you’ll be fine. But I’m not going to lie, I groaned every time I got to a part that read “brudda.” Admittedly, I’d get tired of hearing it in person (it’s even worse than Hogan calling everyone “brother”), but reading it is just too much.
Thankfully, the actual content makes up for any irritating wording or sentence structure. Snuka is quite candid about his career and life, opening up about drug use and yes even about Nancy Argentino (Snuka’s on the road east coast girlfriend). Many wrestling fans will have heard the story of Nancy Argentino’s death, and likely that Snuka “murdered” her or at least accidentally caused the skull fracture that led to her death. Snuka has always maintained innocence, and does so in this book by recounting the event and saying they had been drinking while on the way to a show, Snuka stopped so he could pee, and when she got back in she told him she slipped crossing a stream and hit her head on a rock.
I’m of the belief that people are, and should be, innocent until proven guilty. Snuka was never proved guilty of anything, so I can take him at his word and leave it at that. Others don’t, but whatever. Only two people really know the truth, and one of them can’t talk about it. Nevertheless, I respect the fact that Snuka took the time to talk openly about the incident and the death of Nancy. Yes, it would have been suspicious had he not mentioned it or simply glossed over it, but he handled it well. He also handled the drug discussions well.
The book also contains comments from friends and family (mostly known wrestlers or wrestling personalities) throughout that helps give additional perspective. The Appendix contains two cool little features, the Snuka timeline and the Snuka family tree, plus a Snuka dictionary.
As a book, the Jimmy Snuka Story isn’t as good of a read as the autobiographies of Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, and Bret Hart, but it is still an entertaining read. It doesn’t have the appeal to non-wrestling fans that a Foley or Jericho book would have, but it is a book that any wrestling fan who likes to read should have in the collection.
Superfly: The Jimmy Snuka Story gets a three out of five: SATISFYING.
* A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.