Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka Charged With Third-Degree Murder
This year has not been a good one for WWE legends, or fans of pro wrestling in the 80s.
We saw the passing of two incredible WWE Hall of Famers, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, within months of each other. Of course, there was the racial slurs/sex tape controversy that Hulk Hogan is still reeling from currently. Then yesterday, news broke that Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter for the 1983 death of Nancy Argentino in eastern Pennsylvania. After he was arrested, his bail was set at $100,000.
So, this is undoubtedly a mind-blowing situation for Snuka, his family, and wrestling fans around the world. As some are aware, the seventy-two year old Snuka (just weeks ago) announced that he was battling stomach cancer; which came off the cusp of Piper’s death. Only weeks later, he will now be fighting a different battle in the courtroom.
According to MCall.com, approximately three decades ago on May 10, 1983, Snuka returned to his Whitehall Township motel room to find his then girlfriend, Nancy Argentino (aged 23) oozing yellow fluid from her nose and mouth; and gasping for air. Snuka had apparently just returned from a WWF television taping which took place at Allentown Fairgrounds – and while he was married at the time – he frantically called the front desk of the hotel to get some help for his girlfriend. While Argentino was rushed to the nearby Lehigh Valley Hospital, she was pronounced dead the following day due to brain trauma. Moreover, the injuries were a result of a moving head (hers that is) being hit (over and over again) against a stationary object. Argentino also had over two dozen cuts and bruises on her body, which could have been seen as a ‘mate crime’. While records indicate that Snuka and Argentino were the only two in his hotel room, Snuka has maintained his innocence over the years.
It’s incredible to think that it has taken so many years to build resolution around this case, but I am a firm believer that the truth always comes out. Now it is important for me (and everyone reading) to remember that while Snuka has been charged with this crime, he has not yet been convicted. Still, there has always been questions around this case, which may have led to yesterday’s arrest. First and foremost, Superfly was charged with assault on Argentino (separate incident) just four months prior to her death. Secondly, Snuka himself gave conflicting statements, and differing stories around what had happened the night of her death to police. Oddly enough, the case went cold after a follow-up statement with Snuka, where Vince McMahon was in attendance, on June 1st of 1983. While the Argentino family won a $500,000 in a wrongful death case in 1985 against Snuka; they did not receive any money, as he had claimed at the time that he was broke and could not afford a defense.
According to MCall.com, while Snuka was clearly distraught over Nancy’s death and attended her viewing, he did attend her funeral. He did however write the following in his autobiography: “Many terrible things have been written about me hurting Nancy and being responsible for her death, but they are not true,” he wrote in his autobiography. “This has been very hard on me and very hard on my family. To this day, I get nasty notes and threats. It hurts. I never hit Nancy or threatened her.”
How will this affect Snuka in the long run? Should he be convicted, I imagine that the WWE will sever all ties with him, and we will see another Chris Benoit situation when it comes to WWE history and footage. It may also seem like grounds to remove him from the WWE Hall of Fame. However, this situation is far different from Hulk Hogan’s on so many different levels. First off, we are talking about justice prevailing over a young life that was lost many years ago – and while Hogan said some incredibly offensive words, you simply cannot compare apples to oranges. Also, Hogan had a current contract with the WWE, with his hands in many pots; and Snuka has only really made select appearances for the company. Also, should Snuka be convicted, this would essentially mean he was invovled in a murder that he has covered up for over thirty years; prolonging pain and suffering to Nancy’s family and friends. As most families of victims, they need closure, and if Snuka was involved in her death, not only did he take away her future with them, but he has also taken away any sense of closure for them to move on with their lives.
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Will this affect Tamina’s career with the WWE? While she may not currently have a prominent position within the division, but I hope this does not affect her in any way, shape or form. At the age of 37, her career as a diva is nearing to an end, in fact most women wrestlers generally leave the business by their mid-thirties. However, she should not be crucified for something her father did. Who is to know how she is feeling about all this, as news trickles in. Should her father be convicted, she may not even stand as an ally next to him. Murder, and then not stepping up to the admitting it over thirty years later? It seems like such a mess, it’s unclear how Snuka’s family will feel.
At the end of the day, no matter how this case unfolds, I hope for resolution around this issue. Not only for justice to prevail, but for justice to be served for Nancy, and her family who has had to suffer with the notion that someone has literally gotten away with murder all these years. If there is a silver lining to all this, is that once and for all, the truth may eventually come out when it comes to the 32 year-old Nancy Argentino case; for Sunka, for Argentino, and her family and friends.