JIMMY “SUPERFLY” SNUKA
Jimmy Snuka is one of those great wrestlers who was just a little bit before my time. I have very little memory of ever actually seeing him wrestle. He left the WWF in 1985 which is right around the time my brother Doug and I were getting into wrestling. I remember him faintly from the Hulk Hogan animated series but most of my memories of him stem from his late 80s /early 90s return to the WWF (around the time I was losing interest). The first Snuka action figure was released by LJN in 1984 as part of their first wave of solid rubber WWF Wrestling Superstar figures. He was released alongside wrestlers who were still huge at the time like Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper. The first wrestling figure that either of us ever got was Doug’s Junkyard Dog from that first wave of figures. After that we were hooked and eventually owned them all. There were a few wrestling figures that I owned from those early days whom I knew even less about than Jimmy Snuka. I eventually learned who Bruno Sammarino was though I never saw him wrestle and I still have no idea who Ted Arcidi was but his action figure saw just as much action as my favorite figures did.
When ever we played wrestling, Doug and I would dump our entire collections into piles behind our backs. We would reach behind us grabbing two random figures at a time. These two figures would then square off in the ring and this was how we set up our wrestling cards each night. This format meant every toy was used every time-no favoritism here. Jimmy Snuka was never a major contender in our wrestling federation but he did okay. His success was based more on the fact that he was a cool figure as opposed to being a a wrestler that I cared about in the real world. I really liked those giant rubber wrestling toys because they were so different from all of my other figures. Even the bad ones were pretty cool.
The same cannot be said of the wrestling toys released by Hasbro when they took over the WWF toy license in 1990. These things, for the most part, totally sucked. They were more akin to traditional action figures. They were smaller, made of harder plastic and had moving joints. I don’t think any of these changes were improvements over the rubber figures produced by LJN. My Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka Hasbro figure is a great example of how bad this toy line was. His proportions are a mess. He has broad shoulders, giant arms, a melon head and little tiny legs. For an articulated figure he has almost no movement, his legs are molded together. All of the Hasbro figures had an action feature and some worked out okay. Snuka’s action feature is a total cluster f**k. He has a large bump on his back which you press down on. When you do this is legs are pushed up into his torso and his neck stretches out like MOTU’s Mekaneck. The idea being that when you quickly released him from this compressed position he would soar across the wrestling ring to mimic the high-flying style for which he was known, thus the nickname. It doesn’t work and it looks ridiculous. These Hasbro figures probably had a lot to do with why I lost interest in wrestling actually. Why I still have this one in my collection and not my LJN version is beyond me. I’d like to compress and launch this thing into the ocean. 1 out of 10.