Wrestling Yesterday & Today
July 15, 2006 by Dan Hoffman

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Question: What do Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and Brian Pillman have in common"

Each in their own right helped blaze a trail and build a solid foundation for the current crop of athletes that we as fans have the pleasure of observing. Both men brought something special to the sport. Both possessed the ability to skilfully bring out the best of their character in interviews and the ability to make a crowd jump to its feet in amazement at the manoeuvres they could achieve inside the squared circle.

We first turn our attention to "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka who is regarded as perhaps one of the greatest high flyers ever.. one of his most famous moments coming when he scaled the side of the cage balanced on the top and launched himself onto a prone Magnificent Muraco who was lying on the bottom of the ring. Jimmy Snuka would also have a long and bloody war with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and appear at the first ever WrestleMania in the corner of Hulk Hogan and MR T as they combined to form a tag team against Roddy Piper and "Mr Wonderful" Paul Orndorff in their corner was Cowboy Bob Orton father to current WWE superstar "The Legend Killer" Randy Orton...Many long-time wrestling fans can remember and vividly recall a "Piper's Pit" segment where Snuka was Piper's guest and as each second passed you could feel the tension build so thick you could cut it with a knife and Roddy Piper smashed a coconut against the cranium of the superfly. This is perhaps one of the most talked about rivalries in wrestling and the segment serves as a benchmark in both men's careers.

Athletes of this generation have tried similar stunts trying to emulate what they perhaps witnessed Jimmy Snuka perform when they sat and watched as small children. Perhaps the greatest modern manoeuvre that was pulled off inside the confines of the steel cage happened in 2004 when TNA's "Primetime" Elix Skipper would make wrestling history by walking the top of the steel cage in a match against America's Most Wanted and Brought Chris Harris crashing to the ring below using a hurricaranna off the top of the cage! Would this have happened if Snuka had never jumped off the top of the cage and into the history books years earlier" It can be argued that Snuka's jump made no difference in this can then again it can be argued that it made all the difference in the world... the world of pro wrestling that is.

Looking at the other half of our double header Brian Pillman a man who held many names from "Flying" to "Loose Cannon" Brian Pillman was one of the rare athletes to be able to compete with great success in two sports the first being with the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals and then of course a highly prolific wrestling career. Many former NFL players have tried to compete in the world of wrestling such as Ernie Ladd, Wahoo McDaniel, TNA's Monty Brown it's often debated amongst wrestling circles who the greatest dual sport athlete is Brian was an athlete who many say was ahead of his time and who may have made it possible because of his size and what he accomplished in his career such as holding titles in WCW, WWF, and competing in main events around the world against opponents such as Jushin Thunder Liger. He would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that size didn't matter and the smaller more agile athletes such as himself were capable of entertaining millions around the world...WCW took full advantage of Pillman's popularity with wrestling fans and placed him in the first ever match to air on the long running program Monday Nitro launching the show in direct head to head competition with the WWE's RAW who Nitro would defeat in the ratings for 84 straight weeks... Even after he left WCW and went to the WWE and became part of a heel faction known as Team Canada his career continued to climb upward knowing no boundaries and he distinguished himself as one of the top athletes of his generation. Brian truly proved that he was capable of going pound for pound and was truly one of the best in the sport.

Brian Pillman and Jimmy Snuka both helped open the book and began the story of men who can take it to that next level to entertain the fans there are those competing today who continue where Snuka and Pillman left off...

If you examine TNA's X Division you'll witness just such men as AJ Styles or Christopher Daniels and many others like Petey Williams, Chris Sabin, Jay Lethal, current X Division champion Senshi and many more...

The past is full of rich tradition where athletes entertained and amazed... shocked us and held us spellbound... did things that seemed impossible... now is the time for us fans to embrace the new generation to let the new athletes have a chance to entertain us and it begins with one sound........."Click"

by Dan Hoffman ..

Lgriffin254 wrote:
I think the Great Muta had more to make that aeriel athletic style popular than Pillman. Muta was the one that made the moonsault popular in North America, and he had so many other quick aeriel type moves before ever made an impact in WCW. I think the Muta's impact on North American wrestling is so underrated. I agree with you about Superfly Jimmy Snuka, he was doing things that were almost unheard of at the time, and are still great when you look at it today. He did a lot to revolutionize wrestling.








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