WWF All American Wrestling – September 4th, 1983
By Dave Newman on 30th April 2023
Back to the genesis of the show this week, with a slightly different format at this point in the show’s history, a focus on Jimmy Snuka. This is quite ironic, as the Superfly’s ramblings in 1990 to the people out there in TV wonderland was the worst part of last week’s episode, but what was he like when he was effectively the top star in the promotion? Let’s see.
Hosted by Vince McMahon, pre-moustache. Why he’s holding a handheld microphone when he’s in a studio and a lapel mic would suffice I don’t know.
Jimmy Snuka vs. Jeff Craney
This is Snuka’s debut as a heel, managed, of course, by Lou Albano, although Vince sews in the idea that Albano already had him tied up in a less than fair contract. The hair is wild and there’s a sleazy moustache at this point. Jimmy promptly finishes off with the Superfly splash, which is just amazing at this point, with Snuka bouncing off the mat on impact. Craney is taken out on a stretcher to sell it. You’ll actually see George Zahorian walk behind the ring as Craney leaves.
Jimmy Snuka vs. Bob Backlund
From MSG, with the crowd noise blowing out the mics as Backlund runs Snuka into every side of the cage. Snuka’s bleeding and selling really well that he’s out of it, but you can imagine how much more that would get over when he was a face. Snuka goes low, but Backlund is having none of it and just launches himself for the door to escape. Snuka blocks him and get a slam and a stiff knee off the second rope. Cool image of Snuka now smirking through the crimson mask. Suplex sets up the climb to the top… of the cage, for the first time. Backlund sits up with Snuka’s back turned to him and moves when Snuka launches himself off the top, getting out of the cage with him down. Awesome match and moment.
Back to Vince, who blames the loss on the Captain’s poor strategy, given that Snuka had ample opportunity to escape.
Rogers’ Corner, with Buddy Rogers having smelt the rat and investigated the validity of Snuka’s contract with Albano. Lou brilliantly squirms as Buddy reveals… THERE IS NO CONTRACT AND NO MONEY! Lou throws a tantrum and calls Roger “Liar, liar!” and walks off. Rogers and Snuka share an emotional moment, with Rogers going into overtime to do the talking to get the angle over, even feeding Snuka his lines from the corner of his mouth, culminating in Jimmy asking BUDDY to be his manager. Only thing that spoils it for me is that Rogers should’ve said yes to give everyone what they wanted, but it’s one of the later classic moments of the pre-Hogan era.
Jimmy Snuka vs. Ray Stevens
This immediately follows the interview segment, as Stevens had challenged Snuka a week prior to a match. Rogers had done an awesome job on that one too, crafting a story of Ray having learned the piledriver from his unnamed mentor and then using it on him to break his neck and end his career, hence the Crippler. Albano comes out before it can get going and picks a fight with Jimmy, who decks him. Stevens runs in from behind with Freddie Blassie’s cane and they double up to open Jimmy’s forehead up. To the outside, where Ray gets a pair of piledrivers, with Jimmy in full leg quivering mode to seem like he’s going through immediate nerve damage. Also helps that a heckler threw a beaker of Coke at Stevens, which spilled over the floor and made it look like Snuka had bled out.
Jimmy Snuka vs. Ray Stevens
The blow-off from MSG, with Snuka getting the early advantage with punches and a fistdrop. Stevens gets a low blow to down Jimmy and rakes the face and chokes away. The Crippler was the perfect foil for Jimmy, being this super-worker heel with blonde hair and kinda pudgy, to contrast how jacked Superfly was. Jimmy backdrops out of a piledriver attempt, so Ray hits him low a second time. He goes up for bombs away, but Jimmy catches him and slams him off. Stevens bump in the corner, which would later become the Flair flip or Shawn Michaels bump. He goes to the outside of that, leading to a dissatisfying count out victory.
Back to Vince, who recaps Don Muraco’s notorious appearance on Rogers’ Corner, ranting and raving about getting no respect and then taking offence to Jimmy walking out for his match while he’s talking and drawing attention away from him. We join it with Don on the apron, spitting at him, missing out the awesome “He’s got the NERVE!” line. Snuka calmly brushes the spit off, removes his headband, and backs up for an amazing dive over the ropes onto the Magnificent One. He then rips Muraco’s clothes off until jobbers run out to restrain Snuka, allowing him to get a cheap shot with the hanging mic to draw Snuka’s blood.
Jimmy Snuka vs. Don Muraco
From the Spectrum, with Rogers finally visible as Snuka’s manager, and Gary Cappetta as the ring announcer. The opponents just glare at one another to start, with Muraco repeatedly throwing the belt at Snuka until Jimmy returns the spit shot and opens up on him. They do the double leapfrog, back and forth, routine to culminate in a chop for two, with Snuka then grounding Don with a side headlock. I was about to comment on how husky the referee is, but it’s Swede Hanson on guest ref duties. This goes on for way too long until Don throws a mule kick and gets Snuka right in the balls. Don ups it to a sleeperhold, but Jimmy won’t go down from that, and just kicks back in Muraco’s balls to break it. Snuka mounts the incredibly loose ropes and flies off with a headbutt, busting Don open. It’s immediately dripping like mad. Don shoots over the top turnbuckle into the post, then gets tossed to the floor. Snuka follows him out with a shot, then back in connects with a headbutt, with Don on shaky legs street. Down he goes, to set up the splash, but Muraco pulls Hanson in the way to take the brunt, then goes low and steals Sweder’s belt to whip him. Snuka makes his own comeback and runs Muraco off.
Back again to Vince, who suggests that we’ve not seen the last of Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco. Maybe in a cage…
We end the show with Jimmy in the studio, who reflects on his ill-fated relationship with Lou Albano, in typical rambling style.
Next week: A focus on Andre the Giant, including Andre and Jimmy against the Wild Samoans.
The red, the white, and the blue: Worst bit was either Jimmy’s early moustache or the dodgy finish to the proper Stevens match. Best bit was Rogers’ Corner with the big turn and the general heat for most of the matches and segments. The strangest bit, as always, is trying to decipher Jimmy’s jottings on life and wrestling, but as a best of show for the Superfly at the time it worked tremendously well.
Back into the nineties next week.