Pro Wrestler's Autobiographies Due Out in Fall 2012
Tales of good, bad and ugly
For the uninitiated, autobiographies of professional wrestlers have become quite the successful cottage industry.
The stories are somewhat formulaic in that the wrestlers are usually people with a fair to high degree of athletic ability as well as having a certain “look,” in addition to a desire to overcome a variety of obstacles in order to ascend to greatness. The stories are also populated with tales of life out of a suitcase, on the road, and adapting to a wide range of cultures. Controversies of personal and professional natures are also handled.
Jimmy Snuka, born James Reiher, is a native of the Fiji Islands. He was a former amateur bodybuilder who began his career in professional wrestling in the 1970.[i] He was successful in a number of wrestling territorial promotions around the United States and Canada.
With a build like a Greek god and aerial ring ability like cliff diver, which he performed in his pre-wrestling life, Snuka drew the attention of the World Wrestling Federation, (now World Wrestling Entertainment), and he went to the northeast from 1982 to 1985.[ii] His wowing of audiences with high-flying leaps off the top rope and the top of steel cages drew raves of fans everywhere. He appeared to be in the right place at the right time, with the promotion going from a regional to a national enterprise and the popularity of pro wrestling exploding with the growth of cable TV.
As the industry surged, Snuka’s life and career seemingly fell apart with allegations of drug problems and violence against women.[iii] His darkest moment came when his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, allegedly slipped, fell, and struck her head during a roadside stop in 1983. Argentino later died in a hotel room near Allentown, PA. A post-mortem showed that she died from multiple head injuries. Snuka was investigated but never charged in her death, though a civil judgment was entered against him.[iv]
While Snuka continued wrestling, his personal problems basically derailed his spot near the top of the business. His returns to the figurative big promotional spotlights were rare and brief.
In an online video spot promoting the book, Snuka, who is nearing 70, promised to hold nothing back in telling his side of his life story.
Superfly: The Jimmy Snuka Story will be available through Triumph Books.
Not all wrestlers’ life stories are bad. Some have are quite uplifting.
Take Booker T, for example.
Born Robert Booker Tio Huffman, he grew up in a family of eight children in Houston, Texas where both parents died by the time he was fourteen. At nineteen, Huffman was convicted of armed robberies of Wendy’s restaurants in the Houston area. He served nineteen months in prison.[v]
He later began his career in wrestling where he would go on to hold thirty five major wrestling championships. He would also become a TV commentator, and wrestling promoter as well as an investor in several businesses.
From Prison to Promise, Booker T’s autobiography is due in September by Medallion Media.