Week of January 23, 2017
As most of you know, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka passed away recently. As most of you also know, Snuka was recently charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. A grand jury had found that there was enough evidence to substantiate bringing those charges against him last September. However, a few weeks ago the judge in his trial ruled that Snuka was “mentally incompetent to stand trial” and ended the trial.
Because the trial was ended just prior to his death, this has caused a massive online debate about whether or not Snuka was actually guilty of anything, in addition to whether or not he should still be included in the WWE Hall of Fame. I’m going to do my best to address this situation here and be as unbiased as I possibly can.
So that’s the backstory. I’m not saying he is innocent or guilty… that’s not for me to decide. The above facts are just those: facts on how and why Jimmy Snuka went to trial in the first place. While everybody can have an opinion on whether or not he was guilty, he is (and will always be) presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
So yes, legally he is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. Public opinion, though, differs tremendously. When WWE placed an “In Memoriam” graphic at the beginning of RAW on January 16th, fans were expecting it and many found it to be an appropriate move for the company to make. Much like previous performers who had fallen “out of favour” with the public eye (ex: former adult film star Joanie “Chyna” Laurer), it was a short, classy move by WWE to dedicate the show to a former WWE superstar who had passed away.
What caused the uproar itself was the video package that was played later during the program.