The Chair Incident

I’ve written about this violent assault before: an incident that I watched on TV when I was a horny teen. Piper wrestles his nemesis Jimi Snuka and attacks the fan-favorite after the bout, driving a steel chair repeatedly into his upper vertebrae. It’s always been one of those brutal-yet-arousing scenes that sticks in my brain, playing out again and again in my fantasies, causing me to still take notice of any Chair-to-the-Neck gimmick whenever I see it.

To my delight, one of the YouTube channels that I follow recently posted a video of this infamous match and a few other bouts from the same card! It’s a pleasure to finally revisit this classic scene in its entirety. (I then also found another recording of the same match on Daily Motion which I hadn’t realized was posted there 8 years ago.)

The crowd is in love with Jimi Snuka with his snug Tarzan trunks and his “I Love You” hand gestures. They scream their heads off while Snuka dominates dickhead Roddy Piper at the beginning of the match.

This bout took place at Madison Square Garden in August 1984 — just months after we saw Piper smash a coconut in Snuka’s face and whip him with a belt during that famous segment of Piper’s Pit. You can easily find a recording of that incident — it’s everywhere online because it was so outrageous and deliciously humiliating.

For me, the fun begins when Piper assumes control by poking his finger in Snuka’s eyes Three Stooges style. To his credit, Snuka sells his blindness for a several minutes, allowing Piper to torture him as he stumbles around wondering “who turned out the lights?” like a swole and shirtless Mr. Magoo.

Gorgeous hair-pulling domination!

There is just something erotic about the way Piper sadistically bullied poor Snuka, cheating to harm this beloved icon, defeating the Hero again and again to the fans’ collective dismay. That stuff gives me a boner, I don’t know why. It certainly helps that both wrestlers have great bodies and look hot in their tight trunks.

So I looked up the Piper vs Snuka matches in one of those wrestling history databases to check out their Win/Loss records during the summer of ’84 when they were locked in this heated feud. Following the Coconut Incident (which was taped in March but aired in June 1984), Piper won 11 matches, Snuka won only 6, and they tied once.

Clearly Piper was shown to dominate the Fan Favorite, to out-smart and punish the Hero on twice as many occasions which is such a turn-on. Behind the scenes, we now know Snuka was facing personal demons and his career was on the down-slope, but I prefer to think that Piper just enjoyed abusing the Good Guy and got away with it because he’s a studly Bad Ass. Here is the Win-Loss list in reverse chronological order, with links to the recordings I’ve been able to locate:

DateLocationWinner
8/30/84Hartford, ConnecticutPiper
8/25/84MSG, NYC, New YorkPiper by count-out
(chair incident)
8/20/84Buffalo, New YorkPiper by DQ
8/17/84Pittsburg, PAPiper by count-out
8/11/84Los Angeles, CASnuka by DQ
8/10/84Detroit, MichiganPiper
8/4/84Boston, MAPiper
8/1/84Utica, New YorkPiper by count-out
7/29/84Hartford, ConnecticutPiper
7/28/84Landover, MarylandPiper by count-out
7/26/84Dayton, OhioSnuka by DQ
7/20/84St. Louis, MissouriSnuka (Fijian
Strap Match)
7/15/84E. Rutherford, NJPiper by count-out
7/14/84Boston, Mass.Piper
7/11/84Rochester, New YorkDouble DQ
7/7/84Philadelphia, PASnuka by DQ
7/5/84Hazleton, PASnuka by count-out
June 84Coconut incidentaired nationwide
5/25/84St. Louis, MissouriSnuka by count-out
May 84Coconut incidentaired in St. Louis
3/28/84Allentown, PAPiper’s Pit
Coconut incident

Check out Piper’s excellent selling of this Sleeper Hold, reaching his arms out to grasp thin air, gradually sinking to his knees with a goony expression on his face, even convulsing uncontrollably as he nearly goes under. It’s great work!

Piper reaches the ropes and slips out of the ring to break the Sleeper. Snuka goes out after him.

Piper deserves blood on his face after busting a nut on Snuka’s face!

Snuka attempts a high-risk leap off the ropes, but Piper out-smarts him (again) by foisting him onto the top rope where he falls awkwardly to the floor. The Superfly may be hurt, wrestling fans!

And this is where the torture begins. 🙂

Piper’s first Chair Shot to Snuka’s neck is filmed from afar (with a cop watching idly as Piper illegally assaults his victim.) Even though the attack is difficult to see, it still instantly converted me into a Chair Shot Fetishist for the rest of my life.

Snuka is just so helpless and vulnerable — shirtless, shoeless, and motionless on the floor. He’s like a jobber version of Tarzan after losing a fight with an ape.

It still turns me on nearly 40 years later, seeing Piper repeatedly jamming that chair into Snuka’s neck. It’s also verbally stimulating to hear the crowd screaming in outrage over their Hero’s destruction as the commentators (Gorilla Monsoon and Lord Alfred Hayes), do a great job describing this sadistic attack:

Gorilla: Oh LOOK at THAT! Piper RAMMING the back of the chair into the already-injured NECK of the Superfly. That’s RIDICULOUS!

Lord Alfred: Come on — stop him! Get HOLD of him, referee! STOP HIM! STOP HIM!

Gorilla: Look at THIS! He rammed once more, rammed that STEEL CHAIR right into the back of the neck of the Superfly!

Lord Alfred: Superfly can not move. He is ABSOLUTELY OUT!

Gorilla: He might have BROKE his NECK!

In my recollection of this match, I actually thought we were provided a better view of the Chair Shots, but now I see that the camera never really caught a good shot of the chair striking Snuka’s neck.

Maybe this was intentional so we couldn’t judge how fake it appeared. Maybe what made this scene so brutal and sadistic in my memory is the very fact that I never clearly saw the violence, so my brain reconstructed it to be more vicious and intense than it really was (like a well-made slasher film that is all the more horrifying by restricting your view of the monster. Your trusty brain fills in the blanks.)

Gorilla Monsoon then encourages us to fantasize even more about the degree of punishment by increasing the number of Chair Shots dished out by Piper:

Wow, can you believe he RAMMED the back of that steel chair AT LEAST FOUR TO FIVE times into the back of the neck of the Superfly, who was ALREADY injured?!

Actually there were only three Chair Shots, but as I reflected on the match later, while alone in bed, I’m sure I too added several more blows to Snuka’s neck — and maybe a Pile Driver on the floor too! I’m such a sadistic freak!

They juxtapose images of Piper striding smugly through the rioting crowd with images of Snuka helpless and broken on a stretcher. It’s an intense scene because, in those days, it was all made to seem very real. It definitely marked me and determined the style of unfair and sadistic wrestling action that I still favor to this day.

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