SUPERFLY. Penina Snuka wants to make a name for herself.
It’s just Penina Snuka’s first time in the Philippines, but she has been treated like she has been here for long.
“Everyone has been so nice and accommodating, but it’s funny because everybody thinks I’m Filipino,” she told reporters. “I’ve had a lot of people just come up to me and just start speaking in your language. It’s such a beautiful language, but I’m looking at them with wide eyes and say, ‘I’m not from here.’”
Of course, the Generika-Ayala reinforcement is not a Filipina.
She is an American of Samoan descent who played setter for the University of Arizona.
While she may not be a Filipina, Snuka still stands out – if you are familiar with her storied surname.
“My last name is Snuka and I come from a big wrestling family starting with my grandfather and then my father,” she shared. “I have an auntie and an uncle who are wrestling right now. And of course, also, my uncle is ‘The Rock.’”
Penina’s grandfather is the late Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka who was a wrestling star in the ‘80s and ‘90s before being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Her father is Sim Snuka who was a former WWE Tag Team Champion.
Current WWE superstars Roman Reigns and Tamina are her uncle and aunt, respectively. And then, there’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who is also her uncle.
Indeed, the now 22-year-old comes from a big wrestling family.
For her, however, wrestling was never an option. “(Me and my brothers and sisters), as kids, we weren’t really into wrestling. We did a lot of sports – we did basketball, my brothers did (American) football, and I just kind of got into volleyball,” she said.
She then continued, “Ever since I got into volleyball in sixth grade, I always loved it. I never wanted to do anything else but volleyball. Volleyball is my whole life.”
And so, after a stellar career as in the University of Arizona where she was hailed as Pac-12 Setter of the Year in 2016, Snuka took the opportunity to showcase her skills in a country that is only falling more and more in love with the sport. “(Ayala-Generika) was the first to offer me. I talked to my parents about it and I did a little research, I really got to know them and the Philippines,” she said.
She then continued, “I really felt this was a good place. I really felt blessed to be here.”
Don’t make the mistake of thinking, however, that she has forgotten that she’s a Snuka – granddaughter and niece to wrestling legends. “I feel really honored that I come from this family. I’m someone who’s very close to my family so leaving them was kinda hard, but knowing that I’m taking that name with me out here, hopefully, I can make a good name for them,” she expressed.
In that case, we all better get ready for another Snuka to make a “Superfly Splash.”
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