The completed and long awaited Documentary on Sweet Daddy Siki recently aired on the Documentary Channel on June 11th, 2017.
Siki is as deserving as anyone to be the subject of a serious doc looking at his life and a star career that spanned 5 decades.
Of special interest for us Toronto fans is that Siki was a
regular here from 1962 through the late 1980's.
he debuted here in 1962 and was still wrestling regularly on Dave
McKigney's shows as late as 1987 and would appear right into the 1990's
here and there.
The Toronto history is huge, he came in at a very pivotal time in
our wrestling history. Bruno, Thesz, Buddy Rogers, that whole scene,
the unrest in the NWA, the formation of the WWWF.
Siki was right in the midst of that and almost from the start was in
main events and feuding and teaming with all of the big names here,
Whipper, Bulldog, Yukon, Valentine, Hady, and the rest of the stars
I was fortunate to be at some of the filming when they shot at
MLG photographer Roger Baker's famed wrestling room.
A high point of the day was hearing Siki, in his inimitable drawl, tell
the origin story of 'Sweet Daddy.'
Jet Star was also present. He was an exciting wrestler that mostly
worked on McKigney shows around the region in the '80s (and still
today!) and he and Roger sat with Siki
in the world famous 'wrestling room', an apt spot for the three to film a
portion of the doc.
I asked my
favorite wrestling expert, super-fan, and major contributor to this site
- Roger - for his memories of the 'Irresistible One',
both as a fan and as a photographer/writer and insider.
MLWP - As a long time fan do you remember seeing Siki for the first
time, what were your thoughts, and had you seen him in action before on
TV or in other cities before he settled here
Roger - If I recall the first time that I saw Siki was very
soon after he first appeared here in Toronto.
I had never seen a black wrestler who had bleached blond hair before,
and I must say that he was certainly an originator in that regard.
Siki was able to immediately generate attention to his appearance as
well as his persona what with his skill with a mike in hand, and his
unique hair style.
MLWP - I know you took lots of photos of Siki in action, did you
ever get to interact with him back then , show him any photos, he seems
very reserved in 'real' life, was he always that way - in comparison to
his ring persona
Roger - I remember so well the first time that I had a chance
to interact with Siki, was with a friend at the time, we were on the
QEW. driving to Hamilton to take in a wrestling show at the Hamilton
We were halfway along the highway to our destination, when suddenly we
spot S.D. driving right along side of us, we waved and shouted at him,
and he waved back.
We drove along side each other for perhaps a half mile, and we told him
that our main purpose for our trip to the Forum was to see him in
he had a big grin on his face and waved goodbye as the traffic was
building behind us.
I got to know Siki very well after our first encounter on the highway,
we became very good friends I had the opportunity to spend a lot of
quality time with Mr. SDS as we traveled together to a few of his mat
and I had the chance to meet his charming wife on two occasions. My wife
and myself had them both up to our apt. way back shortly after he
arrived on the Toronto scene,
the occasion was for an interview, as well as a photo shoot.
About 8 yrs ago wrestler Jet Star and myself visited Siki at the Duke of
York tavern, he has performed at this venue for years, performing
karaoke Saturday afternoons and evenings for his legion of fans who
enjoy to listen as well as participate with Siki.
The purpose of our visit was to see S.D.S. perform, as well I had
assembled a very extensive collection of photos of Siki that I had taken
so many years earlier,
it was a great pleasure for me to be able to leave those photos with
Can remember an opportunity that just presented itself one Saturday
afternoon back around 1964-65, I was going to cover an upcoming
heavyweight fight at MLG that featured George Chuvalo in a ten round
then ranked Ernie 'The Octopus' Terrell.
It occurred in a tavern in downtown Toronto, Terrell was doing some
sparing upstairs above the tavern, there was a heavy bag, mats,
and skipping ropes along with other boxing gear, when I saw this as an
opportunity to get two well known boxing and wrestling greats together.
I phoned Siki at home and explained who was training at this gym and can
you make it over so that we could have an introduction between the two
Regi Siki was on the scene in about twenty minutes, and it proved to be a
very enjoyable experience for all of us.
MLWP - You saw all of the major stars of the 1950's 1960's and
beyond, where does Siki fit in when you look back at Toronto history
Roger - S.D.S. was a very unique wrestler in that even though
he was at the prime of his mat career, he stood out as an original ring
performer with his blond hair, magnificent capes, mike skills, and a
very powerfully built body. his shoulder muscles resembled two over
We both had many other pleasant interactions during the sixties, however
space would not allow me to recall them all at this time.
During his heyday back in the sixties S.D.S. wrestled all of the top
wrestlers that were appearing in Toronto's MLG.
He faced some very tough wrestlers, to mention a few Yukon Eric, Whipper
Watson, Bulldog Brower, Lou Thesz, and Bruno Sammartino.
Siki told me during our get together at the Duke Of York, that he once
wrestled the mighty Lou Thesz to a ninety minute draw in Texas some time
during the late fifties.
Siki had it all personality, great mat skills, outstanding physique, and
the ability to mix it with the best of them during his era.
MLWP - Any bouts that stand out for you , at MLG or in one of the smaller arenas around the area
Roger - The one bout that I saw Siki in that still remains in
clear detail in my mind took place in the town of Sutton On. during the
Sutton is very close to Lake Simcoe and cottage country, the scheduled
wrestling card was sure to draw a large crowd, being that there were so
many people in the area at this time.
The main event that promoter Tommy Nelson had on top was a tag team
match, it pitted wrestlers Ilio DiPaolo and John Paul Henning VS. Dick
BullDog Brower and Sweet Daddy Siki.
This match was to take place in Sutton Arena, it was a very warm night
and it was an older venue without air conditioning.
The match started out as expected for about two or three minutes, then
all hell broke loose, Brower and Siki got into a private personal beef, I
saw Siki nail Brower on the jaw with a very stiff punch,
Brower went bonkers and tried to tear Siki apart, the other two
wrestlers saw what was unfolding and left the ring altogether.
Meanwhile Brower was so crazed at this point that he tried to pull down
one of the arena's supporting beams to use as a weapon to use against
his own partner Siki,
when he could not accomplish this, he ran out to the back of the arena,
he reappeared a moment later brandishing a large steel wheel barrow
his intent was obvious, he wanted to badly hurt and injure his own
Siki was able to back peddle out of the enraged Brower's range, and
Brower who was so intent on maiming Siki started to slow down, no doubt
he was tiring,
this was triggered by a personal beef between the two.
When visiting with Siki at the tavern where he has appeared for years, I
mentioned that match to him, wanting to know what was the trigger to
set that type of violence up,
Siki's only memory of the incident was the wheel barrow.
Thanks so much to Roger for sharing his great memories of Siki with us!
Pics taken at 'The Wrestling Room' in 2016 , Siki, Jet Star, and Roger Baker
Bottom pic Roger and Jet visiting Siki