The completed and long awaited Documentary on Sweet Daddy Siki is airing on the Documentary Channel on June 11th, 2017 at 9PM Eastern time (21:00ET/22:00PT).
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 here.
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.
In anticipation of seeing the finished product 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 Forum.
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 action,
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 appearances,
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 Siki.
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 fight with
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 take place.
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 sized grapefruits.
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 summer months.
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 over head,
his intent was obvious, he wanted to badly hurt and injure his own partner Siki.
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!
Please check out the doc and show your support for a Toronto legend.
Jet Star, Siki, Roger Baker filming in 2016
Star and Siki check out the 'wrestling room'
Siki holding court
Siki visits the Bakers way back!
Peterborough circa 1965-66
Roger and Jet visit Siki