Throughout the history of professional wrestling, what a performer can do on the mic is often just as important as what they do in the ring. Each afternoon, Smark Attack will highlight a wrestling promo that shows off the best, and sometimes the worst, in pro wrestling microphone work.
And we're not just looking for classic promos. If you're a local wrestler or if you've always wanted to be a pro wrestler and want to show off your mic skills send your best promo: 45 seconds or less to [email protected]. If we end up running it on the blog, we'll give you a City Paper t-shirt.
Sorry for the 10 days or so without a post. Despite wanting to make wrestling journalism our full-time jobs, Meg and I have been bogged down with other, less interesting, albeit important, work! You can catch her new installment of Pops and Botches here.
Today's promo is actually a compilation of a few clips from one of professional wrestling's trailblazers, Sweet Daddy Siki. SIki, originally from Texas, wrestled across North America beginning in the 1950s on the DuPont Network, one of the earliest providers of pro-wrestling content. Siki was wildly popular from his first match until the end of his career in the 1990s. He was charismatic and a strong worker who appealed to wrestling fans of all races and economic backgrounds, especially in his home-base of Toronto, where he often headlined shows at the Toronto Maple Leaf Gardens.
We'll start with this clip of a younger Siki and his tag-team partner, Sailor Art Thomas, having a run-in with the Fabulous Kangaroos, who destroy a gift from Siki's Fan Club.
Siki became a star at a time when his race was often made the subject of story lines and segregation and poor treatment of African Americans was rampant. In June 2017, The Canadian Broadcasting Company released a full-length documentary called, simply, Sweet Daddy Siki. I'm having trouble finding a place to stream the film, but below is the trailer. Siki may have started as a babyface, but his blonde hair and sequined outfits made him a great heel: "The Women's Pet and the Men's Regret."
But, the animosity toward Siki wasn't just in the form of desired arena boos. When he faced "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers in the late 1950s in what is widely believed to be the first integrated World Championship match, the event was met by KKK protests. He was also a Klan target because his wife was white. There are also disgusting play-by play calls about Siki having the "whitest teeth" and "skin that is so black." Sadly, this culture of using race in wrestling continues to some degree or another today (a topic we'll be getting into on this blog in the near future). Former WWE star Adam "Edge" Copeland, who was trained by Siki, calls Sweet Daddy in the film the "Jackie Robinson of professional wrestling."
And this final clip is included, because it might be my favorite fact about the "Sweet Daddy." He was a bit of a singer and country music fan who released a couple of records including, Sweet Daddy Siki Squares off with Country Music. Enjoy the videos and Siki's cover of "Jambalaya."