Sweet Daddy Siki

WWE Superstar Edge once described Sweet Daddy Siki as the "Jackie Robinson of professional wrestling". The analogy was quite fitting as Siki blazed a trail across racial, fashion and cultural barriers. As with some of his contemporaries such as Bearcat Wright, Sailor Art Thomas and Bobo Brazil who he would even team with on occasion, Siki had to contend with forces inside and outside the ring. He began his career in 1955 in Portland, Oregon and later became a headliner in the 1960's and 1970's in multiple territories from Capitol Wrestling (now WWE) to Maple Leaf Wrestling (Toronto).

In the '50s and '60s it was rare for Black wrestlers to be heel in part due to racial tensions. Sweet Daddy Siki, however, took on the challenge willingly even running afoul of Ku Klux Klan members on multiple occasions including a historic NWA World Title bout against champion Buddy Rogers in Greensboro, North Carolina that had to be abbreviated due to the ire of some in attendance. He was flamboyant, charismatic and adept at riling crowds up. He refined his gimmick in Canada, where his popularity peaked and dubbed himself "Mr. Irresistible".

Even down to his appearance, Siki also stood out. He dyed his hair blonde taking cues from his favorite singer Etta James and sported Jackie Kennedy sunglasses as well as sequined robes inspired by Gorgeous George and Buddy Rogers. He opted for striped trunks and white boots with the back cut out to show off his calf muscles when wrestlers typically wore solid color trunks with black boots. The Rock would adopt the boots with back cut out look later.

Siki made a foray into music in the '70s. Up until that point wrestlers tended not to cross over into other forms of entertainment. He would release four country music albums and DJ around Toronto. His involvement in music would last after his retirement from the ring, hosting a popular karaoke night.

Siki's influence on wrestling can be found in several ways. After retiring in the early '90s Siki began training people to become wrestlers, Rocky Johnson, Edge and Christian being some of the most notable. On the September 13, 2011 episode of SmackDown Sweet Daddy Siki would get introduced to a new generation of wrestling fans when the WWE held Edge Appreciation Night in honor of the Superstar's upcoming retirement. Bret Hart also cited Siki as an influence on his character. The Rock would incorporate mannerisms into his persona and even cosplay Siki during a skit on SNL.