|Sterling "Dizzy" Davis|
There are many legends in the sport of professional wrestling. The business dates back to carnival days in the early 1900s. But the idea of having a wrestler that pushes the envelope of homosexuality was a new creation in the 1940s. Sterling "Dizzy" Davis was one of the first in a long line of "flamboyant" wrestlers. In his case, he also lived his gimmick.
The old days of wrestling had regional territories set up that shared talent. TV was just coming into play during this world war era. Dizzy Davis brought his character back with him to the Los Angeles area after a run in Mexico using the flowery personna. He is said to have been the inspiration for Gorgeous George Wagner, the first televised wrestling star. There is some debate as to whether he was George's inspiration or the other way around. Both men used this gimmick at the same time. However Georgeous George became the tv star, and Davis went on his way to other territories.
One territory that suited Dizzy fine was Amarillo Texas. Working with the likes of Dory Funk Sr., Antonino Rocca, and others, Davis was always at the top of his game and was a frequent champion. He eventually became a two-time Texas Heavyweight champion, after having first lost his opportunity in 1945 to the great "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers. His battles with Antonino "Agentina" Rocca are the stuff of legend. Into the 1950s, Davis racked up more titles-- Texas Junor Heavyweight champion, North American Heavyweight champion, and finally two-time Southwest Heavyweight champion.
In the days where wrestling shows cost a dollar, recollections still seem like yesterday. A young Dory Funk Jr. remembers seeing his father battle Dizzy Davis for the North American and Southwest titles. "Dizzy had many epoch [sic] matches with my father Dory Funk Sr. in the Amarillo Territory," says Funk, "Sterling Dizzy Davis was known for throwing the best punch in the wrestling business. He was a great worker and could get storyline across to the fans as well as anybody. He often wore a bound leather wrist support which made his punch even more devastating. Legend had it that, he practiced his punch by placing a jar cap on the wall over a nail. It was said he could throw a punch and hit the jar cap so lightly that the cap would not bounce against the wall."
Other people only remember Dizzy Davis for what he was outside the ring. A bisexual. A one time opponent of Davis's, then world heavyweight champion Lou Thesz described Davis as "a strange sexual switch-hitter". Thesz did not hold a high regard for people that lived this kind of life and thought they should not have anything to do with the business. But as it was, Davis lived his life as anyone should. A strong proud man.
Dizzy Davis was a role model for many. Dory Funk Jr. also mentions that Dizzy was great in interviews and had incredible timing in the ring. That is what every wrestler needs to know in their profession. His timing as a person who lived an alternative lifestyle may not have gone over so well. But his timing as one of the best wrestlers of the world war era made him unforgetable.