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  #1  
Old 02-02-2013, 10:47 AM
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Default Adrian Adonis

I donít have a lot of knowledge about Adrian Adonis but heís someone Iíd like to know a little more about. Most of us probably remember him as Adorable Adrian Adonis, an over the top cross dressing feminine character. Due to the timing of it, that gimmick is what defines his career. Iím curious to hear if anyone has any thoughts on Adonis before he became the Adorable one.

From what Iíve heard Adonis was actually kind of a bad ass. He was a tough fighter from New York City and a talented arrogant heel. Iíve heard guys like Jesse Ventura and Roddy Piper speak highly of him. I figure you had to be pretty tough to be partners with Ventura and Dick Murdoch. Other than McMahon looking for an over the top gimmick during his mid 80s expansion I donít know why a tough guy like Adonis would be transformed into the Adorable one. Couldnít that gimmick have gone to someone else? I have heard that the gimmick was a punishment because Adonis allowed himself to become horribly out of shape. I donít know if it was punishment but I suppose Vince figured his arrogant tough guy days were over considering his physical appearance. This makes me wonder how Adonis let himself get so out of shape in the first place. Had Adonis not let his physical appearance go could he have had more success in the WWF under his original gimmick?

Iím assuming 99% of the people here are too young to remember Adonis. I only remember Adorable Adrian Adonis and I barely remember that. Adonis died in 1988 (shockingly he was only 33) so most of us probably donít have many memories of him from when he was alive. Iíd love to hear some opinions from those that actually remember a pre adorable Adrian Adonis. Anyone else please feel free to chime in with any thoughts on him at all.
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  #2  
Old 02-02-2013, 11:51 AM
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I remember adorable Adrian Adonis well from my childhood and him feuding with I think it was Roddy Piper or maybe Junkyard dog. Also my brother told me back then that Adrian was a real badass. Sadly he died in a car wreck with a couple other wrestlers though i dont remember any of them being that big of stars like adrian was. I always laughed at the leg warmers and the pink tights. Brings back good childhood memories
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:39 PM
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Adonis was never really a "fit" guy in the first place. If you look at these photos from his early years, you can see he gave Dusty Rhodes a run for his money in the "rotund" department.





Taken from Wikipedia:

Quote:
When injuries caused Ventura to stop wrestling regularly, Adonis formed a tag team with the Texan Dick Murdoch, called the North-South Connection. The team debuted in late 1983. Around this time, Adonis (who had previously been a beefy but generally conditioned man) gained a large amount of fat. On April 17, 1984, The North-South Connection defeated Tony Atlas and Rocky Johnson to win the WWF World Tag Team Championship. They held the title until January 21, 1985, when they were defeated by Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo. The team split shortly after the loss.
Not that Wikipedia is ever right. But judging by the fact that he was pushed down after gaining so much weight, you could be right about the punishment thing. I only remember him from his "Adorable" days as well. He was still a pretty good wrestler and agile for someone so big ala Bam Bam Bigelow. Although the Wrestling Observer voted him Most Embarrassing Wrestler in 1986 and Worst Gimmick in 1986 and 1987. I doubt he cared that much about it because he took the character with him back to the AWA.

Last edited by closet_fan : 02-02-2013 at 12:42 PM.
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  #4  
Old 02-02-2013, 02:14 PM
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Adonis was a great actor. Back in the day when he was with ventura they were both billed as a bad ass tag team...The East West connection. When he later moved on to Adorable Adrian Adonis, they used him to get over Roddy Piper as a face as well as the role Adonis had played in the face turn of Brutus the barber beefcake when Adonis screwed up in a 6 man tag with Beefcake and Valentine against Lanny Poffo and I believe the Killer Bees and by mistake cut beefcakes hair instead of Poffos, creating Beefcakes Barber gimmick. Adonis would move on to Wmania 3 against Piper in what was billed as Pipers last match and after Piper won it was Brutus that would end up cutting all the hair off of Adorable Adrian. sadly in 1988 I believe it was, Adonis would die tragically in a car wreck. He was a big guy and probably the 1st 300 pounder I ever saw do a moonsault. He was one of a kind. Hope this helps.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:46 PM
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I don't have much to offer. Just remember his WWF run and always wishing he would stop acting that way. It didn't make sense to me. I didn't know if he was supposed to be gay or if he was just trying to make fun of gay people. I didn't know or understand much about sexuality at the time but I knew wrestling wasn't real and whatever Adonis was doing was insulting and not very entertaining.

I think he had a large canister of perfume that he would spray in his opponent's eyes, wore a muumuu, wore a heavy amount of blue eyeshadow occassionally, hosted a talk show called The Flowershop, and would throw flowers to aggitate the audience. As much as it seemed like Vince may have been punishing him for his appearance the guy got a ton of camera time and a gimmick that seemed way different from anything in the Hogan Era. It was a little like Javier Bardem's bad guy in the latest Bond movie.

I am shocked to learn he was only 33 when he died. He looked about 50 when he had his Adorable run.
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Old 02-02-2013, 03:41 PM
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The punishment stuff might have had some traction, but you have to remember as well another Adrian had been doing a similar gimmick for years. Adrian Street was world famous as a gender bender heel, but was aging by the time the mid 80's rolled around, I believe he is near 73 now so would have been late 40's and a little too old for the WWE at the time. There is a great documentary out there called "The Life And Times Of Adrian Street", but I have no doubt that he was the reason for the gimmick Adonis ended up with...

Vince wanted a gimmick like Street's but in a younger guy and Adonis, not only had the same first name but had that "shock value" when compared to his previous gimmick. It would have been jarring for fans to see a once bad-ass biker type wearing dresses and make-up and would have generated instant heat. The punishment side of things may have been that Adonis hated the idea but was told he was doing it or was gone. You could imagine "yuk yuk" Vince also hoping to steal a little of Street's thunder as most fans wouldn't know the difference... "They'll just hear Adrian and think it's the same guy...save me a lot of dough..."

As for Adonis himself, he was a very talented guy but was never really above mid card - the "Adorable" persona got him one run to the upper mid against Piper but once it became clear he wasn't going to Goldust heights is when he left I think. Could they have done more? Probably but not then... it's one of those gimmicks that was a little too ahead of it's time and not quite the right person as Dustin proved only 8 years later.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:22 PM
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I remember Adonis when he was WWE Tag Team Champions with Dick Murdoch, Windham and Rotundo winning their first WWE Tag Title is one of the first memories of have of pro wrestling(I was 8 at the time). From all of my recollections of pro wrestling, the theme that Adonis was punished by Vince for letting his physique go and his extra cirricular activites letting him down, indeed Vince punished him by loading him with the flamboyant gimmick. From what I remember in Pipers book, he stated Adonis embraced the role, to stick it to Vince, so to speak and got very well over, his selling in matches to JYD and Tito Santana was second to none, borderline to going over the top. Speakibng of Adonis and his supposed hard man reputation, I have read many accounts of a backstage shoot between himself and Danny Spivey in which Adonis didnt like the way Spivey was performing in their match and Adonis, being the heel, was calling the match to his benefit and not the script. Backstage Adonis shot in Spivey, who in turn landed numerous punches and kicks to Adonis' head, rendering him unconcious and bleeding heavily. It has been said it was Hulk Hogan who broke this fight up, and he garnered alot of heat for doing so, as the unwritten rule back then was to let guys go until one or the other had enough on their own say so. Really, Adonis best days were pre WWF/E, his reputation both professionally and legitimately were destroyed in his WWE run, in my opinion.
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Old 02-02-2013, 10:58 PM
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Before he came "Adorable", Adrian Adonis had runs in other territories, most notably in the AWA when he and Jesse Ventura won the tag team titles. When Vince McMahon raided the AWA for talent to help grow the WWF into a national company, he was one of the guys taken, along with Hulk Hogan, Bobby Heenan and Ventura. In the WWF, he teamed with Jesse some, then teamed with Dick Murdoch to win the WWF tag team titles. Afterwards, Murdoch left and Adonis went back to working singles.

I've heard the story that the "Adorable Adrian" gimmick was a punishment exercise for being overweight. Knowing Vince McMahon's love of bodybuilder-like physiques, I can believe it. Years later, the Big Show and Mark Henry were told to lose weight. When they failed, Show got sent down to OVW and Mark Henry began an on-screen romance with Mae Young.

Back to Adrian: he left the WWF not long after WrestleMania 3. He made one TV appearance post-WM (showing off his shaved head he got that night) and then went back to the AWA for a while. Oddly enough, he was still doing the "Adorable Adrian" gimmick then.
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Old 02-02-2013, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Brain View Post
I donít have a lot of knowledge about Adrian Adonis but heís someone Iíd like to know a little more about. Most of us probably remember him as Adorable Adrian Adonis, an over the top cross dressing feminine character. Due to the timing of it, that gimmick is what defines his career. Iím curious to hear if anyone has any thoughts on Adonis before he became the Adorable one.

From what Iíve heard Adonis was actually kind of a bad ass. He was a tough fighter from New York City and a talented arrogant heel. Iíve heard guys like Jesse Ventura and Roddy Piper speak highly of him. I figure you had to be pretty tough to be partners with Ventura and Dick Murdoch. Other than McMahon looking for an over the top gimmick during his mid 80s expansion I donít know why a tough guy like Adonis would be transformed into the Adorable one. Couldnít that gimmick have gone to someone else? I have heard that the gimmick was a punishment because Adonis allowed himself to become horribly out of shape. I donít know if it was punishment but I suppose Vince figured his arrogant tough guy days were over considering his physical appearance. This makes me wonder how Adonis let himself get so out of shape in the first place. Had Adonis not let his physical appearance go could he have had more success in the WWF under his original gimmick?

Iím assuming 99% of the people here are too young to remember Adonis. I only remember Adorable Adrian Adonis and I barely remember that. Adonis died in 1988 (shockingly he was only 33) so most of us probably donít have many memories of him from when he was alive. Iíd love to hear some opinions from those that actually remember a pre adorable Adrian Adonis. Anyone else please feel free to chime in with any thoughts on him at all.
Adrian Adonis was a legit bad ass. My earliest recollection of Adonis was his Adorable Adrian gimmick, but in doing brief research, he wrestled in Texas extensively under Joe Blanchard's Southwest Championship Wrestling. Joe is the father of Tully Blanchard, who carried the promotion and helped break in stars like Shawn Michaels and even Steve Austin had some of his first matches in the promotion.



Here he was pre-Adorable. He was a tough heel from New York City who didn't take crap from anyone. He also wrestled Bob Orton Jr. and many other stars in SCW. He has some solid matches, but the thing about Adonis was that even if he was a good hand in the ring, the tough guy gimmicks were burning out during the Rock 'n Wrestling era, so he had to don makeup, and become Adorable. All it did was get him booked on the biggest Wrestlemania in history to that point.

But you should know the background, The Brain. You managed him.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:48 PM
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I remember Adrian for many of his memorable matches and carrying Jesse Ventura who even admitted he (Jesse) wasn't a technical wrestling guy. I've seen him in the AWA and the WWE and have to say, he was a technically sound wrestler with a bad attitude. He was one of those few guys that could make a poor wrestler look great which is why he was so respected by his alumni.

I remember seeing him live against Bob Backlund for the WWF title. You could say what you want against Backlund but he was a sound wrestler. Adrian kept toe to toe, move for move with him and it was an excellent show. He was one of those "you love to hate this guy" wrestlers.

Sadly, he will be remembered as the out of shape, joke of a gimmick that he became instead of the talent he was. RIP Adrian!!
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