In his day, Adrian Adonis was a heck of a worker. He had a tough guy biker gimmick, and tore up the rings in the early 80’s, teaming with Jesse Ventura (as the East West Connection) to win the AWA tag team titles, and with Dick Murdoch to win the WWF tag straps.
Then he “turned gay” and it all went to hell.
Sometime between WrestleMania 1 and 2, Vince McMahon got the great idea to make an openly gay wrestler. While no one wanted to do it, rumor has it that Adonis was chosen as a form of punishment for some reason or another. And thus, “Adorable” Adrian Adonis was born.
Disclaimer: In my mind, there is nothing wrong with being homosexual. Everyone should be allowed to live their life however they see fit. But when a talented grappler such as Adonis is more remembered for wearing pink and acting like a flamer than for his ability to put on great wrestling matches, well…that’s Wrestlecrap.
To his credit, Adonis played the part to the hilt. He wore makeup and bows in his bleached blonde hair. He would act very effeminately. He wrestled from time to time in a dress. One time he even sang to Paul Orndorff, “Hey Hey Paula…I want to wrestle you.”
Adonis never had the greatest physique, but he had a natural ability in the ring that allowed him to put on very watchable (and often very enjoyable) matches. The problem was, in addition to picking up the “Adorable” nametag, he also put on some weight. A LOT of weight. He soon became not only odd because of his, ummm, lifestyle, but because he was bulging out of his dresses. He was quite the sight to see (or not see, actually).
Perhaps Adonis’ greatest claim to fame was his feud with Roddy Piper. Piper had left the WWF for a short period, and Adonis took over the airtime that used to be “Piper’s Pit” and replaced it with his own show, “The Flower Shop.”
Let’s get this out of the way – knock offs of Piper’s Pit NEVER work. I don’t care if we’re talking the Flower Shop, The Body Shop, The Snake Pit, The Barber Shop, the Brother Love Show (wow, there’s some great Wrestlecrap candidates!)…they all pale in comparison to the original. Piper knew it too. He came back to the WWF to reclaim his spot, and he did so by destroying the Flower Shop with a baseball bat.
Piper and Adonis had their big showdown at Wrestlemania III, with Piper escaping Adonis’ “Goodnight Irene” Sleeper, and putting Adonis to sleep with his own version. Brutus Beefcake came out and cut all of the adorable one’s hair off (actually, he did a really terrible job and only got a few snippets of hair – they had to cut the rest off later). This would set the scene for a huge post-Piper feud with Beefcake that would keep Adonis in the spotlight.
Except it never happened. Adonis was handed his walking papers shortly after Wrestlemania III. Rumor has it that the WWF fired Adonis because he had poor conduct outside the ring.
Adonis kept the gay gimmick and competed for a few months in the AWA before his untimely death on July 4, 1988.