Friday, June 11, 2010

Know Your LGBT History - Adorable Adrian Adonis

A few months ago, I featured a segment on the "Exotic" Adrian Street, a rule-breaking professional wrestler who acted gay to unnerve his opponents.

At the time, I said Street's portrayal was an excellent satire on homophobic fears.

Unfortunately there have been other exploitations of homophobic fears in pro wrestling and they weren't all as well done as Street.

The late Adrian Adonis (Keith A. Franke) is not known to many except for the die-hard pro wrestling fans (like myself) and this is a shame because he was one of the best.

In the American Wrestling Association, he and former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura formed the East-West Connection and held the tag team titles:

Then he moved to the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wresting Entertainment) where he held tag team titles with the late Dick Murdoch.

During this time, he had a tough guy leather gimmick which was pretty cool:

The man interviewing Adonis is one "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Then Piper was in his super rulebreaker, bad guy wrestler mode with his show "Piper's Pit," which made him legendary amongst wrestling fans. Remember this because it's important for later.

Then things changed. Adonis took to not only wearing dresses and make-up during interviews and also while he wrestled:

This led to a very interesting angle. An "angle" in wrestling terms is a storyline. In this particular "angle," Roddy Piper had left the WWF due to a leg injury and Adonis had taken over his show, changing it from "Piper's Pit" into the "Flower Shop."

Needless to say when Piper came back, he wasn't pleased. And yes it was because of the homosexual implications. If you don't want to watch the entire clip below, here is the gist. Piper is HIGHLY offended by Adonis's show and his manner and says so, leading him to be destroyed by not only Adonis but two other wrestlers:

Which led to a match at Wrestlemania 3 where the loser gets his hair cut. Guess who lost?:

I don't know what's worse - the fact that a talented wrestler like Adrian Adonis got saddled with such an ugly, homophobic storyline or the fact that it's probably the main thing people remember about him because he was killed in a car accident soon afterwards.

It's sad because he deserved better.

Past Know Your LGBT History postings

Know Your LGBT History - The Night Strangler

Know Your LGBT History - All in the Family

Know Your LGBT History - Tongues Untied

Know Your LGBT History - The Celluloid Closet

Know Your LGBT History - Querelle

Know Your LGBT History - Theatre of Blood

Know Your LGBT History - Strange Fruit

Know Your LGBT History - Designing Women

Know Your LGBT History - The Children's Hour

Know Your LGBT History - Sylvester

Know Your LGBT History - Once Bitten

Know Your LGBT History - The Boys in the Band

Know Your LGBT History - Christopher Morley, the crossdressing assassin

Know Your LGBT History - Midnight Cowboy

Know Your LGBT History - Dracula's Daughter

Know Your LGBT History - Blacula

Know Your LGBT History - 3 Strikes

Know Your LGBT History - Paris Is Burning

Know Your LGBT History - The Women

Know your LGBT History - Soul Plane

Know Your LGBT History - The Player's Club

Special Know Your LGBT History - Fame

Know Your LGBT History - Welcome Home, Bobby

Know Your LGBT History - Barney Miller

Know your lgbt history - The Jerry Springer Show

Know your lgbt history - Martin Lawrence and that 'gay guy' on his show

Know your lgbt history - The Ricki Lake Show

Know your lgbt history - Which Way Is Up

Know your lgbt history - Gays in Primetime Soaps

Know your lgbt history - Boys Beware

Know your lgbt history - The Boondocks

Know your lgbt history - Mannequin

Know your lgbt history - The Warriors

Know Your LGBT History - New York Undercover

Know Your LGBT History - Low Down Dirty Shame

Know Your LGBT History - Fortune and Men's Eyes

Know your lgbt history - California Suite

Know your lgbt history - Taxi (Elaine's Strange Triangle)

Know your lgbt history - Come Back Charleston Blue

Know your lgbt history - James Bond goes gay

Know your lgbt history - Windows

Know your lgbt history - To Wong Foo and Priscilla

Know your lgbt history - Blazing Saddles

Know your lgbt history - Sanford and Son

Know your lgbt history - In Living Color

Know your lgbt history - Cleopatra Jones and her lesbian drug lords

Know your lgbt history - Norman, Is That You?

Know your lgbt history - The 'Exotic' Adrian Street

Know your lgbt history - The Choirboys

Know your lgbt history - Eddie Murphy

Know your lgbt history - The Killing of Sister George

Know your lgbt history - Hanna-Barbera cartoons pushes the 'gay agenda

'Know your lgbt history - Cruising

Know your lgbt history - Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones

Know your lgbt history - I Got Da Hook Up

Know your lgbt history - Fright Night

Know your lgbt history - Flowers of Evil

The Jeffersons and the transgender community  

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The Shaman Of Hedon said...

Actually, vividly remembering that angle as I do, I'd like to point out that Piper cut several promos leading up to Wrestlemania III citing it wasn't Adrian's gay appearance that offended him, it was how he used it to play on the fears of really stupid people to win matches, basically calling him a lying coward playing on homophobia to advance his carreer. Now if you REALLY want an example of "Possibly gay wrestling character HORRIBLY done", I have two names for you; Dustin Runnels and Orlando Jordan.

BlackTsunami said...


thanks for that clarification. And I agree with you regarding Dustin Rhodes/ Gold Dust and Orlando Jordan, who himself is openly bisexuals.

I'm trying to find a a video that will complete my triumvirate posting of lgbt wrestling angles i.e. Miss Atlanta Lively,a.k.a. Ronnie Garvin.

The Shaman Of Hedon said...

Oh hon I can feed you LOTS of examples. Harvey Whippleman passing himself off as "Harvina" to win the women's title, Santino Marella's "sister" Santina. Plus, the long-kept industry secret that Terri Power AKA Tori in the WWE is a post-op MTF. Wrestling, sadly, has limitless examples to dissect and ruminate on I'm afraid.