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Adrian Street : Trailblazer

WWE Documentary Shows How He Prepared The Way

Credit: Michael Cavacini

I’m in love with me…’

That’s ‘Exotic’ Adrian Street on one of his many songs. Oh yes, he released albums. But mostly he wrestled. Adrian Street was a trailblazer.

This short WWE Network documentary, ‘Just Think What I Could Do To You’ will whet the appetite for the longer ‘You May Be Pretty, But I Am Beautiful’ film which is available on Fite and other places.

It’s really warm feeling and shows how many wrestlers revere him. Why?

He Made Tough Choices

As Adrian tells us, he never never really had a conversation with his father, it was often an argument.

But then they were from Brynmawr in South Wales, a tough mining town and his father was a miner.

I remember my father’s father making sure both his sons worked in the hosiery business, all day on your feet, breathing in microfibres.

But that meant they didn’t have to go down the pit like he had to. It was brutal, backbreaking, dangerous work.

And Adrian Street did work down the mine. But as he says on the documentary, ‘it’s dark and I was made to be seen’. He set about making that happen.

He Overcame Odds

There is so much in the documentary about stature. When Street looked at bodybuilder magazines and revealed that he wanted to wrestle, he was told he was too small.

When he wanted to do to the US to wrestle, he was told it was the land of the giants.

This, he tells us, is why he put feathers in his hair and had it in pigtails, to add height.

After training, he did the UK circuit, first match 1957 and very quickly he started to play up to the fans.

Adrian formed a tag team, the Hells Angels with Bobby Barnes, a wrestler who also liked to flaunt his flamboyance and was similarly blonde.

I did love Bobby Barnes, he baited the crowd so well and they were probably made for each other as a team.

That would have been enough for many, but Adrian wanted more. He wanted America.

And he settled in Ron Fuller’s Continental Wrestling Association, the CWA, which was hot in the 80’s. Street landed there in 1981 and stayed for years.

In fact he was a presence for much of the 80’s, they moved him heel to face he had a lot of success.

Adrian Sweet
Credit: I News

He won the Florida Heavyweight Championship, the Mid-South strap and the CWA Heavyweight title 4 times.

But this isn’t the belt he chooses to discuss in the documentary.

He Paid People Back

That was a European Championship belt. And in the documentary, Adrian talks about going back to his home in Wales to show it off.

Because that meant he was the best wrestler in Europe.

And his dad would surely have to listen. But as newspapers wanted to talk to him and take pictures, he went with something else.

This.

Adrian Street And His Father
Credit: The Mirror

As he explains, the miners in the lift didn’t know this was happening. And his father couldn’t get away. Adrian Street was a trailblazer here too.

This is important because he took control. He made his father see what he had done.

He didn’t sit down and talk to him, because he couldn’t have done that, he surely knew it wouldn’t have worked.

But made him see. As Adrian tells us, ‘It was my way of giving him that’. And he raises his middle finger with triumph.

That is such an iconic photograph, used for the cover of Black Box Recorder’s first album. Why does it work? It’s the juxtaposition of the butterfly and the dirt.

How Adrian Street Made His Flamboyance Work

The butterfly and the dirt. That’s what Street did in wrestling. And he made it work. How?

It was different then. Now openly gay wrestlers can succeed. At last.

But for so long it wasn’t possible. Anyone thought to be gay was often badly disrespected, even in public.

They were seen as less than manly, even when the gimmick wasn’t linked to their sexuality.

Just look at Adrian Adonis and the make up, the flowers, the larger physique, Adonis apparently stopped working out and shaved his body hair for the gimmick.

He had a talkshow segment. It was called The Flower Shop.

Adrian Street didn’t suffer this treatment. He controlled it.

Firstly, it was his choice. He found baiting the crowd was, as he says; ‘an uproar. That’s what I wanted, more of a reaction than anybody else got.’

He controlled what he did, he took it as far as he wanted, he had the crowd in his thrall.

And he could wrestle. Road Dogg Brian James talks about seeing Street in CWA and marvelling at a British, joint manipulation style of wrestling he’d never seen.

As Terry Taylor calls him; ‘a wrestling machine, he can put you in things you never heard of before’.

Throughout the documentary there is a feeling that you don’t want to mess with Adrian Street.

He also had a female valet. This before they were popular. That softened him a little and made people wonder what their relationship was.

He was actually married to Miss Linda, but hee presence just made people wonder and allowed them to believe that this flamboyant wrestler was only that.

His sexuality was only hinted at, never discussed.

He won many matches with the distraction kiss, in face he won the Mid South TV title from Terry Taylor with that move.

Terry tells the story very well in the documentary, keeping kayfabe, how they had never met before the match, how he was taken completely by surprise by the lip smacker and rolled up.

That he could use such a tactic and not cause a riot is testament to his working of the gimmick.

That takes perfect pitching, to play the crowd rather than the gimmick, to stress the flamboyance rather than the sexuality.

This Was So Bold

Strange to think now, but this was the ’70’s and early ’80’s, not so far removed of the of time of ‘the love that dare not speak its name’

All through the 20 or so minutes here, we have phases like ‘trailblazer’ and ‘cutting edge’, those two comments from Steven Regal and Flash Morgan Webster.

Nice to see some UK WWE wrestlers getting heard, particularly Flash, who has a special place in his heart because he came from a small Welsh homestead too.

He Was Multi Media

He made movies. And albums. Documentaries want to talk to him. And there are books too.

Don’t talk to me about Mick Foley, Adrian was vertically integrated long before.

A Happy Ending

And at the time of this short piece, he was firmly in the bosom of the WWE. Otherwise this film wouldn’t be nestling in the WWE Network.

Adrian was at this point a trainer and so delighted to be able to share his knowledge.

A sweet little 20 minutes, with loads of info packed in and a cavalcade of plaudits.

The best thing here? Adrian Street is honest. Nothing to hide. Nothing to prove.

I’m in love with me? Loads of other are in love with him too

Written by Steve Swift

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