The World of wrestling has lost one of its most flamboyant and exotic icons. The androgynous, flamboyant and beautiful Adrian Street passed away on 24 July at Cwmbran’s Grange University Hospital, aged 82, his family have confirmed. He had recently undergone brain surgery.
The former wrestler who adorned our TV screens on ITV’s World of Sport in the 1970’s had returned to Wales after a long and successful career in the USA. Street had been suffering from heart problems but was admitted to hospital recently with a bleed on the brain.
Street’s career as a wrestler spanned decades with his image as the bad boy of the ring following him throughout. Street could rile even the most gentle granny into hurling abuse at the TV screen when he performed his antics of hair pulling and booting his opponents just for good measure (and theatre) when they were on the canvas.
Street once said that if it had not been for his brother (r) introducing him to bodybuilding he might not have become a wrestler. He said that at one time he earned more money posing for muscle magazines than wrestling contests. Speaking at the premiere in 2019 Adrian Street said that there was a lot of jealousy around him and that wrestlers wanted him out of the way.
Award winning photographer and film maker Joann Randles documented Street’s life for a bio pic called ‘You May be Pretty but I am Beautiful’.
The film premiered in Street’s home town of Brynmawr in 2019 in front of a large audience made up of grapple fans, former and current wrestlers and the friends and family of the outrageous glamour-puss that was Adrian Street.
Queues formed around the ageing wrestler who was dressed in an outfit featuring sequinned birds of paradise purchased from ‘Granny Takes a Trip’, a King’s Road shop famous for supplying the likes of Elton John.
Young and old alike were treated to some of Street’s stories even before the film had begun. Still as fit as a fiddle but with a slight hearing problem the suntanned Street with the twinkling and piercing blue eyes gave young fans his own personal advice, which was ‘It doesn’t matter how you win as long as you cheat’. It was a line Street outed in the days before the PC Police and said with tongue in cheek.
I’ve got so many ways to hurt you, you have to invent new ways to scream
Street’s wife and long time heel Miss Linda was at his side as always. The lady responsible for Street’s outrageous outfits looked fantastic in a red sequinned dress. Describing her role in Street’s life and career she said that they had had a wonderful time pioneering and forging their way in a man’s world where she had to undress in changing rooms with male wrestlers. They were, she said; ‘gentlemanly people’ and would ‘show her respect’. Street admitted at the time that it was tough for Linda but said that they always supported each other. The film documents their amazing relationship and family life from their appearance on TV to running a wrestling training school in America.
Former and current wrestlers paid tribute to Street calling him a sparkling star and a firework who lit up the way for what we see in wrestling today. It was said that Street invented glam rock. Street said he didn’t invent it but they took a lot from his glamorous persona.
@WWE tweeted: “WWE is saddened to learn that Adrian Street has passed away. WWE extends its condolences to Street’s family, friends, and fans.”
@TripleH tweeted: “A genre-bending pioneer whose larger-than-life presence and ruthlessness between the ropes changed the wrestling world forever. Honored (sic) to have called Adrian Street a friend. My thoughts are with Miss Linda and the family, friends and fans of Adrian Street.”
Film Maker Joann Randles who hails from Saundersfoot developed a close relationship with Street and his family and said that she hoped the message from the film would be to inspire the younger generation to follow their dreams.
The film is an outstanding piece of work which hops back and forth between Street’s life in wrestling and commentary from fans. Vintage footage of the wrestler provided the colour and sparkle Street is so famous for. A miner’s son, who decided going down the mine was not for him. He opted for the spotlight. He made our world a little brighter. Colourful, exotic, effeminate, homo erotic were just some of the words used to describe the diminutive man by commentators including the famous Kent Walton.
On the day of the premiere Street stood in Brynmawr outside the Market Hall Cinema greeting everyone without violent intent or malice, just a warm and friendly glow and the trademark twinkling blue eyes. There was another side to Street. Known to visit sick children in hospital in South Alabama. Described by News Anchors as a treasure. Testimonies from some of the best in the world all paying their tributes to the man who as a child wanted to be an Indian chief but by mistake got into body building and wrestling. A man who wanted to and did achieve his dreams in spite of everyone telling him he couldn’t. Loved now but hated by the ringside fans who were known to beat him with walking sticks. A man in a man’s world dressing in effeminate clothing, being sprayed with perfume and having his long blonde locks brushed by the equally exotic Miss Linda.
The film is truly inspirational covering the life of a man destined for the darkness of the mines of the valleys who dug his cuban heels in and refused to do anything other than step into the spotlight front of stage. And what a beautiful stage that was.
Despite the theatre of violence Street was an exceptionally skilled wrestler who could wrap himself around any opponent within seconds and apply so much strength inflicting unbearable pain forcing a submission. Street won four world titles in three different weight divisions. He had of course and alter ego best summed up by his wife Miss Linda who described Adria Street as “the kindest, most loving man you could ever meet.”