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Adrian Adonis (1953-1988)


Real Name - Keith Franke

Lifespan - 9/15/53 - 7/4/88

5'11" 257 lbs. - Portland, OR

Athletic Background - Wrestling

Teacher(s) - Fred Atkins

Professional Background - Los Angeles(`77-`7?), Vancouver(`75), San Francisco(`77), Portland(`79-`80), Amarillo(`80), AWA(`80-`81), SCW(`82-`83), WWF(`84-`87), New Japan(`85), Canada(`87-`88)

AliasesKeith Franks

Groups - n/a

Peak Years - `79-`84

Finisher(s) - 

- Goodnight Irene (Sleeper)

- Goodnight Irene (Cobra Clutch)

Favorites -


- Bottom-rope Slingshot

- Piledriver

- Bulldog

- Uppercutt

Ringwork Rating - 

 Move Set8

Intangibles Rating - 


Place in History - The WWF grabbed up so much talent in the 1980s that people were bound to get buried one way or another. Some guys got lazy and cut corners, others got so gassed up they couldn't work and a few just got fat. While the first two cases didn't kill people's names, the latter one would, as was the case with Adrian Adonis. In his prime, Adrian Adonis was an excellent worker. He began his career as a good working heel on the West Coast really finding his place in Portland, which had a reputation as a worker's territory. There, Adonis blossomed into something special as a world class bumper, a respectable talker and a ring general. Adonis even did an open challenge to fans, which is a credit to his shooting skills as he was probably the last man to use that gimmick regularly. When he moved on to the AWA, Adonis, billed as a New Yorker, joined forces with Jesse Ventura, who was as good of a talker as Adonis was a worker. The East-West Connection were a dominant tag team before Adonis headed south. Southwest Championship Wrestling was picking up steam and Lou Thesz came in to put over the legitimacy of the company's belt and Adonis won a tournament to be the first champion. After they started to dip, Adonis formed one of the best forgotten tag teams, the North-South Connection. He and Dick Murdoch were two of the best workers who never held one of the major world heavyweight championships and in the ring they were awesome. The duo worked WWF and New Japan for two years, Adonis final years as an elite worker. Adonis's weight problems finally overtook him and he ballooned up to well over three hundred pounds. After becoming "Adorable" Adrian, a crossdressing heel, he was put in several forgettable feuds before having a memorable hair match with the retiring Roddy Piper at Wrestlemania III before leaving the company. Just over a year later, Adonis was traveling in a van of wrestlers in Newfoundland that went off the road into a lake, tragically ending his life before his 35th birthday. Adrian Adonis is one wrestler whose legacy was damaged by WWF's portrayal of him when they went national, but he was one of the better workers of his day and should be remembered as such.