Obituary: Adrian Street (1940-2023)
By Andy PG on 31st July 2023
It has been confirmed that “Exotic” Adrian Street, perhaps the greatest Welsh wrestler ever, died on July 24. He was 82.
Street was born in Brynmawr, Wales, to a family that worked in the coal industry. Unlike them, however, he took to bodybuilding and wanted to enter the wrestling ranks, doing so in 1957 at the tender age of 16. Originally, he pioneered his style after Lou Thesz and Don Leo Jonathan, but it wasn’t long before he struck gold with the “Exotic” character.
The idea behind it was that he acted in an effeminate manner, but was never outright called or assigned the gay label. In fact, rather than say he was a homosexual, announcers would call his acts mind games to get under the skin of opponents. Essentially, Street was Goldust before Dustin Rhodes was even born. Some of his mind games included kissing an opponent who was in the midst of pinning him — a rather effective way of breaking the count — and putting makeup on a foe after a victory.
Street was one of the top heels around the world, making his name in the UK, Germany, Canada, and Mexico. To add some ambiguity to his act, he teamed up with women’s wrestler Blackfoot Sue, who became known as his Miss Linda. Miss Linda broke ground as one of the more physical female valets of the time, paving the way for Sensational Sherri’s act later.
When Street finally made it to America in 1981, he worked a few territories before settling in the Gulf Coast. He was most prominent in the Alabama territory, and his heel antics were so effective the crowd had no idea how to handle it when he was booked to turn face. When Alabama closed its doors, Street spent some time running a wrestling school and appearing in the early GWF before settling into designing gear for other wrestlers. Dude Love’s attire in 1998 was designed by Street, for example.
His final match was in Birmingham, Alabama at age 73. By some estimates, he had over 12,000 matches in his career.
While the “Exotic” character lent itself to hijinks, it was never a doubt that the man performing them was a tough brawler through and through. Even when billed as from the Forest of Dean, the coal mining toughness in his blood carried the day, and many a wild brawl was had. Adrian had just one thing to say to those who saw him knock out an opponent: “Imagine what I could do to you.”
The Blog of Doom staff sends its condolences to the family of Adrian Street.