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Wrestling / Adrian Adonis

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"Adorable" Adrian Adonis with Jimmy Hart.
Click here to see his original persona 

Keith Franke (September 15, 1953 – July 4, 1988) was an American professional wrestler better known by his ring name Adrian Adonis. He was best known for his appearances with the American Wrestling Association and the World Wrestling Federation throughout the 1980s.

He debuted in 1974 as Keith Franks and worked for various territories. It was Roddy Piper who turned him into Adrian Adonis while wrestling in Los Angeles. He died in a car crash in 1988.

As for his in-ring achievements, he was a 1x NWA PNW Tag Team Champion with Ron Starr, a 2x NWA (Los Angeles) Americas Tag Team Champion as Keith Franks (1x w/Black Gordman, 1x w/Roddy Piper), a 1x NWA (Los Angeles) Americas Heavyweight Champion, a 1x AWA World Tag Team Champion with Jesse Ventura, the inaugural SCW (Southwest) World Heavyweight Champion, a 1x SCW Southwest Heavyweight Champion and a 1x WWE World Tag Team Champion with Dick Murdoch.

Not to be confused with similar wrestler "Exotic" Adrian Street.

"Golden Boy Tropes":

  • Acrofatic Despite his weight gain, he was still known for his ability to move around the ring and take bumps, including the Ray Stevens upside down turnbuckle bump.
  • Alliterative Name: Adrian Adonis.
  • Badass Biker: His early wrestling persona was that of a tough biker from New York, complete with the attire. (Ironically, his tag team partner around that time was Jesse "The Body" Ventura, who claims to have rode with the San Diego chapter of the Mongols before entering the pro wrestling business, but didn't make it part of his gimmick.)
  • Brooklyn Rage: Billed from New York and for a long time had a gimmick of a tough biker.
  • Camp Gay: As "Adorable" Adrian Adonis. He acted effeminate, wore lots of pink and heavy amounts of eye shadow and rouge, and one ambush against Roddy Piper ended with Adonis smearing him with lipstick.
  • The Corrupter: He helped accelerate Paul Orndorff's Face–Heel Turn against Hulk Hogan, with Adonis relentlessly needling Orndorff about living in Hogan's shadow on The Flower Shop.
  • Downer Ending: Adonis was in a minivan with three other wrestlers when the driver, blinded by the sun, swerved to avoid a moose and drove off a bridge into a river. Only one of the four survived; Adonis was rescued from the river but subsequently died from severe head injuries.
  • Fat Bastard: A long-time Heel, his transition to the "Adorable" gimmick began after Adonis (who in his previous biker gimmick was a well-conditioned wrestler, if muscular and stocky) gained a considerable amount of weight. Reportedly, the "Adorable" gimmick was a punishment because of him getting out of shape.
  • Finishing Move: A sleeper hold he called "Good Night, Irene".
  • Gorgeous George: One of the many wrestlers who took off after the original Gorgeous George of being pretty boys who acted androgynous (with the twist that he was fat). More specifically, the "Adorable" gimmick was an homage to "Exotic" Adrian Street, who visually was very reminiscent of Adonis in his "Adorable" gimmick.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: As part of his biker gimmick, he had the whole leather-clad getup. In fact, he is the reason why Roddy Piper wore a leather jacket; Adonis gave his to Piper on an edition of Piper's Pit when Adonis began transitioning into the "Adorable" gimmick.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: As "Adorable", he was still a savage wrestler despite his very femenine traits.
  • Red Baron: "Golden Boy", "Adorable".
  • Sissy Villain: His gimmick went from tough biker to flamboyant, effeminate gay, while remaining a heel all the way through.
  • Tag Team:
    • (in the AWA): The East-West Connection, with Jesse Ventura.
    • (in WWE): The North-South Connection, with Dick Murdoch.
  • Talk Show with Fists: He had his own talk segment, The Flower Shop, until Roddy Piper destroyed it.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Gave Brutus Beefcake one, but he retaliated by shaving Adonis bald at WrestleMania III, after helping Roddy Piper defeat Adonis at the event. In fact, this is the reason why Beefcake (who up until then had a gimmick of what was basically a PG-rated stripper) became Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake, as he apparently liked cutting Adonis's hair so much that he made it a signature taunt of his own afterwards.
  • Trash the Set: Adonis destroyed the set of Roddy Piper's Piper's Pit. A week later, in retaliation, Piper hobbled onto the set of Adonis's The Flower Shop with a baseball bat in his hands and began smashing the set apart before screaming bloody revenge.