Adrian Street, the renowned Welsh wrestling icon known as “the sadist in sequins” and “the man fans love to hate,” pἀssed away at the age of 82 on 24th July. His family confirmed the news of his demise at Cwmbran’s Grange University Hospital, following recent brain surgery.
Born in Blaenau Gwent, Street became a sporting sensation in the ’70s and ’80s due to his flamboyant appearance and no-holds-barred fighting style. Despite growing up in the mining town of Brynmawr, he decided early on that he was destined for the spotlight, not the dark depths of the mines.
In his teens, Street ran away to London and began his wrestling journey under the name Kid Tarzan Jonathan, but he later reverted to using his real name. His daring choice of costume, featuring feather boas, dayglo face paint, and peroxide pigtails, instantly captured the audience’s attention. The more he was met with jeers and cat-calls, the more he embraced his over-the-top persona, skipping around the ring and planting lipstick kisses on his opponents before delivering powerful blows.
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In a notable match, Street even defeated Jimmy Savile, the now-disgraced DJ and TV presenter, who was known for his tough-guy persona during his time in the wrestling circuit. Street refused to play along with promoters trying to orchestrate scripted outcomes and ended up delivering a legitimate beatdown to Savile.
Moving to Canada and the US in the ’80s, Street achieved even greater fame, winning multiple championship belts and embracing his role as an entertainer both in and out of the ring. In Florida, he and his wife, Linda, whom he had met in 1969 and who was also a former wrestler, established a successful costume-making business called The Bizarre Bazaar and a wrestling school named Skull Krushers Academy.
After returning to Wales in later years, a biopic of Street’s life titled “You May Be Pretty, But I Am Beautiful” premiered in his hometown of Brynmawr in 2019. The film depicted how Street transcended the traditional “man in tights” image to become a cultural icon, with his flamboyant outfits even influencing the rise of glam rock in the UK.
Despite battling cancer in 2001 and overcoming the odds, Street’s health declined in recent times. Following a stroke and a bleed on the brain, he developed colitis, which tragically led to sepsis and ultimately claimed his life.
His wife, Linda, remembered him as the kindest and most loving man she ever knew, a complete contrast to his on-stage persona. She plans to have Street’s ashes scattered on the mountains near their Cwmbran home, a place he cherished due to his love for the outdoors and long walks in the countryside.
The wrestling world and fans worldwide mourn the loss of this flamboyant legend, whose impact on the sport and popular culture will always be remembered.