Adrian Adonis real name Keith Franke
Buried: Greenlawn Memorial Park
Bakersfield, CA Kern County USA
Adonis was on wrestling tour of Newfoundland, driving with three other wrestlers; Pat
Kelly (Victor Arko), Mike Kelly (William Arko) who was the driver and lone survivor, and
the legendary “Canadian Wildman” Dave McKigney. The vehicle struck a moose when
Mike Kelly was blinded by the sun and three wrestlers lost their life, with another never
able to wrestle again.
Adrian Adonis had different personas throughout his career, and left lasting impressions
along the way everywhere he wrestled. Known as an outlaw biker, who had a leather
jacket and hat, Adonis played off his tough New York City upbringing, causing trouble
everywhere from the WWWF to Southwest Championship Wrestling. Utilized a fearsome
sleeper hold, known as “Goodnight Irene”. Very capable interview skills and wrestled top
talent everywhere he worked, which clearly is representative of his professionalism.
Adonis formed quite a memorable tag-team, the “East-West Connection”, with a young
Jesse “The Body” Ventura in the AWA.
Upon examination of his work, specifically a late match in his final AWA stint, against
Greg Gagne, it became apparent how good of a worker Adonis was, and this was
probably as the heaviest he had ever been. Perhaps, it is somewhat indicative of his role
that at Wrestlemania III, Adonis was given a high profile match, with a Hair-vs-Hair
stipulation against the wildly popular “Hot Rod” Roddy Piper. It was not the show-stealing
match, or most remembered or ballyhooed, yet Adonis and Piper (and Jimmy Hart for that
matter) played that capacity crowd (and quite a few other viewers through the years) with
a beautiful exhibition of two grapplers struggling to see who could lock on the dreaded
sleeper hold finisher.
Biography by Robert Murillo
|Adrian Adonis Wrestling History
|PPV Ring Record TV Ring Record Career Record
Legends of Pro Wrestling