LAS VEGAS – In the make-believe world of pro wrestling, reality can often seem out of place. But Friday night, “The Exotic One” Adrian Street stunned a captive audience by proposing to his companion of 35 years, Miss Linda.
In front of a room of friends at a Baloney Blowout during the annual Cauliflower Alley Club reunion at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Street talked a little about his childhood before popping the question.
As a teen in England in a family of coalminers, Street was into bodybuilding, but recalled buying a wrestling magazine for a friend who was a wrestling fan; “I happened to notice a boxing and wrestling magazine in the store. I bought that for my friend Peter,” Street said, starting to choke up. “I took that book home, and damn was I hooked, damn was I hooked. My heroes were Buddy Rogers, the Stanlee Brothers, the Tolos Brothers, the Grahams, Killer Kowalski, Yukon Eric, Antonino Rocca, and my favorite of all time, Don Leo Jonathan. You guys, you rescued me. In my life — I’ve never met some of you — but you meant SO much to me, so much to me. You gave meaning to my life.”
Street left home at 16, not wanting to work in the coal mine and became a pro wrestler in 1957, as Kid Tarzan Jonathon, in tribute to his hero.
Looking around at the gathered crowd, including former world champions and stars of tomorrow, Street, wearing a white ladies wig to cover his bald head after a bout with cancer, tearfully choked out the question. “I would say that it doesn’t get better than this, but there’s one thing that can top this, my friend, my love (Linda) marrying me.”
After establishing that Linda did indeed say yes, it was announced that Don Leo Jonathan would be the best man, and Father Jason “Wolflman” Sanderson will marry them Saturday.
Before leaving the podium, the cross-dressing Street joked, “I don’t want any cracks about same sex marriages!”
After meal of cold cuts and salads ended, Miss Linda — looking the same as she had for years heading to the ring with Adrian Street (minus the big boots) — talked to SLAM! Wrestling.
“It was quite a shock … We sort of never really thought about [getting married] very seriously,” she said. “It’ll be really nice to do it, to do the deed.”
Linda was not sure what she was going to wear, let alone what someone with such exotic tastes as her fiance would wear. “He brought a fancy suit with him, one with peacocks down the side!” And like her long-time partner, she too was quick with a flash of wit. “What about a pre-nup?”
Earlier in the evening, Nick Bockwinkel laid it on the line, instructing the hundreds in attendance to try to appreciate today’s wrestling and wrestlers.
“I see high risk moves that they couldn’t have bribed me to do,” Bockwinkel said. “They’re on the front line today … we should welcome them.”
In another few years, he said, today’s stars from TNA and WWE will be welcome at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunions. A second generation star himself, Bockwinkel heaped praise on wrestling families like the Guerreros (with Mando Guerrero in attendance), and the Ortons, saying how the talent ramped up from Bob Orton Sr. (who was in at the CAC in the afternoon), to Bob Orton Jr. to current WWE star Randy Orton.
Saturday night is the 40th annual CAC banquet, honoring the likes of Terry Funk, Jack Brisco, Les Thatcher and Ernie Ladd.
ADRIAN STREET LINKS
- Sep. 11, 2020: Director of ‘The Adrian Street Story’ finds inspiration in her subject’s tale
- Aug. 15, 2020: ‘The Adrian Street Story’ chronicles one of wrestling’s most exotic characters
- Sep. 11, 2005: Guest column: Adrian Street pays tribute to The Gladiators