There might be an understandable tendency to overlook Wales as having contributed anything much glam to the world. Steve Strange, one of the leading figures on London's early 80's New Wave scene didn’t exactly go out of his way to advertise that he was from Porthcawl.
Did anyone know that 90’s glam rock band Tygertailz were Welsh ... does anyone even remember ever being grabbed by Tygertailz?
So a Welsh, glam wrester might seem pretty unlikely? Perhaps the limelight tights were more often monopolized by the bizarre costuming of Mexico’s Lucha Libre. Perhaps all glam cams were pointed at Gorgeous George, or covering Hulk Hogan during The World Wrestling Federation's heyday of the 80’s.
In the media, the Welsh profile tended to focus on Druid rituals, or beautifully voiced choirs of coaldust-decorated miners. Wales was seen as a repressed, rugby football playing land of Presbyterian towns where the pubs closed on Sunday. To ignorant English ears the Welsh language made Urdu seem like a doddle. In later years Wales was seen as a hilly Tolkeinian paradise where nomadic gangs of cider-swilling bikers terrorized church goers and hippyies alike, roaring hogs through the fields of stunted, damp marijuana crops, dotted here and there among the ruins of cottages being fixed up by Londoners with more money than brain cells.
So meet champion of Welsh glam, the mighty Welsh wrestler Adrian Street. Street was born in Brynmawr in Brecknockshire in 1940 into a coal mining family. He began body building as a teenager and used wrestling as a way to escape mining town life. His first professional wrestling match was in 1957, when under the name Kid Tarzan Jonathan, he defeated Geoff Moran. One night he reacted to a homophobic taunt from the audience and discovered that he got way more reaction by "playing a poof" as he put it.
By the 1970s he had developed his “Exotic” Adrian Street character as that of a flamboyantly gay character. His wrestling costume involved pastels and glitter face makeup, he wore his bleached hair in mini-pigtails. One of his signature moves in the ring was to escape being pinned down by trying to kiss opponents. Once he had an opponent disabled he would often try to put makeup on them.
Working primarily as a heel or bad guy, Street traveled the world, wrestling in Germany, Canada and Mexico. In the UK, he formed a tag partnership with fellow heel Bobby Barnes and they became the Hells Angels.
In 1969 Street met his future manager/valet and real-life wife Miss Linda. The two formed a highly successful double-act where Miss Linda became one of professional wrestling's first female valets. She frequently participated as an accomplice to Street's in-ring shenanigans.
So be careful next time you’re out on the town in Pontypridd, you might find yourself in a half-a nelson with a gobful of Revlon.
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