Professional wrestling has always had, and will always have its fair share of what if stories that’s the nature of the business. Adrian Adonis is a big what if story, after getting out of shape and being fired by the WWE and floating around the indies Adonis started to get himself clean from drugs, losing a lot of weight and started looking like the Adonis that burst onto the wrestling seen as a monster heel.
Adrian Adonis had returned from a successful trip to Japan, with the hope of being resigned to the WWE again after a stint wrestling in Canada, unfortunately for Adonis he was killed alongside two others in a car crash. He was just 34 years old and was in the prime of his life with his life back on track.
Adonis was always a talented man, charismatic and worked well in the ring and was genuinely tough he had the right look for the 1980s pro wrestling scene and was coming back from hitting rock bottom. It could have been a great comeback for Adonis, who was back on his game clean living in great shape.
If it wasn’t a second run with the then WWF, it could have been a big return to the spotlight in the NWA which was looking for names to push them forward before they became World Championship Wrestling under the Ted Turner broadcast banner.
The feuds that could have come from the second coming of Adrian Adonis in NWA could have been massive, a red-hot Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat, even Terry Funk. Adonis had the talent to be a big star for the NWA had the WWF not looked at bringing him back.
It’s sad to think that we lost Adonis real name Keith Adonis Franke at only 34, after he burst on the scene as a heel character of a brawling, leather jacket-clad biker before he became a flamboyant character and proclaimed to be the Adorable Adrian Adonis before his release.
While he was with AWA, he changed up his look, shaving his head but Adonis was still a shell of his former self before he went away and got back into shape. Adonis’ second coming was starting off with a bang, a solid tour of Japan where he teamed up with the likes of Dick Murdoch, Owen Hart, and D.J. Peterson.
Adonis and Murdoch unsuccessfully challenged Riki Choshu and Masa Saito for the IWGP Tag Team Championship on June 23rd, 1988, then on June 26th, 1988, teaming up with Murdoch against Kengo Kimura and Yoshiaki Fujiwara, which ended in a draw.
Sadly, on July 4th, 1988, in Lewisporte, Newfoundland Adrian Adonis would die in a car accident with Mike Kelly, Pat Kelly, and Dave McKigney. Allegedly Pat Kelly blinded by the sun would swerve to avoid a miss which caused the van to fall from the bridge into the creek below. Adonis suffered severe head injuries and died a few hours after the accident.
Mike Kelly would be the only survivor of the accident that claimed his twin brother, Adonis and Dave McKigney
The wrestling world would not see the second coming of Adrian Adonis which would have seen him gain redemption after things went downhill for him in the years prior. Adonis had the skills to be a top-level star, he was widely popular prior to beginning his run as ‘Adorable’ Adrian Adonis.
A successful second run would have seen Adrian Adonis challenging in the title picture either in NWA with Flair, Steamboat, and co, or back in the then WWF with Hogan, and co. Alas his second coming was to never be realised and we just have memories of his first stint and his small stint in Japan before heading back to Canada where he sadly was taken far too soon.