A: Steve Adonis
Steve Adonis was a North American visitor who only just edged his way in to the Heritage years as a result of his 1988 visit, invited over by Brian Dixon for All Star Promotions. Indeed, in his televised knockout win over Sandy Scott on 26th November, 1988 (recorded 24th August) he was the last wrestler to make his debut on ITV wrestling two week before the plug was pulled.
“Are you trying to say I killed wrestling on British TV?” asked Steve. Most certainly not. Nationwide fans were fortunate to see the Canadian babyface before the sport vanished from our screens. Steve had arrived in Britain just the day before he made his way to Bedworth for his debut against Scott. There was no time for jet lag. Brian Dixon wanted to give his American pin-up national exposure before appearances around the halls. Here was an American hero brought over to do good and vanquish villains. Nowhere as mundane sounding as Steve's home city of Toronto would do for Brian's new kid on the block, much more glamorous to bill him from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. No, we didn't ask if Steve had actually visited.
Prior to his arrival Steve had been working in Ontario alongside Johnny K9, Hartford Love, The Wolfman, Rocky Dellasara, Adrian Adonis. It wasn’t the name Steve Adonis that was familiar to North American fans. They knew him as Steve E. Ocean. The new identity had been chosen by Brian Dixon before his arrival, “I didn't like the Adonis moniker, but it was in the magazine by the time I arrived in your country and I was stuck with it. It was a tough one for a babyface to work under. I would have preferred Ocean. Then again I guess there was the great Jimmy Ocean.”
So, Steve Adonis it was and he proved a popular addition to wrestling bills around the halls. A frequent opponent was Kendo Nagasaki, “Working with Kendo on several occasions was memorable. Not to mention his tag partner the great Blondie Barrett!! We here in North America didn't focus as much on technical wrestling.” Other regular opponents included Skull Murphy, Rob Brookside, Rollerball Rocco and the aforementioned Scott. On 13th October, 1988 Steve wrestled Marty Jones in Oldham, with the local wrestlers World Mid Heavyweight title at stake. There could be only result. Steve couldn’t be allowed to remove Marty’s belt from the country and he dutifully went down.
At the end of the year Steve returned home to work for All Star Wrestling in Vancouver. Later in the year he was back, based in Britain until May, 1990, followed by a third visit in 1991. From his British base he did venture further afield, wrestling in Belgium, France, Norway, Singapore, Malaysia and Dubai.
Most of Steve’s work was for All Star, the main promoters in the country at the time, though we also find him working for Orig Williams, giving him the opportunity to wrestle on television once again in the only country of the United Kingdom that it was still broadcast, Wales. Steve appeared twice on the Welsh Reslo programme, a great match against Tony St Clair at Mertyhyr Tydfil in March, 1990 and a bit of a mauling from Giant Haystacks at Beaumaris in March, 1991.
Steve has many happy memories of his time in Britain and recounted one of them. “Four of us were headed to Pwllheli on a Thursday night for the Friday camp show; myself, Brookside, Doc Dean and our driver, who's name escapes me at the moment. Anyhow, the car broke down in the hills of Wales at 10:00 at night. Our driver stayed with his car while the three of us decided the show must go on. So we walked 5-10 miles. It was so dark you couldn't see the white line in the middle of the road. There were haunted sounding sheep baaing at us. We arrived in a small town and found an abandoned train car. Covered in cardboard, we froze until morning. We got the bus the next morning, had some hot dogs (with that terrible British mustard) and found our way to Butlins and on with the show.”
Wandering amongst the sheep of North Wales in the dead of night was certainly a long way from Steve’s beginnings. Brought up in Toronto he caught the wrestling bug from his father who was a huge wrestling fan. Father and son watched the wrestling at fairs around Ontario and the bog shows at Maple Leaf Gardens, where his favourites were Tex McKenzie, Pampero Firpo and the Beast, names known to many Heritage readers through the pages of the American magazines we bought in the 1960s and 1970s. With other diversions as a teenager Steve lost interest in wrestling until a friend enticed him back. Liking what he saw he joined Mack’s gym in Toronto, which had been training body builders, boxers and wrestlers since 1946. Owner of the gym was Mack Miya, at one time said to be, pound for pound, the strongest man in the world. With a year’s high school wrestling as a foundation Steve learned the rudiments of professional wrestling and a career that was to bring him to North Wales on that cold, dark night.
On his return to Canada in 1991 Steve wrestled only a few dozen or so matches before retiring, promoting wrestling, working outside the business and bringing up his two daughters with his wife.
Join Steve and his family celebrating his 50th birthday in 2013.
Page added 16/1/19