© 2013 Rob. All rights reserved.

“Gentleman” Chris Adams


Acrylic and spray on 24″ x 24″ wood

“Gentleman” Chris Adams brought his legitimate martial arts background into wrestling, creating move sets that are integral to the sport today. Born 1955 in England, Adams’ youth was spent competing in many sports, but mostly focused on judo. He and his brother Neil won both national and world championships in the sport, with Neil winning silver medals at the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympics, and Chris being a member of the 1976 British Olympic judo squad, though he did not compete at the games. Chris began wrestling in the UK in 1978, before moving to Los Angeles in 1981 to compete for judo legends Mike and Gene LeBell’s wrestling organization. He won NWA gold there, and would go on to tour Japan, Europe, Mexico and Canada.

In 1983 he was recruited by Fritz Von Erich to World Class Championship Wrestling. He had a feud with Kamala, a longer one with Jimmy Garvin and also frequently tagged with Kerry and Kevin Von Erich. In 1984 he turned heel when he became associated with manager Gary Hart and went on to feud with the Von Erichs in some brutal matches. In 1985 he became a ‘tweener’ and feuded with everyone on the WCCW roster. In 1986 he defeated Rick Rude for the WCCW World Heavyweight Title, before leaving the company a few months later and being stripped of the title.

For the next ten years Adams worked as a journeyman wrestler, taking bookings on the independent scene while also still appearing for WCCW. In 1988 he opened his wrestling school, where he trained a young Steve Williams, who would go on to become “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Adams also worked for World Championship Wrestling from 1997 to 1999, primarily putting over other wrestlers in their matches. Chris Adams died in late 2001.

About the piece: I had other plans for how this piece was going to look when I started it. I had a more graphic, high-concept idea in mind. After adding those elements I was utterly unimpressed with the final product and removed all of them. I then went in another direction that didn’t work either and ended up just going with a straight-up portrait, albeit in a limited color palette. Que sera, sera.

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