Easily one of the greatest, most decorated Canadian wrestlers ever, Rick Martel is as big of a class-act as they come too. He followed his brother, Michel, into the business.
RICK MARTEL STORIES
- May 16, 2015: Hall of Fame induction a Perfect night with a Model ending
- Nov. 27, 2014: Rick Martel proud of his PWHF induction
- Nov. 26, 2014: Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2015 announced
- Nov. 7, 2014: Martel DVD great — when it sticks to the timeline
- May 13, 2009: AWA World champion Rick Martel — 25 years later
- Mar. 19, 2009: Rick Martel’s Wrestlemania memories
- Apr. 3 1998: Rick Martel talks with SLAM! Wrestling
MICHEL MARTEL STORIES
- Oct. 11, 2004: Michel Martel: Forgotten great
Rick Martel, I think he kind of broke in out here with me. He got to be a very good performer. His brother was wrestling in Puerto Rico. Michel Martel. After a very hard match in Puerto Rico, he just collapsed and died on the way to the hospital.
Stu Hart, from a Nov. 1997 interview with SLAM! Wrestling
Rick Martel was the kind of wrestler who had the ability to be a very successful wrestler, but couldn’t assume the role of a superstar. What I remember the most of Rick Martel is his stupid gimmick of “The Model” in the WWF but before that he formed one of the best successful short-lived tag-team, Strike Force, with Tito Santana. But like we know, good tag teams always finish with a split and that happened with Strike Force — jealousy came in and the two split up. I know Rick was a very popular star in Quebec before jumping in the WWF in the 80’s. Today, he’s back in Quebec to do some promoting and wrestles less often.
The period from which I remember Rick Martel first was the time he was the American Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Champion, but more for the effect it had on a small area. At the time (1984-1985), Rick was splitting his time with the AWA, and a small federation (what would now be called “independent”), who prime feature (to me, at least) was having a weekly television show. It was Gino Brito’s “International Wrestling”. Known for being the starting area for such wrestlers as Dan
Kroffat (Phil LaFon), Tom Zenk, Dino Brito, (Headshrinker Samu and the Rougeau Brothers, as well as featuring other stars like “Dr. D.” Dave Schultz, Hercules Ayala & “Sadistic” Steve Strong (known elsewhere as Steve DiSalvo), and of course, the world famous Road Warriors. The interview I’ll remember most was a preview for a match of then-World Champion Martel vs. Steve Strong; as if to show how angry he was, Martel actually grabbed a beer bottle, and broke it over his forehead. He continued the interview with red blood pouring down his face. What I remember most about that time was how, before Martel lost the title, a small Montreal organization was on top of the world. Canadians saw the World and Tag champs on regular cards in their area. What could be better than that?
I met with Rick Martel while he did a show in Cloverdale B.C. He signed a picture that we had together and I can always remember what a nice guy he is.
Until Martel bailed out on Santana at Wrestlemania 5, he was my 4th favorite wrestler at the time. I didn’t know that he wrestled in 1980, but from what I read, he was a hell of a wrestler. Can-AM Connection wasn’t all that bad, and they proved that at Wrestlemania 3, but when Martel and Santana formed a tag team, they were unstoppable, and until they got stiffed at Wrestlemania 4, they were the best tag team at the time, and they are still my favorite tag team ever. When Martel turned heel, the only thing it did for him was give him a chance at the IC title, but he sucked as a heel. Either way, as a face, he is still one of my favorite wrestlers of all time.
The Leprachaun DE
I remember when he squirted Arrogance into Jake the Snake’s eyes, then wrestled him at WrestleMania 7 in a blind fold match.
My first memory of Rick Martel is his first tour with the WWF. He was tag-teaming with Tony Garea who was one of my favorite wrestlers when I was a kid and they won the WWWF tag-team titles. They remain one of my all time favorite tag teams. I met him while he was with the WWF as “the Model” but even as a heel he would always sign autographs and take time to talk to me after the matches. Rick is one of the true nice guys in the business. Today Tony works the WWF front offices and Rick has just signed with
I could always remember reading about his AWA title reign in magazines, just about the same time Hulk Hogan began his WWF title reign. Then he exploded on the WWF scene with the Tom Zenk and he made a big impression on my friends and I. Chico and Martel also did well together, but were no match for Demolition. His years as “the Model” were o.k, and I was pulling for either him or Dino Bravo to win the Intercontinental championship tourney that Curt Hennig won.
Well, let me start by saying that Rick Martel, was one of the finest athletes in the sport of professional wrestling. He took a lot of things in stride and always came out having a fun time, whether or not the fans liked him or not. I have to say, whenever he sprayed the can of ARROGANCE in Jake “The Snake” Roberts’ eyes, was a memory that will stand out to me, after the blindfold match that
Rick was to enter with Jake, I think he learn that you may get bite when you mess with a snake. But he will always be a fine person as well as a fine athlete.
Rick Martel was one of the WWF’s best superstars. Strike Force was robbed of the titles so Demolition could look bad ass. Even as a soloist, his match with Jake Roberts was a classic.
I always liked to watch Rick Martel in action. I read a lot about his so-called decline in ability as “The Model”. I recall him still doing amazing cartwheels and dropkicks that so little evidence in that statement. I think that “The Model” gimmick provided him with Limited Potential (aka Double J gimmick) that wasn’t deserving to such an athlete and felt that the WWF jobbed him to other athletes.
I was lucky enough to attend Wrestlemania 6 in Toronto. Obviously Martel’s match was not the highlight of the night. He squared off against Koko B Ware. Koko started the match off quite well. Then Martel slapped on a Boston Crab and Koko tapped out. I also saw the model fight in Belleville against Razor Ramone (Scott Hall). The Model had the Crab on him but Razor ended up winning the match.
My fondest memory of Rick Martel was when I took a vacation down to Cocoa Beach in 1993. I was at a bar buying a drink when all of a sudden a great eruption exploded through the door. All I heard was, “Ha ha ha ha ha! A beer for me and a beer for my buddy Blackie! Hey Mitter Tulu, Ta ta ha ta hi tat ti ta, ha ha ha ha ha!” Then he threw about twenty foxtails on the bar and bought beers for everyone. What a great guy! But as Rick always said, “Dut don’t tut de long flow gold lock, you looder!”
My fondest memory of Martel was the BlindFold match at WrestleMania against Jake Roberts.. Martel put up a good fight.. but as usual he jobbed to The DDT!
I met Rick Martel in Hawaii back in the late 70’s after a wrestling match. He had just defeated Tor Kamata in a “vengeance” match. After the lights came on, me and a couple of friends ventured back to the locker rooms seeking pictures and autographs. We were pleasantly surprised to find that Rick Martel and the rest of the wrestlers (heels included) were very personable. I had the opportunity to have been included in a group polaroid which included Rick, Sammy Steamboat, “Superstar” Steve Strong, Tor Kamata, and Chief Billy Whitewolf. The picture was taken by then-New England Patriot Russ Francis, who wrestled in the offseason. Rick took the time to make sure that me and my buddies questions were answered. Rick, if your reading this, welcome back!
Rick Martel has always been one of my favorite wrestlers. I go back to his tag team with Tony Garea in the late 70’s. To this day, I think the Martel-Garea team was the greatest scientific tag team the WWF has ever had. I had a chance to follow him as AWA champion through the Pro Wrestling USA show and thought he did a wonderful job in and out of the ring. Even through his days as the “Model,” Martel was always a fun wrestler to watch. Hopefully he’ll come back soon from his injuries. By the way, it’s amazing to me that, except for his body structure, Martel looks exactly the same as he did in the 70’s.
When I heard that Rick Martel was coming back, i was overjoyed! He was my favorite wrestler growing up as a kid. I used to watch him on a local show (in Montreal) with Dino Bravo, Abdullah the butcher and the very young Rougeau brothers. When i was watching, he used to be the AWA champ….the day he lost the title to Stan Hansen…i think i cried! But he made the eventual jump to the WWf, that was cool, and i was really excited when he won the tag team belts with Tito Santana….Then he did
that unfortunate turn as the Model. But i still had fond memories… So when i saw Rick Martel back in his first match, all those memories call flooding back.. it’s as he was never gone! The flips,
the cartwheels and that unforgettable Boston Crab! All delivered in top form! So welcome back Mr Martel! I wish you all the success when you get back! Thanks for all the memories!
My proudest memories of Rick Martel was when he first teamed with popular star Tito Santana to form Strike Force. I vividly recall the match that had Strike Force (Rick & Tito) against the Hart Foundation (Bret & Anvil) for the WWF tag team title. The moment Rick slapped the Boston Crab on Anvil, I knew Strike Force had the belts won. When Rick and Tito won the WWF tag team belts, I couldn’t have been any happier. Rick and Tito, you made me real proud!!
Leonard J. Weirich
I met Rick in a convention a few years ago….he was cool as hell and had a pleasant personality. He told of his interest in WCW…and in my book is one of the Greatest in the history of the sport.
Even though I am from Quebec city, I never had the chance to meet Rick Martel ! But …..I always did follow his career with a lot of interest ! I remember most of the events that have been related in here !
I have to say one thing about Rick, He is one of the most complete wrestler I have seen ! I mean by that, that he can be a bad guy and as well as good guy and always give a stunning performance ! And even though it did sadden me to see him turn his back at Strike force and become the Model , I did learn to like the Model and his arrogance ! That does tell a lot about the acting performance that Rick is
capable of ! Now that he is in WCW, I see nothing but great things that can happen ! hmmmmmmmm ! I think that a match against Disco Inferno would be pretty funny ! Good luck Rick and come back soon and in shape ! From a fellow Quebecers cheering for ya !
I started watching wrestling in late 1989 (WWF) when I was only
13 yrs old. Rick Martel was always one of my favourites, and I
loved the phony Arrogance commercials when he was on the
tennis court or with chicas in the dressing room. His matches were
often the highlights of Prime Time Wrestling on Friday nights (vs.
Tito Santana, Red Rooster, Hercules, Paul Roma, Marty Janetty
and others in 1990) I also thought it was very fun when Martel
came out after having blinded Jake the Snake with Arrogance and
asked him “How many fingers am I holding up” and then slapped
Jake with that hand.
Since I was I kid in the 70s, Rick Martel has long been my
favorite wrestler. As a face, he was unbeatable, and exciting to
watch. From his tag titles, to the AWA world title, to his too short
stint as WCW TV champ, Martels success has always been as a
face. The bookers who were trying to make him heel again should
understand and harness Martel’s abilities. He is the quintessential
“face,” like Flair is the quintessential bad guy.
My memories of Rick Martel date back to the late 70’s during his
tour of Australia and New Zealand. My grandmother, GOD bless
her soul, got me interested in wrestling from the age of 4 and I’ve
been following it ever since for over 32 years. Rick when he
arrived was this young, new exciting talent which both my
grandmother and I loved. His style, athleticism and ability always
stayed in my mind. No matter what image or gimmick he has
these days, that is the Rick Martel I’ll always remember. He would
have to be up in the best 5 – 10 wrestlers I’ve ever had the
pleasure to have seen.
T. A. Hooper
I started watching wrestling when I was 12 years old, and that
was almost 18 years ago. It was during the peak of the Garea-
Martel team and I have been a Rick Martel fan ever since. I’ve
always wanted to send him a letter to let him know how popular
he was in Manila, unfortunately, I couldn’t find his addy or any
wrestling magazine by that time. I just hope Rick could read this.
Message to Rick Martel: I’ve always wanted to let you know that
you’ve got a (very loyal) big fan here in Manila, Philippines. When
the local TV stations stopped showing WWF, I felt the world turned
against me. But thanks to the internet… I can now get news about
you 🙂 and special thanks to SLAM! as well, for the news. I hope
you get well. And if you happen to talk to Tony Garea, please tell
him that he still isn’t forgotten by his Filipino fans. We Love you
both and God bless!
Maria Cristina Jasmine
I remember watching the AWA on TV as a child. Martel was just
about to lose the title to Stan Hansen. He seemed like a great
wrestler in great condition. I enjoyed watching his title defenses
and I was heartbroken when my dad told me that he lost the title
to Hansen. I cried because I didn’t really know about the business.
I didn’t understand how a guy who wrestled for the fans could ever
His later years in the sport were mixed with triumph and
disappointment. I loved Strike Force,but I was shocked when he
turned on Tito at WM5. I didn’t feel like supporting him
anymore….that is,until he came back to WCW. I can’t believe he
injured his knee. Rick Martel,wherever you’re at,get well soon
because we miss you.
I was at the first Georgia Dome Nitro show when Rick Martel
made his 1998 WCW debut. When I heard Dave Penzer introduce
him the initial reaction in the stands was “Why are they bringing
back this fossil?” Imagine our surprise when Rick came into the
arena in (arguably) the best shape of his career. Not only had he
lost extra muscle bulk he carried during his WWF days, he had
regained the bright smile that I recognized from early in his career.
His return match was crisp and exciting and I was looking forward
to watching many of his matches in the future. His unfortunate
knee accident some weeks later ended the comeback bid- I am
glad that I had the opportunity to see him wrestle live at least
once. If Rick can carry over his enthusiasm and smile into his Real
Estate ventures, he should have no problem being as successful
in that arena as he has been in the squared circle.
I have to say that Rick Martel was an still is my favourite wrestler
of all time. I started to follow wrestling in the late 80`s, and I was
immediately fascinated by “The Model”. Later I have seen tapes of
older matches involving Martel, including Can-Am
Connection/Strike Force matches. I have only fond memories of a
great personality, great smile and tremendous wrestling ability. A
true great of the sport, and my eyes, an unsung hero. Rick, if you
read this, you are the greatest ever.
The best matches with Rick:
1. Rick vs Shawn Michaels SS`92
2. Rick vs Bret Hart WWF Title Match `93
3. Rick as he came back and won a battle royal to gain a IC shot
Rune Eresberg, Norway
Greatest memory of Rick Martel? Was when he was with the best
tag team that I have ever seen. The Strike Force. Just before
Survivor Series 87, I loved watching Jim Neidhart submitting to
the Boston Crab, winning the tag team titles for Strike Force. To
this day, Strike Force are still my most favorite tag team of all time.
Derek M. Ellis
I remember watching Rick Martel and Tito Santana as Strike
Force in the WWF in the mid-80’s. They were my favorite team in
the WWF at the time. I was happy to see him in WCW last year
and felt disappointed when he retired. I thought it was great that
he was involved in a feud with such good wrestlers as Booker T.
and Saturn and not involved in the NWO junk. I was glad to see
that he had kept himself in good physical condition. I consider him
one of the greats of the last twenty years and he will always be
one of my all time favorites.
Many great wrestlers have come out of Canada throughout the
years, but none with as much class and style as Rick Martel. I
have had the opportunity to meet Rick on a number of occasions
and he was always a gentleman and always very receptive to the
fans. The part that amazed me was he always knew fans by their
first name. Congratulations on a fine career Rick, you are a true
My favorite memory was his stunning victory over the Hart
Foundation to capture gold with Tito Santana as Strike Force.
Till this day, I’ll never forget his great big smile after victories and
his ever famous “jumping jacks” in the ring. I am a hardcore fan
and it was a disappointment when I heard that he retired. I was
I wish the best of luck to Rick…I’ll never forget you!
Your greatest fan, Stephanie
Rick Martel, as I remember him was a wrestler who could come
out every match and gave it 110%, win or lose. He worked good
as a single as well as a tag-team. He wasn’t the biggest but in his
mind he was the biggest and the baddest. He would amaze the
audience match with his athletic ability. Him and Tito Santana
climbed to the top to finally win the Tag-team titles.
I met Rick Martel when I was fourteen years old and he came to
Cloverdale,B.C. My brother had recently passed away and I knew
Rick had lost his brother, too. I talked with him a bit about it and
he’s the nicest guy. I hope I meet him again some day.
I have been watching wrestling since I was just a child. So I have
seen many, many, wrestlers come and go. Rick Martel is one of
the finest athletes that I have watched. I met Rick in the early 80’s
when he first came to St. Louis. He has been one of my favorites
ever since. Not only is he a great wrestler, he is a true gentleman.
And no matter how long it has been he always remembers you. I
haven’t seen him for several years now, but Rick, whatever you
are doing these days, I wish you well. I still think you are the
Darla from St. Louis
Strike Force was one of the best teams. But my greatest memory
of him is back in Hull, Quebec, in the International Wrestling. It
was Wednesday, June 25th (I don’t remember the year). He had
already lost his A.W.A. title and was now in a feud against one of
my best heels: Steve Strong. I knew at that time what wrestling
was all about, but I was 100% sure that Ricky Martel really hated
Steve Strong and wanted to kill him. It was a good match but it
ended with Martel getting disqualified for using a chair that Steve
Strong had threw in the ring. Another good memory of him is
watching him teaming up with Austin Idol against the Road
Back in the mid-70’s I had a chance to watch great match that
pitted Rick Martel and Tito Santana face the than tag champs
Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzel at Civic Center in St Paul. All four
wrestlers put on a show with more different holds a high flying
action that kept the fans on the edge of their seats for over sixty
minutes it ended in a draw. I followed Rick when he wrestled in
the WWF for Vince McMahon as the Model he played the heel
part very well action like a real villain with his manager Sherry
Martel. Any fan of the sport and any wrestler will tell you Rick
always gave his all in the ring.
I saw Martel wrestle Stan Hansen at White Sox Park on one of
Gagne’s “Pro Wrestling USA” combined AWA/NWA shows,
several years before I ever heard of Dave Meltzer. I always
wondered how Dave would have rated the card and this match.
Martel and Hansen brawled all over the infield with the bull rope
and cowbell if I remember correctly. I presume there must have
been if you wads of tobacco juice on home plate as well. I
remember being surprised and impressed by Martel’s brawling
ability. I would like to see the match again since I have been
reading the Observer for approximately 12 years.
I remember Rick as being a great wrestler. I could watch the man
perform all day, he was good. Even though I don’t get to see him
any more I’ll always remember the Can-am connection, Strike
Force, even The Model. You don’t see workers like Martel much
anymore. They’re a dying breed.
What I remember most about Rick Martel was The Model
gimmick I think it was funny I don’t know why he didn’t win any
titles with the gimmick the thing I remember about the gimmick
was on the Brother Love show when he sprayed Jake Roberts in
the eyes with his arrogance perfume bottle leading up to there
blind fold match at Wrestlemania VII.Martel did some funny stuff in
that match like missing a elbow after Roberts had moved out of
the way 4 seconds earlier or grabbing a chair and pumping into a
post and thinking it’s Roberts and whacking the post with the chair
and hurting his hands there’s other memories I cherish like at
Wrestlemania V when he walked out on Tito Santana during there
match with The Brainbusters. It was a great long run Rick.
Le no. 1 est quand je l’ai rencontrer sur la terrasse Dufferin a
Quebec sympathique et genereux de son temps. Le 2e est le
match avec Dino Bravo comme partner contre les Road Warriors
Hawk and Animal au Colisee de Quebec tout un combat qui ses
terminer dans un free for all terrible les chaise de bois volait dans
l’arene match nul. Le no 3 est le match entre Rick Martel
champion AWA contre Ric Flair champion NWA au Colisee de
I remember Rick Martel from the AWA wrestling when wrestled
wrestlers such as Jimmy Jam Garvin and most of those matches
was for AWA heavyweight title when Martel was the champion and
then from there he went to the WWF and teamed up with the ZMan
and they were called the Can-Am Connection and then from
there he teamed up with Tito Santana and they were called Strike
Force. When they broke up he became The Model Rick Martel
and that creature he left the WWF and wrestled from Grand Prix
Wrestling and he teamed up Don Callis they were called the
Super Models. I met Rick Martel when he was in Grand Prix
Wrestling and pretty nice and from he went to WCW and he
defeated Perry Saturn for WCW world TV belt and after that I
never saw Rick Martel since then. I hope Rick comes back
sometime in the future.
A great memory I have of Rick Martel is when he tagged with
Tony Garea, which I feel in my day they were an super tag team —
the youth from a vibrant Martel and the experience and ring savvy
veteran from Garea. They had each others backs. When they beat
the Samoans at the Philadelphia Spectrum, I was 11 years old at
the time and I was very excited that they beat this very tough tag
team. It was a few weeks later when I experienced roller coaster
of emotions. WWF would come on every Saturday morning on
WLVI channel 56. I’d be in front of that TV religiously. One
Saturday, Martel and Garea had to defend their titles against the
Moondogs, the match was in the momentum of the team of Garea
and Martel but the Moondogs got control of the match by working
on Garea and keeping him from making a tag. The ending went
like this — the two teams got into a fist of cuffs, Martel got Spot
into the Boston crab while Garea was keeping Rex at bay with a
dose of right hands. While the ref was distracted by the Garea and
Rex, Capt. Albano came in and cold-cocked Martel over the
noggin with a dogbone and Spot covered him for the 1-2-3. I was
devastated and so disgusted on how the Moondogs won the
straps, but that is okay because they announced next week due to
the result of the match their would be a rematch. I jumped out of
my chair salivating for next week’s matchup — let’s say I was so
pumped up that particular week, when school ran, it was the
longest week of my life. Then came that fateful Saturday morning,
the rematch I’d been waiting for. Let’s get to the ending — it was
almost a rewind from last week except when all four wrestlers got
it on in the squared circle, Garea had Rex in a bent-over position,
hitting him with forearms to the back and coming from behind was
Spot who was ready to knock out Garea with the dogbone. I said
to myself ‘not again’, the camera went right to Martel who was on
the top turnbuckle as Spot was ready to hit Garea with the bone,
Martel did a sunset flip onto Spot and covered him for the 1-2-3!!! I
was jumping up an down doing the jumping jacks like Martel in
crazy celebration. I was very loud and I had alot of energy to
expend for the rest of the day!!!
Thanks for the memories Rick.
Steven from Boston
My memories of Rick Martel goes back to the late 70’s when we
had Wrestling Hawaii. My family and I used to buy ringside seats
at the Neal Blaisdell Arena whenever Rick was in town wrestling
in front of the Hawaii fans. He was my favorite wrestler and still is!
I started a memory book filled with photos of Rick Martel, Ed
Francis, Russ Francis, Bill Francis (who I just met at the Hawaii
Hall of Fame when Bill accepted an award for his brother Russ
Francis), Don Muraco, Clayton Rodrigues, Siva Afi, the Missing
Link, Sammy Steamboat, etc. in the late 70s and and I still bring it
out to look at the photos and remember the good old days of
wrestling. Much luck to him in his future wrestling matches!
Aloha, Wendy Young
I guess after following Rick through his AWA championship years
and then his success in the WWF, I’d have to rank the blindfold
match he had with Koko B. Ware as one of my favorites- that and
when he stole Tatanka’s feathers.
My two favorite memories of Rick Martel when he Took on Jake
Roberts at Wrestlemania 7 in a blindfold match and When he and
Razor Ramon won the Battle Royal to advance to see who would
win the Intercontinental Championship on Monday Night Raw.
Rick Martel was a great all around wrestler. I watched him when
he first joined the WWF. Him and Tony Garea were a great tag
team. So were Strike Force. The Model gimmick was ok but I think
he would have been better off with Santana. Martel was a great
tag team wrestler.
Fantastic interview with Martel.
I’m from England and always remember Rick Martel being my
favourite wrestler. An excellent all rounder I think he needed his
time as the Model to get the all round recognition but I agree he
was at his peak in the Can-Am connection.
My memory of Rick Martel was blindfold match between Rick
Martel and Jake “The Snake” Roberts which was feuded by Martel
spraying Roberts in the eye with “arrogance” when Jake was
supposed to blind so Jake caught Martel in the match and DDT’ed