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Forgotten Legends35: Rick "The Model" Martel

3455 Views 18 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  GNR4LIFE
Popularly known as The Model, atleast for the WWE fans alone, he had a big career spanning over 26 years and with 20 titles and amateur background debuting at the age of 16 in professional wrestling.

He started out wrestling for Stu Hart and then moved on to other promotions around the world before coming to NWA where he had his biggest successes. He was quick to rise to the top winning world heavyweight singles titles before being picked up by WWF in 1980 quickly gaining the tag titles with Tony Garea from Wild Samoans and a second run defeating the MoonDogs who won it from them. He was quick to leave WWF, presumably because he was not in the world heavyweight scene in spite of putting in two years.

He moved on to AWA where he ascended to win the World Heavyweight titles within a year and half and held the belt for 19 months feuding with Garvin, Ric Flair for NWA title vs title, Nick Bockwinkel, Tonga Fifita and Stan Hansen before dropping the title to Hansen.

He came back to WWF in 1986 along with Zenk forming the Can-Am connection moving close the win the Tag titles before Zenk left because Martel negotiated a better deal for himself than Zenk leaving Martel to team with Santana forming Strike Force which won the title from Hart Foundation and held it for 5 months losing it to Demolition.

He came back after a kayfabe injury taking a break reforming the team but eventually turning heel becoming the famed The Model. He feuded with Jake the snake Roberts, Tatanka and Shawn Michaels, all midcarders then, slowly being pushed out to lower card with him being unhappy in the direction he was being taken as well as Vince being unhappy with the pay he was dishing out and eventually, Martel signed with WCW.

He won the WCW TV title quickly from Booker T but got a career ending injury within a couple of years ending his career before he moved on to Real Estate leaving wrestling for good.

Having been 4 time world heavyweight champion in AWA and NWA other than winning titles all around promotions, he is a forgotten Legend now only popular for his least successful run, The Model.
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Re: Forgotten Legends35: Richard Vigneault

When doing these threads i would advise to use the wrestlers on screen name as i doubt a lot of people will realise this is even a thread about Rick Martel seeing as you have put Richard Vigneault instead. On topic though and Rick Martel was a great in ring worker whether he worked as a tag team wrestler with Tom Zenk or Tito Santana or as a singles wrestler and whilst he achieved success as a singles wrestler prior to joining WWE he never achieved the success he should have done as a mid carder in WWE.

Unfortunately for Rick Martel he was around as a singles wrestler at a time when The Ultimate Warrior was Intercontinental champion and being built up as the new top babyface which meant outside of a brief reign for Rick Rude no one else could be Intercontinental champion due to The Ultimate Warrior being booked dominantly. Once The Ultimate Warrior had dropped the title after beating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6 it was pretty much too late for Rick Martel because WWE had Dusty Rhodes, Jake Roberts, Ted DiBiase, Curt Hennig, Kerry Von Erich and The Big Boss Man all ahead of him and outside of a great feud heading into WrestleMania 7 with Jake Roberts basically the rest of Rick Martel's WWE career was spent as a talent enhancement.
 

· FAKE HAPPY
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Re: Forgotten Legends35: Richard Vigneault

Never liked Rick Martel, for some reason. But he was a great heel.

Off topic, Forgotten Legends is a great series. I'm legit surprised, that it get's so little attention.
 

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Re: Forgotten Legends35: Richard Vigneault

I liked Rick Martel a lot. I was a big fan in 1993, and saw two WWF houseshows in the UK. Both nights he wrestled the best match of the night, and even though I wasn't necessarily a fan before seeing him live, afterwards I was raving about how good he was. He was a great performer and really great at working up the crowds. I wish they'd utilized him a little bit more in 1993-1994. I reckon they should've paired him up with Tito Santana again in 1994; they could've got some real mileage from it, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
When doing these threads i would advise to use the wrestlers on screen name as i doubt a lot of people will realise this is even a thread about Rick Martel seeing as you have put Richard Vigneault instead. On topic though and Rick Martel was a great in ring worker whether he worked as a tag team wrestler with Tom Zenk or Tito Santana or as a singles wrestler and whilst he achieved success as a singles wrestler prior to joining WWE he never achieved the success he should have done as a mid carder in WWE.

Unfortunately for Rick Martel he was around as a singles wrestler at a time when The Ultimate Warrior was Intercontinental champion and being built up as the new top babyface which meant outside of a brief reign for Rick Rude no one else could be Intercontinental champion due to The Ultimate Warrior being booked dominantly. Once The Ultimate Warrior had dropped the title after beating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 6 it was pretty much too late for Rick Martel because WWE had Dusty Rhodes, Jake Roberts, Ted DiBiase, Curt Hennig, Kerry Von Erich and The Big Boss Man all ahead of him and outside of a great feud heading into WrestleMania 7 with Jake Roberts basically the rest of Rick Martel's WWE career was spent as a talent enhancement.
Good suggestion there, I was just curious and was baiting to see how many of them are interested in the thread series than the person but I guess there are not many who are into history.

Never liked Rick Martel, for some reason. But he was a great heel.

Off topic, Forgotten Legends is a great series. I'm legit surprised, that it get's so little attention.
It takes time to catch up, besides history need not be as interesting to everyone as it is to some of us.

Currently, Am doing the thread for my own satisfaction doing ample research for each post. Having said that, I would love it if the thread/series becomes hot. I guess it is more about my patience and perseverance than anything else.
 

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I never liked Martel and mostly remember him from participating in one of the worst Wrestlemania matches of all time.


Don't know much about him pre-WWE but from the first time I saw this guy wrestle, I didn't like him. And the only time he was ever tolerable to me was in Royal Rumble's or battle royals.
 

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Never liked Martel either...

For the life of me I still have no clue why the AWA went with him as their World Champion.

I think a lot of wrestling fans overlook the fact that in the territorial era the AWA was considered a World Title....and for many years it was held in much higher esteem than the WWF title, that is a fact.

The AWA title was still a major deal when Martel had it, even if the WWF had started it's talent acquisitions.

This is why I questioned the AWA.

1. Martel's accent improved with time especially by his "model" days, but in the AWA he was horrid on the mic.
2. The "pretty boy" good guys of the era rarely held world titles. It just did not work, the champion in my opinion needed to work strong, and the pretty boys of the era relied on getting sympathy.
3. The AWA champ, although their territory did not include many associated territories like the NWA, had to tour and defend the belt in other regions. He had to go to Chicago, Memphis, Las Vegas, etc...where the top faces of their territories got shots at the champ. This meant Martel was forced to work heel in those areas, since that was the prevalent system of the day. This led to confussion, as Martel was smiling and waving on AWA television, and cheating and trying to get heat against other faces in the associated territories. This is why Bockwinkle worked and Martel did not.
4. He was to that point seen as a tag team guy although he had a decent NWA run, still it made the AWA title look weaker at a time when Hogan and Flair ruled the world. They really needed someone better.
Just some thoughts.....I think most of us older fans remember him best as the guy who should not have been AWA World Champion.
 

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Rick Martel is one of my favorite wrestlers ever. Fucking awesome heel.

Also, I am not sure where you get your list of 'forgotten wrestlers' from but a lot of the ones you have listed are not really forgotten at all....some of which are the usual legends coming back to TV here and there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Rick Martel is one of my favorite wrestlers ever. Fucking awesome heel.

Also, I am not sure where you get your list of 'forgotten wrestlers' from but a lot of the ones you have listed are not really forgotten at all....some of which are the usual legends coming back to TV here and there.
Well, the guys portrayed in Forgotten legends series are guys who everybody knew in some capacity but fails to recognize them as a legend other than what the commentators project or knows them in limited capacity for their lackluster WWE career as with the case of Martel.
 

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Well, the guys portrayed in Forgotten legends series are guys who everybody knew in some capacity but fails to recognize them as a legend other than what the commentators project or knows them in limited capacity for their lackluster WWE career as with the case of Martel.
Keep doing what you are doing....most of the posters on here have no clue who 75% of the guys you post about are. They may have heard a name on a WWE special, They may have looked them up on you tube once or twice. Maybe just maybe they heard a stars name during an in ring promo by Flair when he waxes about the old days, but most of them would rather log onto the Classic Wrestling Site so they can post exciting classic threads about the "Attitude Era" and compare/contrast Steve Austin and the Rock. My definition of classic is a little more, well classic.
 

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Keep doing what you are doing....most of the posters on here have no clue who 75% of the guys you post about are. They may have heard a name on a WWE special, They may have looked them up on you tube once or twice. Maybe just maybe they heard a stars name during an in ring promo by Flair when he waxes about the old days, but most of them would rather log onto the Classic Wrestling Site so they can post exciting classic threads about the "Attitude Era" and compare/contrast Steve Austin and the Rock. My definition of classic is a little more, well classic.
Yes, you hit the head on the nail. While I enjoy current wrestling and really enjoyed the attitude era, it's not the same as the "classic" wrestling.
 

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As a new reader I'm enjoying this quite a bit as well. I'm not a basher but the current product sucks, i never thought I'd be one of those "back in my day" guys but back in my day wrestling was wrestling...not a cheesy reality show or b movie like they portray it now.

Back to the topic, as a kid I never liked The Model but that's just cause he was doing his job as a heel, i actually met him at a convention a.few years back he was super nice but his booth was pretty much a ghost town besides a few older fans, the kids had no idea who he was or why he was there

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I began to like Martel more as I got older.
Martel was a very good heel, that damn accent kinda hindered him on the promo tip but he's very good. He was one of those guys that just seemed to grow on me.


As for a run with the IC strap...jesus that could be applied to anyone who came along from the late 80s to early 90s. I think he could have been a very good IC champion and had some good matches too.


I am surprised that his run with Vince is actually his least successful. I'm 28 and we didn't get AWA here in Detroit, in fact AWA was basically dead when I got into wrestling. He didn't get much praise on the AWA DVD set Vince put out either which of course leads to the belief that he was a failure as champion. I still think it should have featured him more considering he was a staple of the territory. Seems a bit unfair to leave him out.
 

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At the same time I am surprised and not very surprised that I don't see anything about his very last run, a short one, in WCW. He feuded with Booker T over the television title for a short while before blowing his knee out and basically ending his career. Martel is really the one who made me think about Booker T as a singles guy. Their short feud was so explosive and better than much of the rest of the wcw card at the time.

As for his WWF run, he played his part exactly as he was supposed to. He screamed arrogance (pun intended) and fit into the card very nicely. Some very memorable stuff from the french canadian model.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
At the same time I am surprised and not very surprised that I don't see anything about his very last run, a short one, in WCW. He feuded with Booker T over the television title for a short while before blowing his knee out and basically ending his career. Martel is really the one who made me think about Booker T as a singles guy. Their short feud was so explosive and better than much of the rest of the wcw card at the time.

As for his WWF run, he played his part exactly as he was supposed to. He screamed arrogance (pun intended) and fit into the card very nicely. Some very memorable stuff from the french canadian model.
Yes and his feud involving HBK and Sherri Martel having the no face stipulation was enjoyable even on youtube.
 

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Apparently he was going to come back to the WWE in 97 for a run in a tag team known as ''the models''. His partner was going to be Don Callis who went on to go under the name ''the Jackal''

He instead decided to sign with WCW. Would have been cool to see how his run would have gone in the lead up to the AE
 
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