Rick Martel: Wikis


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Rick Martel
Ring name(s) Rick Martel[1]
Billed height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)[1]
Billed weight 226 lb (103 kg)[1]
Born March 18, 1956 (1956-03-18) (age 53)[1]
Quebec City, Quebec
Billed from Montreal, Quebec
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Trained by Pierre Martel
Debut June 7, 1972[1]
Retired July 13, 1998

Richard Vigneault (born March 18, 1956) is a retired Canadian professional wrestler, best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) between 1980 and 1995 under the ring name Rick "The Model" Martel. He is also known for his two-year long reign as AWA World Heavyweight Champion.



Early years (1972–1980)

Martel is from a family of wrestlers, and made his professional debut at age sixteen when his brother Michel, a wrestler, asked him to replace an injured wrestler. Martel was already a skilled amateur wrestler, and quickly adapted to professional wrestling.

Martel wrestled throughout the world, winning titles in Stu Hart's Stampede Wrestling promotion, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. His first real success in America came in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)'s Portland affiliate Pacific Northwest Wrestling and in Vancouver-based NWA All Star Wrestling, where he became a top talent, holding the Canadian and PNW tag team titles simultaneously. He left PNW on August 16, 1980 when he lost a Loser Leaves Town match to Buddy Rose. Martel also served a stint as booker in a wrestling territory in Hawaii.

World Wrestling Federation (1980–1982)

Martel made a number of appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), winning the WWF World Tag Team Title twice with Tony Garea.

American Wrestling Association (1982–1986)

Martel signed with the AWA in 1982 and quickly ascended through the ranks, defeating Jumbo Tsuruta to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship on May 13, 1984. His reign as champion lasted nearly nineteen months, during which time he wrestled several matches with NWA World Champion Ric Flair. He had memorable matches with Jimmy Garvin, Nick Bockwinkel and King Tonga during this time. His finishing moves alternated between the slingshot splash and the combination atomic drop/ back suplex. Martel lost the title in December 1985 to Stan Hansen, who forced Martel to submit to the "Brazos Valley Backbreaker", Hansen's version of the Boston crab. As it was rare at the time for titles to change hands via submission, the loss hurt Martel's standing in the eyes of many fans.

World Wrestling Federation (1986–1995)

The Can-Am Connection (1986)

In 1986, Martel returned to the WWF with his then tag team partner, Tom Zenk, as the Can-Am Connection. The Can-Am Connection had been formed by Martel in the Montreal International Wrestling Association in 1986. Zenk was the boyfriend of Martel's sister-in-law, and had been introduced to Martel in the AWA by Curt Hennig. The Can-Am Connection quickly garnered the affections of fans, and they looked certain to win the WWF Tag Team Title in the near future. However, the team split shortly after WrestleMania III; Zenk claimed Martel had secretly negotiated an individual contract worth three times more than his partner's contract (traditionally, tag teams are paid roughly equal salaries).[2]

Martel claimed Zenk "...was overwhelmed by it all... Wrestling is very hard on your body. Hard on you also mentally. It's hard physically. Tom wasn't mentally or physically hard as I thought he would be."[3]

Strike Force (1987–1989)

Upon the departure of Zenk, Martel formed a new tag team with Tito Santana known as Strike Force. The duo quickly captured the WWF World Tag Team Title from The Hart Foundation, holding them for five months before losing them to Demolition at WrestleMania IV. Shortly afterward, Martel (kayfabe) suffered an injury after taking Demolition's finisher on the floor, splitting up the team for several months. In reality, Martel took an extended leave of absence to help take care of his wife, who was severely ill. Martel returned in January 1989 as a singles wrestler before reforming Strike Force with Santana at WrestleMania V. During a match with the Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard), Santana accidentally hit Martel with his signature flying forearm smash and knocked him out of the ring. A frustrated Martel refused the tag, leaving Santana to be beaten down and pinned. Later, in an interview with Gene Okerlund, Martel claimed (kayfabe) "I'm sick and tired. Sick and tired of him. I was doing great as a singles wrestler, but Mr. Tito wants to ride my coattails some more."

Following his heel turn, Martel acquired Slick as his manager. Martel feuded with Santana on and off over the next couple of years, defeating him at The Main Event III.

The Model (1989–1995)

In late 1989, Martel adapted a narcissistic heel character, becoming "The Model". Just before the 1989 Survivor Series he introduced his own brand of cologne called "Arrogance", which was kept in a large atomizer and would be sprayed in the eyes of his opponents to blind them. He also wore a Turquoise sweater tied around his neck, later replaced by a Turquoise sportcoat, complete with a large novelty button that read "Yes, I am a Model") to the ring. As 1990 began, Martel's relationship with Slick was phased out.

One of Martel's most famous feuds during his stint as "The Model" was against Jake "The Snake" Roberts. He blinded Roberts with his perfume on an episode of "The Brother Love Show" in October 1990, which led to a Blindfold match at WrestleMania VII, where Martel was defeated. It was also during the midst of this feud that Martel lasted a then-record 53 minutes in the 1991 Royal Rumble.[4] After WrestleMania VII, Martel went on a leave of absence for several months, returning at the end of 1991. He later feuded with Shawn Michaels, as both men sought the affections of Sensational Sherri. The feud ended with a chain of events that concluded in a double countout at SummerSlam 1992 in a match that carried a "no punching in the face" stipulation (mutually agreed upon by the two narcissistic heels). Martel then entered a lengthy rivalry with Tatanka, revolving around Tatanka's sacred "eagle feathers", which Martel stole from him. This was resolved at the 1992 Survivor Series when Tatanka defeated Martel and reclaimed the feathers.

By 1993, Martel had been transitioned into an undercard role. However, that October, he was declared co-winner of a battle royal on Monday Night Raw for the vacant Intercontinental Championship. He lost a match the following week to Razor Ramon to fill the title vacancy. He remained a regular feature on WWF programming until shortly after WrestleMania X and would not be seen on programming again until a sole appearance eight months later at the 1995 Royal Rumble (contractual details are unknown, Martel was drafted in to replace Jim Neidhart). Martel's wrestling career began to slow as he pursued a career in real estate.

In a shoot interview with RF video, Martel claimed that he and Don Callis were set to return to the WWF as 'The Supermodels' in 1997, where eventually Callis would turn on Martel, making him a babyface for the first time in his singles WWF career. However, over a pay dispute with Vince McMahon, Martel opted to sign with WCW.

World Championship Wrestling (1997–1998)

Martel reappeared in World Championship Wrestling in 1997, feuding with Booker T for the WCW World Television Title, winning it on Nitro on February 16, 1998. Martel's comeback was cut short when, at SuperBrawl VIII on February 22 he landed badly during his rematch with Booker T, hitting his leg on one of the steel cables that WCW used as ring ropes. He tore an inside ligament of his right knee, fractured his leg and suffered cartilage damage, effectively ending his in-ring career. He was originally supposed to retain the Television Title in the match, which was designed to be a gauntlet match in which he would beat Booker and then Perry Saturn, but ended up suffering the knee injury. Martel and Booker worked out a finish in the ring (through which Martel suffered a worse injury after a botched Harlem Sidekick), and then Booker and Saturn called the second leg of the match entirely in the ring. Martel was out injured for several months. After suffering another injury in his first match back on the July 13 episode of Nitro (against Booker T's tag team partner, Stevie Ray), Martel decided to retire from the ring. He then worked for WCW as a trainer and as the host of the French versions of WCW programming.

Guest appearances

At the end of a house show in Canada in 2003, Brock Lesnar brought out Martel as a surprise. Martel shook hands with him.

At WWE's Vengeance: Night of Champions pay-per-view in 2007, Martel, along with Tony Garea, saved Jimmy Snuka and Sgt. Slaughter from a post-match attack at the hands of Deuce 'n Domino.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • Lutte Internationale (Montreal)
  • NWA British Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship (New Zealand version) (3 times)[12]
  • PWI ranked him # 48 of the 500 best singles wrestlers during the "PWI Years" in 2003
  • PWI ranked him # 70 of the 100 best tag teams during the PWI years with Tito Santana in 2003


External links

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