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Sherri Martel
Ring name(s) Peggy Sue
"Sensational" Sherri[1]
Sherri Martel[1]
Sister Sherri[1]
Queen Sherri[1]
Scary Sherri[1]
Billed height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Billed weight 132 lb (60 kg)
Born February 8, 1958(1958-02-08)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Died June 15, 2007 (aged 49)
Birmingham, Alabama
Trained by Butch Moore
Donna Christanello[1]
The Fabulous Moolah[2]
Debut 1980
Retired 2006

Sherri Schrull (born Sherri Russell)[1][3] (February 8, 1958 – June 15, 2007) was an American professional wrestler and manager, better known by her ring names, Sherri Martel and Sensational Sherri. Throughout her career, Martel competed in the American Wrestling Association (AWA) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) as Sherri Martel, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as Sensational Sherri, Sensational Queen Sherri, Peggy Sue, and Scary Sherri, in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as Sensuous Sherri and Sister Sherri and an appearance in TNA. One of her trademark characteristics was being one of the first women to wear face paint to the ring.[4]


Early life

Growing up, Martel dreamed of becoming a clown with Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus. She ran away from home to join the circus but was told that the people there were born into working there. Eventually, she became interested in professional wrestling when she started going with her mother and sister to the matches in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Professional wrestling career

Early career

In 1974, Martel approached Grizzly Smith for advice on becoming a wrestler. Smith questioned her conviction and told her to come back to him in five years when she was an adult.[5] She eventually married and gave birth to a son named Jared, but she soon divorced her husband and began working as a stripper.[6] During this time, she again became interested in becoming a professional wrestler and sought training from Butch Moore in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as from Debbie Johnson, a former professional wrestler. In the latter part of 1979, she went to The Fabulous Moolah's school on Johnson's recommendation. Moolah claims that Martel frequented night clubs and liked to party, which resulted in Moolah kicking her out of the school.[4] In January and February 1980, she wrestled on a tour in Japan. Upon returning to the United States, she began wrestling in Memphis working as both a wrestler and manager to Pat Rose and Tom Prichard. During this time, she was managed by Jim Cornette. During a mixed battle royal, Martel suffered an injury that removed her from wrestling for a few years.[5]

American Wrestling Association

After recovering, Larry Zbyszko helped her join the American Wrestling Association (AWA). He felt she had a little bit of potential and thought she just needed to learn how to do wrestling interviews. She eventually debuted in the AWA and, on September 28, 1985, at SuperClash in Chicago, she defeated Candi Devine for the AWA World Women's Championship. A few days later, the AWA took the title from Martel and awarded it to Devine, but Martel regained the title on October 17, 1985, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Martel then lost the title to Devine on January 16, 1986, in Winnipeg. At WrestleRock '86, on April 20, 1986, Martel won a battle royal that included Devine, Debbie Combs, Rose Devine, Joyce Grable, Kat LeRoux, Despina Montegas, Misty Blue Simmes, and Luna Vachon. On June 28, 1986, at "Battle by the Bay", an AWA event in Oakland, California that was televised live on ESPN, Martel defeated Devine to win the AWA World Women's Championship for a third and final time.

During this time, in addition to wrestling, Martel acted as the "manageress" for the team of "Playboy" Buddy Rose and "Pretty Boy" Doug Somers. On May 17, 1986, Rose and Somers won the AWA World Tag Team Championship by defeating Curt Hennig and Scott Hall by countout after Col. DeBeers interfered in the match in Hammond, Indiana. Rose and Somers then engaged in a lengthy feud with The Midnight Rockers, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, who finally defeated Rose and Somers for the tag team titles on January 27, 1987, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

In the spring of 1987, Martel began managing "Mr. Magnificent" Kevin Kelly. She interfered in an arm wrestling match between Kelly and Tommy Rich on ESPN's AWA Championship Wrestling. Rich got immediate revenge by cornering the escaping Martel and ripping her dress off to reveal a strapless pink teddy and black stockings.[7] In the following weeks, Rich came to ringside during Kelly's matches and taunted Martel with her stolen dress. On May 2, 1987, Martel defeated Madusa Miceli at SuperClash 2 in San Francisco. Former AWA wrestler Jesse Ventura then referred her to the WWF. Martel credited Vince McMahon for being the one who molded her in the WWF.[8]

World Wrestling Federation

On July 24, 1987, Martel debuted in the WWF and defeated The Fabulous Moolah for the WWF Women's Championship.[4] At this time she was still the AWA's Women's champion, but she lost the AWA title three days later. Renaming herself Sensational Sherri, she reigned as WWF Women's Champion for fifteen months, taking on opponents like Debbie Combs, Velvet McIntyre, and Desiree Petersen. At the Survivor Series in 1987, Martel's team consisting of Martel, The Glamour Girls (Leilani Kai and Judy Martin), Dawn Marie, and Donna Christanello lost to The Fabulous Moolah's team consisting of Moolah, Velvet McIntyre, Rockin' Robin, and the Jumping Bomb Angels (Noriyo Tateno and Itsuki Yamazaki). It was on October 8, 1988 that she was defeated for the title by Rockin' Robin.[4]

From late 1987 through the early months of 1988, she portrayed Peggy Sue, the valet of The Honky Tonk Man, while appearing as Sherri in the same period (Peggy wore sunglasses and a blonde wig, so she was not recognizable). Peggy Sue was often jealous of Miss Elizabeth and even attacked her during one match.

At WrestleMania V, Martel appeared backstage and mocked both Rockin' Robin and Miss Elizabeth. After the main event, Martel confronted Miss Elizabeth, which led to a brawl between Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage. Martel began managing Savage and throughout the remainder of 1989, they feuded with Hogan and Elizabeth. At SummerSlam, Hogan and Brutus Beefcake defeated Savage and Zeus. After the match, Elizabeth knocked out Martel with her purse, and she, Hogan, and Beefcake cut Martel's hair, which in reality was a long ponytail hair extension. Shortly after, she became known as Sensational Queen Sherri, as Savage defeated "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan to become King of the WWF. At the Royal Rumble in 1990, Martel appeared on the Brother Love Show with Sapphire. After insulting the "common woman", Martel was slapped by Sapphire. At WrestleMania VI, Martel and Savage lost a mixed tag-team match against Sapphire and Dusty Rhodes after Elizabeth, who was in the corner of Sapphire and Rhodes, interfered and shoved Martel. At SummerSlam in 1990, Martel defeated Sapphire by forfeit when Sapphire failed to appear for the match. At WrestleMania VII, Savage lost a career match against The Ultimate Warrior. Martel attacked Savage but was thrown from the ring by Elizabeth, who was watching from the audience. When she and Savage parted ways following the career match, Martel became the right hand woman of the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase.

She managed Ted DiBiase until early 1992 and then parted ways with him after she announced that she was in love with Shawn Michaels; she also sang Michaels theme song called "Sexy Boy". She managed Michaels during his feuds with Bret Hart and Rick Martel, who had a flirtatious relationship with Sherri. During this time, Michaels had a brief feud with Savage, and Sherri attacked both Elizabeth and Mike McGuirk at ringside during the matches. One night in late 1992, Marty Jannetty, Michaels' former tag team partner, entered the ring before one of Michaels' matches. He grabbed Shawn's mirror (a mirror that Sherri carried in before matches for Shawn to admire himself in before the fight), and when he swung the mirror at Michaels, Michaels pulled Sherri in front of him, and she was smashed with the mirror. Sherri disappeared but returned to the WWF at the Royal Rumble in 1993. She was in a neutral corner for the match between Michaels and Jannetty. Near the end of the match, Martel confronted Michaels outside the ring and slapped him. At the end of the match, she entered the ring to smash him with her shoe, but he ducked, and she hit Jannetty instead. Michaels finished the match and won, while Martel fled the ring in tears. Backstage, Michaels confronted her, and Jannetty came to her rescue. The following week, Martel thanked Jannetty, and she later appeared in his corner for a match against a jobber. After Jannetty left the WWF, Martel was soon left without anyone to manage and found herself accompanying Crush and Randy Savage to the ring for their matches against Michaels at house shows.

At WrestleMania IX, Martel accompanied Tatanka for his match against Michaels, who brought Luna Vachon with him. After the match, Luna attacked Martel, and they began feuding. On the April 12, 1993 edition of Raw, Martel attacked Luna in the first women's segment on Raw. This erupted into a catfight that spilled into the audience, and both women ripped each other's clothes off. Throughout April and May 1993, Martel also appeared in United States Wrestling Association (USWA) where she wrestled Miss Texas and helped Randy Savage in his feud against Jerry Lawler (who ripped off Martel's dress after she interfered in a steel cage match). On May 31, 1993 Martel appeared in the returning Jannetty's corner for his match against Bam Bam Bigelow on Raw. After the match, Martel called Luna into the ring for a fight. Bigelow interfered, and Tatanka ran to her rescue. During this time, Martel and Luna began having matches at WWF house shows. A couple of weeks later, Martel interrupted an interview with Bigelow, and Tatanka again came to her rescue. When Martel was scheduled to face Luna on television one week, Luna came to the ring with her arm in a cast (she had broken it in an earlier match against Martel). Bigelow and Luna attacked Martel, and Tatanka yet again saved her. This was going to lead to a mixed tag team match pitting Martel/Tatanka against Luna/Bigelow at SummerSlam, but Martel was fired for not passing a drug test.[5]

Various promotions

Martel re-emerged in Smoky Mountain Wrestling later that year and feuded with Tammy Sytch. She also appeared in the independent National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). On October 22, 1993 at the NWA Weekend of Champions, Martel accompanied Terry Funk against Kevin Sullivan (with Woman). After the match, Martel attacked Woman and put her in a head-scissors. She then appeared at the NWA Bensalem Bash on October 30, 1993. Martel, with Kathy Fitzpatrick in her corner, defeated Jim Cornette (with Tammy Sytch in his corner) in a "loser gets spanked" match.

She began working in Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) in autumn of 1993 and soon managed Shane Douglas to the ECW World Championship. ECW began promoting a feud between Martel and Madusa and scheduled a match between them at November to Remember on November 13, 1993. Madusa had just signed a WWF contract, so Martel faced Malia Hosaka instead. At ECW Ultraclash '93, Martel wrestled in a battle royal against Tigra, Angel, Don E. Allen, Jay "Six Pack" Sulli, Freddie Gilbert, and Hunter Q. Robbins, III.

In February 1994, Martel was going to join WCW to feud with Missy Hyatt, but Hyatt left the company. She later made appearances in WCW aiding Kevin Sullivan and Dave Sullivan in spring 1994. On February 5, 1994 Martel accompanied Shane Douglas for a triple threat match against Sabu and Terry Funk. Paul E. Dangerously attacked Martel before the match, but she recovered and was active throughout the match (which ended in a time limit draw). Martel made a brief appearance in the Mexican Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) promotion and accompanied Jake Roberts against Konnan, wrestling some dark matches with Mexican ladies Vicky Carranza, Sexi Boom, and Martha Villalobos. She returned to ECW to accompany Shane Douglas in matches against Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond and then officially joined WCW in May 1994. Martel stated in later interviews that she loved her time with the promotion and working with Shane Douglas. She feels ECW was more lenient with what they would let the women do, which she liked.[8]

World Championship Wrestling

Martel appeared in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1994 under the name Sensuous Sherri. She appeared at Slamboree scouting potential new clients in May 1994.[9] She announced that she would manage who she felt was WCW's top star. At Clash of the Champions XXVII, just as the match between Ric Flair and Sting got underway, Martel approached the ring wearing face paint identical to Sting's. Indeed, she was cheering for him to defeat Flair. Late in the match, Sting attempted to dive over the ropes onto Flair, but The Nature Boy yanked Martel into his path. Sting spent the rest of the match totally distracted and concerned for her, giving Flair the chance he needed to grab Sting's tights for an illegal pinfall and become the WCW Champion. Martel then entered the ring to embrace Flair. The new couple attacked Sting until Hulk Hogan ran them off. She helped Flair in feuds against both Sting and Hulk Hogan.

After Flair lost a retirement match to Hogan, there were rumors that Martel was going to be paired with Steve Austin, but Austin was soon injured and on his way out of WCW at the time (Martel had previously managed Flair and Austin in tag team matches).[9] She was also scheduled to manage Austin and Shane Douglas in a tag team match in ECW, but Austin was replaced by Brian Pillman due to his knee injury).[10] Behind the scenes, Kevin Sullivan wanted her to be the manager of Ron Simmons, but this was during the time of the Nicole Brown and O. J. Simpson investigation, so they thought that might be pushing it.[11] Instead, Martel began managing Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) using the name Sister Sherri.[12] She managed the team to seven WCW World Tag Team Championship reigns.[1]

In late 1994 (while still managing Harlem Heat in WCW), Martel made a return appearance in ECW managing Shane Douglas and Brian Pillman (substituting for an injured Steve Austin) against Ron Simmons and 2 Cold Scorpio. It was soon evident that Martel only returned to ECW to humiliate her former protege on behalf of Ric Flair. Late in the match, Douglas tried to pin Scorpio but Martel grabbed Scorpio’s foot and placed it on the rope to break up the count (which Douglas did not notice). Then Martel went to the top rope and came off with a double axe handle on Douglas. Simmons and Scorpio won after Simmons pinned Pillman. Martel was on the outside showing no remorse for accidentally hitting Douglas. Pillman then went outside and tossed her back in the ring by her hair. Douglas pointed to her chest after Pillman ripped off her jacket and she had a picture of Ric Flair taped to her dress. Douglas ripped the picture off and tore it up, then gave Martel a piledriver for revenge.[13]

Back in WCW, at one point in 1995, it was planned for Martel to manage the tag team of Jean-Paul Levesque and Lord Steven Regal. The duo was slated to capture the tag team title with Martel as their manager and feud with Rick Steiner and Scott Steiner. The plotline was for Martel to turn on Harlem Heat during a title match but Levesque decided to go to the WWF despite offers from then-booker Eric Bischoff of working fewer days for more money.[14] At Clash of the Champions XXXI, Harlem Heat and Martel defeated Bunkhouse Buck, Dick Slater, and Col. Robert Parker when Martel pinned Parker. Martel hit her head on the mat and suddenly fell in love with Parker. At Clash of the Champions XXXII Martel and Paker were going to get married, but Madusa interrupted the wedding. She and Martel engaged in a catfight, and then wrestled in the first women's singles match on WCW Monday Nitro on January 29, 1996 in which Martel pinned Madusa.

Martel was then fired in February 1996 for not being in proper condition to work at a television taping resulting from developing an addiction to prescription pain killers but cleaned up and returned to WCW by summer of that year, reuniting with Harlem Heat,[5] and she even became involved in a catfight with Debra on an episode of Nitro.[15] At the 1996 World War III pay-per-view, Martel defeated Col. Robert Parker by count-out. Martel left WCW in the summer of 1997.[16] Martel said in later interviews that working with Ric Flair was an honor (she considered him a friend and says she learned a lot from him), and she called Harlem Heat her "two big brothers" and she maintained a friendship with Stevie Ray and Booker T after leaving the company for the final time. The reason she left WCW in 1997 is because she was fired ("I pissed Eric Bischoff off and he pissed me off and that was just it.")[8]

Independent circuit

In the late 1990s, Martel worked on the independent circuit. Early in 1999, Martel competed in a mixed-tag team match for the AWF World Heavyweight Title (a men's title). Martel teamed with Squeegee Kid against Missy Hyatt and Ms. B Haven. Hyatt scored an upset and pinned Martel to win the title.[17] In the summer of 1999, she appeared on the Heroes of Wrestling pay-per-view managing George Steele against Greg Valentine.[18] Also in 1999, she was awarded the AWA Superstars Women's Championship.[1][19]

In 2000, Martel made a brief return to WCW to wrestle Madusa and Mona but turned down a long-term commitment. This was during the promotion's short-lived attempt at recreating a women's division. She was originally contacted to manage the newest incarnation of Harlem Heat, but due to a management transition the plans changed. Since she was already backstage, the promoters had her wrestle Madusa on the January 19, 2000 edition of WCW Thunder.[20] She returned and wrestled Mona on the March 11, 2000 edition of WCW WorldWide. After the match, she and Madusa had a confrontation.[21]

In 2002, she made appearances in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) feuding with Victoria and managing Rob Conway.[22] In 2005, Martel appeared at "Wrestle Reunion" in an 8-woman tag team match where she and her team (consisting of Peggy Lee Leather and Team Blondage, and managed by Joyce Grable) lost to Wendi Richter and her team (consisting of Bambi, Malia Hosaka, and Jenny Taylor).[23]

World Wrestling Entertainment

In 2005, she was married and on her honeymoon in Japan when World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) contacted her and asked her to take part in a storyline with Kurt Angle shortly before WrestleMania 21. She made a return to SmackDown! as part of the Shawn Michaels/Kurt Angle feud leading up to WrestleMania 21.[24] There she sang a parody of Michaels' theme song with Angle, but a video showing Shawn's history moved Sherri emotionally.[24] Kurt then saw this and applied the ankle lock on her.[24]

Martel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Ted DiBiase on April 1, 2006.[25] She was the second woman to be inducted after The Fabulous Moolah. Martel and the rest of the inductees (excluding Bret Hart) made an appearance at WrestleMania 22 when they were each introduced to the crowd. She was accompanied by DiBiase during her appearance.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling

Prior to appearing in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) in 2006, Martel turned down an offer from Jeff Jarrett to work a program with Trinity. The reason Martel turned down the offer (as well as the long-term commitment offer to return to WCW in 2000 to feud with Madusa) is because she did not want to put herself in the position to potentially travel back down the dark road that accompanies the physical and emotional stresses of professional wrestling.[5] On September 4, 2006, she worked for TNA, taping a backstage vignette trying to offer her managerial services to "free agent" Robert Roode that aired on the September 21, 2006 TNA Impact!; it was her last television appearance.[26]

Other media

Martel and Savage appeared on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous with Robin Leach in 1990. She also appeared on Family Feud, representing the WWF. On January 18, 1994, Martel and Woman appeared in a Carver W. Reed commercial.


On the morning of June 15, 2007, Martel died at her mother's residence in McCalla, Alabama, near Birmingham.[27] She was 49 years old. Martel's sister Vickie claimed Martel died while drinking coffee with her mother on the front porch of her mother's home. Vickie suspected Sherri was taking some sort of medication/drug for her heart.[28][29]

A cause of death for Martel was not initially known due to the autopsy and toxicology reports needing five to six months to complete, but on September 11, 2007, homicide investigators in Tuscaloosa, Alabama released their report stating that she died of an accidental overdose with multiple drugs in her system, including high amounts of oxycodone.[30]

Martel's funeral was paid for by Vince McMahon while Booker T contributed the money to pay for the headstone for her grave.[31] Her funeral was attended by wrestling friends, including Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, Madusa, Kevin Sullivan, Booker T, Sharmell and Jake Roberts.[32]

In wrestling

  • Wrestlers managed
  • Tag teams managed

Championships and accomplishments


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Spears, Jim (January 4, 2005). "Women's wrestlers today are tougher, better". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved 2009-05-23. 
  2. ^ Ellison, Lillian. First Goddess of the Squared Circle, p.111.
  3. ^ Sherri Martel dead at 49, SLAM! Sports. June 15, 2007
  4. ^ a b c d Ellison, Lillian. First Goddess of the Squared Circle, p.196–197.
  5. ^ a b c d e J.A. Bawon (July 8, 2007). "Remembering: Sherri Martel - childhood memories through the recent Hall of Fame". 
  6. ^ Keith Elliot Greenberg (July 8, 2007). "Still Sensational". 
  7. ^ Tommy Rich - Kevin Kelly Arm Wrestling Challenge (AWA)
  8. ^ a b c Sherri Martel Online Interview
  9. ^ a b WCW 1994
  10. ^ The Weekly Wrestling Professor quiz
  11. ^ Article Recaps WWE Hall of Fame
  12. ^ WWE Hall of Fame
  13. ^ ECW Nostalgia (December 12-8-94 Edition)
  14. ^ Solie's Tuesday Morning Report
  15. ^ DDT Digest - April 14, 1997
  16. ^ DDT Digest - July 7, 1997
  17. ^ AWF World Heavyweight Title History
  18. ^ Heroes of Wrestling, Sunday, October 10, 1999
  19. ^ AWA Womens' Title History
  20. ^ Official Women of Wrestling (OWOW) Sherri Home Page
  21. ^ WCW Worldwide - Saturday, 3/11/00
  22. ^ OVW Summer Sizzlin' Series Results 7-12-02
  23. ^ Quick results of WrestleReunion Night 2 card
  24. ^ a b c "WWE SmackDown! Results - March 24, 2005". Online World Of Wrestling. 2005-03-24. Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  25. ^ Ted DiBiase: The Million Dollar Man, p.171, Ted DiBiase with Tom Caiazzo, Pocket Books, New York, NY, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4165-5890-3
  26. ^ Sherri Martel Scheduled For iMPACT, More On Jarrett Contest
  27. ^ Corey Clayton (June 15, 2007). " - "Sensational" Sherri passes away". 
  28. ^ Ryan Clark (July 8, 2007). "Update On The Death Of Sherri Martel,". 
  29. ^ Ryan Clark (July 10, 2007). "Claim: Sherri Dies While Drinking Coffee With Mother". 
  30. ^ "Sherri Martel autopsy results reveal drugs". September 11, 2007. 
  31. ^ "Headlines for Tuesday, September 18, 2007". August 30, 2008. 
  32. ^ "Jake Roberts". August 30, 2008. "It ripped my guts out when Sherri Martel went, we were lovers." 
  33. ^ a b c "Sherri Martel profile". OWOW. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  34. ^ a b c "Bunkhouse Buck, Dirty Dick Slater & Col. Parker vs Harlem Heat & Sister Sherri". World Championship Wrestling. WCW Clash of the Champions XXXI. 1995-08-06.
  35. ^ "Madusa vs Sister Sherri". World Championship Wrestling. WCW Nitro. 1996-01-29.
  36. ^ a b "Madusa Miceli vs SherriMartel(c)". American Wrestling Association. AWA SuperClash 2. 1987-05-02.
  37. ^ a b "Madusa Miceli vs Sherri Martel w/ Kevin Kelly". American Wrestling Association. AWA. 1986.
  38. ^ "Sherri Martel Vs Madusa". World Championship Wrestling. WCW Thunder. 2000-01-19.
  39. ^ "Madusa vs Sister Sherri". World Championship Wrestling. WCW WorldWide. 2000-01-19.
  40. ^ "Jim Cornette". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  41. ^ Ellison, Lillian. First Goddess of the Squared Circle, p.198.


  • Ellison, Lillian (2003). The Fabulous Moolah: First Goddess of the Squared Circle. ReaganBooks. ISBN 9780060012588. 


External links

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