Rick "The Model" Martel's professional wrestling career spanned over 20 years, leaving an indelible mark on the industry. From his debut in 1973 to his retirement in 1999, Martel graced numerous promotions, including WWE, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Stampede Wrestling, and WCW, among others.
Throughout his journey, he captured multiple titles and showcased his skills against legendary opponents like Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Tito Santana, and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Martel's career truly took off when he returned to WWE in 1986.
Initially known for his tag team expertise, Martel formed successful partnerships with Tom Zenk as the Can-Am Connection and later with Tito Santana as Strike Force. Together, they faced formidable teams like The Hart Foundation, The Islanders, and Demolition.
Strike Force even clinched the WWE World Tag Team Titles by defeating The Hart Foundation. However, in 1989, Martel decided to embark on a singles career, earning praise from Santana for his exceptional abilities.
Diversifying Promotions and Continuing Contributions
After leaving WWE in 1994, Martel ventured into various promotions, notably engaging in a match against Edge and Christian alongside Don Callis in 1997.
In 1998, he joined WCW, where he held the WCW World Television Championship and engaged in memorable feuds with Booker T and Eddie Guerrero. Although Martel's last official match was in 1999 against The Metal Maniac at HIWF Slam Fest II, he continued working in WCW as a trainer and French broadcaster until the promotion's end.
Martel's legacy in professional wrestling is marked by his versatility and his ability to transcend the tag team realm to establish himself as a formidable singles competitor. His portrayal of "The Model" persona in the 1980s remains etched in fans' memories as one of the most memorable heel characters of the era.
With his wide-ranging career, Martel faced and conquered some of the industry's greatest names, including Bret "The Hitman" Hart, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, and Tito Santana. Since his retirement, Martel has refrained from stepping back into the wrestling ring, leaving behind an impressive career and a lasting impact on the sport.
With his evolution over the years and numerous accomplishments across promotions, Martel solidified himself as one of the biggest names in professional wrestling during his era, earning a place among the industry's legends.