Monday, March 16, 2009

Andrew Martin 1975 - 2009

I click on Lance Storm's website, wondering if he had updated his site with any opinions about wrestling. I go there often, for his opinions tend to be strong but informed. I noticed that his latest commentary had the name of Andrew "Test" Martin, who was on something of a role when I started watching wrestling. Imagine to my shock, then, when I read of his death last Friday at the age of 33.

He wasn't a top echelon performer when I was watching it, though that can be down more to politics than anything else. He was physically imposing, and impressive enough that I thought he could go on to get more than just a couple of Intercontinental and European titles in his career. When he was pushed as Stephanie's fiancee in the storylines, I thought that this might be the start to bigger and better things.

Alas, it wasn't to be. Apart from an impressive reign as the European champion after coming back from a long injury layoff (he was particularly vicious in that match), and being a part of the Un-Americans, his career kind of petered out for me in the end. Nevertheless, I still looked forward to his matches, especially after having read Mick Foley's biographies, in which he was written about a lot in a very funny way. How I laughed and laughed at the stories time and again, and this one, written by Lance Storm on his site, is likely to be one of the best:

"Another fond Test memory I have is the night the UnAmerican gimmick likely died. You’ve all heard the rumors about how there was heat on Test and Christian for not wanting to cut their hair for the gimmick, which ultimately lead to the breaking up of the group. I’m not sure if the hair cut issue was actually a factor but I laugh every time I think of the meeting we had with Vince when the topic came up.

Vince and Johnny called us all into a room to discuss our group. I’m not sure if William Regal was part of the group then or not but Test is the important part of the story anyway. We get called into the meeting and Vince tells us all he wants us to have shorter more military style haircuts. Now remember Christian and Test at this time had the really long hair. To illustrate his point Vince uses me as the example of what he means by military style haircut. I think Christian was willing to get a hair cut, just not thrilled with being told exactly what kind of hair cut. In either event Christian voiced a fairly politically correct protest, while Test spoke out a lot more openly.

This may be my favourite Test memory because it was just so Andrew. (These aren’t the exact words but it’s close) Test looked Vince right in the face and said he had a life outside of wrestling and his appearance is very important to him so there was no way he was going to get a hair cut that would make him look like a F—king idiot. He then paused looked at me and added, “No Offense, Lance” It was awesome! He restated his case several times and every time he mentioned how horrible that look would be he would add, “No Offense Lance”. What made that line so great was that he legitimately meant no offense by it, yet it was a line that could not be taken any way but offensively. Andrew always said what he felt and he felt very strongly about this and wasn’t going to politically correct Vince or me. It was such a fantastic moment. I laughed when he said it, took no offense from it and thought it was the greatest thing I’ve ever heard anyone say.

The real comedy that came out of that meeting was that we were disbanded (maybe over the haircuts maybe not) and both Test and Christian ended up getting their hair cut and they both looked way better after the fact."

I don't know him personally, obviously. But he was a big part of something that was a big part of my life at the time (and still is). As Lance himself said, "
Someone 6 years younger than me isn’t supposed to die. He’s supposed to be around so we can make fun of his over bite, and he can make his witty comeback by calling us all JOBBERS. He’s supposed to be around to continually humble Val and point out that he is a Nerd in a Jocks body. He’s supposed to be around to point out that I look like a F—king idiot…No Offense.

"Damn it…he’s just supposed to still be around."

*You can read the whole of Lance's commentary here.

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