On the latest Something to Wrestle, Bruce Prichard discussed Rick Martel and why he didn’t get a bigger push or have a WWE Hall of Fame induction. Martel was one of the more memorable midcard names of the HulkaMania era, brought in and initially teamed with Tom Zenk as the Can-Am Connection. After they split up, he teamed with Tito Santana as Strike Force. Martel garnered a total of three WWE Tag Team Championship runs; one with Santana and two with Tony Garea.
Eventually Martel split and began a solo run under as “The Model” Rick Martel. He kept that going until he left WWE in early 1995.
Highlights from the discussion and the full podcast are below:
On why Martel hasn’t made it into the WWE Hall of Fame: “Well, you know what? I asked about Rick last time we were in Montreal. And I believe that Rick has been approached about being in the Hall of Fame. I don’t know that for a fact, so I may be speaking out of my ass here. But I asked why Rick doesn’t come around, and why we don’t hear about Rick. And I was told that Rick is out of the business and has no desire to do anything in the business whatsoever.
That part of his life is over, and I think he does real estate now, and manages stuff and buys real estate, and that’s it. It’s not that he’s bitter or anything like that, just that he’s moved on and doesn’t want to revisit that part of his life. So I think that Rick Martel is definitely Hall of Fame-worthy, and again when you talk about really good guys, Rick Martel is in that class too. Because he just — you’d find some people hard pressed to find anybody saying anything [negative] about Martel.”
On Martel’s in-ring skills: “Rick was a great, great wrestler, man. And especially, I think in — obviously for the AWA, he was an AWA World Champion. So for that area, man he was always on top. He was always one of those guys who was around, who was a fan favorite and never wavered one way or the other. And then when Rick came in to WWE, and the tag team and all that bulls**t, he just — he’s so smooth, and so good. It’s kind of like, ‘What’s to dislike?’ The Model thing was tremendous, and he played that off perfectly. But it’s a — I could definitely see that [a Hall of Fame induction].”
On why Martel didn’t have more singles success: “I’m sure he was [considered for an Intercontinental Title run]. And Rick, the one thing that held Rick back was his ability to cut promos … and we did [have a manager], we had Slick with him. But it’s still, it was, if you could cut your own promos and you could go out and get that kind of heat and be able to project that.
Rick with the Model gimmick didn’t need it at that point, but I do think that Rick Martel is one of those guys that the championship may have helped him. Just bring him up another notch. Kind of like it did with Tito Santana, same thing. But I think the Intercontinental Championship did help Tito, and take Tito to the next step. But I don’t know with Rick. I just know that they never pulled the trigger and he was always able to survive and be just fine as Rick Martel without a championship.”