I've been putting off doing this, but I think I've put it off as long as I can. I hate writing these obituary type commentaries; they both sadden and anger me. I've written too many of them and lost way too many friends and co-workers. Andrew "Test" Martin was found dead in his condo in Tampa this past Friday evening, at the age of 33.
While Andrew and I weren't close friends, we were good enough friends that I more often than not used to call him by his real name. There are only a handful of the boys I use their real names when talking to or about them and Andrew was one of them. I first met Andrew at the Gym in Calgary when he was first breaking into the business. I'm not sure exactly when that was but I'd guess either 96 or 97. He was training up at Bret's house here in Calgary along with Edge and Christian, and they worked out at the same gym I did.
Edge and Christian I had met before but this was the first time Test and I had ever crossed paths. We only talked brief at the gym and crossed paths once or twice during that time but it was enough of a foundation that we hit it off again when I joined the WWE in 2001. We never went out together outside of the business, so we never got to be close friends. I wasn't one to go out at all and he certainly led a far more active and exciting social life than I did. We did however spend a lot of time working together during my time in WWE and because of that time together I have a lot of found memories of Andrew "Test" Martin.
I joined WWE with the WCW purchase, which started off the Alliance Invasion angle. Test joined the Alliance (I don't recall why) so we started working together almost immediately. A little known fact: in the Immunity Battle Royal at Survivor Series in 2001, Test and I were the leading two candidates (creatively speaking, not odds on favourites) to win that match and do the immunity angle. Test of course won out, sending me on to WWF New York as a Janitor. After dooming me to mopping floors in Time Square Test helped me defeat The Rock to win back my job with WWE.
I don't recall how that whole angle went but I remember running in on a match or two he had with the Rock, and then he finally returned the favour and ran in on my match, laying out the Rock allowing me to win by count out and earn my job back in WWE.
Test and I also teamed on the biggest show I ever worked, WrestleMania 18 in Toronto. We weren't on the main card but Test and I teamed with Curt Hennig to face Scotty 2 Hottie, Albert, and Rikishi on the live Heat match to open the show.
We were also part of the UnAmericans together which had us working together almost every night. On TV, Christian and I worked predominantly in tag matches but on the road we did a lot of 6-Man matches which were always fun. Christian and Test knew each other far better than they knew me so they would always be ribbing and putting each other down. It was a constant battle of wits and 1 up man ship, which almost without exception would be won by Christian. I think the funniest thing I ever saw was a night we were working a 6-Man match and Christian did some crazy wacky spot and rolled out the floor. The crowd erupted into a "YOU SUCK" chant, which Christian of course sold like a trooper. He eventually grabbed the microphone to rebut the crowd by declaring emphatically that, "TEST Does Not SUCK…He's almost as good as I am!" This was comedic gold because Test tried not to sell the put down but could not keep himself from laughing at the same time.
Val Venis while not a member of the UnAmericans was certainly a member of the WWE Canadian entourage and he too took part in the constant 1 up man ship battles. Unfortunately for Val he was less successful in these Battle than Christian. I recall one night on the road when Val decided he was a much better athlete than Test and could beat him in a foot race. Val was constantly defending his athletic ability unsuccessfully and this night was no exception. I don't think there was anything Test enjoyed more than showing up Val so they headed out back of the arena to run their race. I didn't witness the race but when they got back to the arena Test was bragging that he had blown Val away, and Val was pleading that Test had false started the race and while he did lose, it was really close. The two of them bickered back and forth while being egged on by the boys until Stacey showed up with a camera and photographic evidence of the race. This photo was AWESOME. Test was in the lead looking back over his shoulder at Val who was so far behind it was ridiculous. The only way a false start could have made this much difference was if Val was still sitting in his car tying his shoes when Test started the race.
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.
A part from a couple email I hadn't talked to Andrew in a few years, but his death hit me harder than most. I've lost a lot of friends, both close and distant in this business, but Andrew being younger than me and a fellow Canadian makes it that much harder. 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.