The Model Rick Martel

Martel debuted in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in July 1980. That fall, he formed a tag team with Tony Garea. On November 8, they defeated The Wild Samoans to capture the WWF Tag Team Championship. They successfully defended the title until dropping the belts to The Moondogs on March 17, 1981. They regained the title from The Moondogs on July 21. Their second reign came to an end on October 13, when they lost to Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito. Though they would challenge the champions numerous times, Martel and Garea were unable to recapture the belts, and Martel left the WWF in April 1982.

In 1986, Martel returned to the WWF, with his tag team partner Tom Zenk. They were billed as The Can-Am Connection. The Can-Am Connection quickly garnered the affection of fans, and they looked likely to win the WWF Tag Team Title in the near future. At WrestleMania III, The Cam-Am connection defeated Bob Orton, Jr. and Don Muraco in the opening match, when Zenk pinned Muraco. They split shortly afterward; Zenk claimed Martel had secretly negotiated an individual contract worth three times more than his partner's contract (traditionally, tag teams are paid roughly equal salaries).

After Zenk's departure, Martel formed a new tag team with Tito Santana, called Strike Force. The duo quickly captured the WWF World Tag Team Title from The Hart Foundation, holding it for five months before losing to Demolition at WrestleMania IV.

Shortly afterward, Martel (kayfabe) took time off due to injuries sustained in a title rematch at a Prime Time Wrestling taping in Oakland, California on June 1, 1988 (aired July 11). Smash hit Martel with a steel chair, then both members of Demolition performed their "Decapitation" finisher on him at ringside, leaving him unconscious on the floor. On the June 18 Superstars, it was announced he suffered back injuries and a concussion. In storyline, he briefly retired due to these injuries.

Martel returned in January 1989 as a singles wrestler, before reforming Strike Force with Santana at WrestleMania V to face The Brain Busters (Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard). During the match, Santana accidentally hit Martel with his signature flying forearm smash and knocked him out of the ring. A frustrated Martel refused to tag in and walked away, leaving Santana to be beaten down and pinned.

Following his heel turn, Martel acquired Slick as his manager. He feuded with Santana on and off over the next two years, losing to him in the finals of the 1989 King of the Ring tournament, then defeating him at The Main Event IV taping on October 30, 1990 (aired November 23).

As 1989 came to a close, Martel's relationship with Slick quietly ended.

In late 1989, Martel adopted a narcissistic gimmick, as "The Model." Just before the 1989 Survivor Series, he introduced his own (fictional) brand of cologne called Arrogance, which he carried in a large atomizer and sprayed in the eyes of his opponents to blind them. He wore a turquoise sweater tied around his neck to the ring (later replaced by a turquoise sportcoat), with a large lapel pin that read "Yes, I am a model." Martel made his pay-per-view singles match debut at WrestleMania VI, where he defeated Koko B. Ware via submission with his signature Boston Crab.

Martel's most high-profile feud during his stint as "The Model" was with Jake "The Snake" Roberts, sparked when he blinded Roberts with Arrogance on "The Brother Love Show" in October 1990. Martel and Roberts captained opposing teams at the Survivor Series. The Visionaries (Martel, The Warlord and Power and Glory) defeated The Vipers (Roberts, Jimmy Snuka and The Rockers) in a clean sweep, 4-0. Martel continued to have the upper hand in the 1991 Royal Rumble match, eliminating Roberts from the match en route to lasting (a then-record) 53 minutes, before being eliminated by The British Bulldog. Roberts would ultimately get his revenge at Wrestlemania VII, defeating Martel in a blindfold match.

In early 1992, Martel began a feud with Tatanka, leading to WrestleMania VIII, where Tatanka pinned him.

That summer, Martel had a brief feud with Shawn Michaels, as both men sought the affections of Sensational Sherri. The feud ended with a chain of events that resulted in a double countout at SummerSlam 1992. The match carried a "no punching in the face" stipulation (mutually agreed upon by the two narcissistic heels).

Martel then resumed his rivalry with Tatanka by stealing his sacred eagle feathers, to add to his wardrobe. The feud was resolved at the 1992 Survivor Series, where Tatanka again defeated Martel and reclaimed the feathers.

By 1993, Martel mainly appeared on the lower undercard, and rarely on television. However, at the September 27 Monday Night Raw taping, he was the co-winner (with Razor Ramon) of a battle royal (aired October 4) to decide the competitors in a match for the vacant Intercontinental Championship. He lost that match (aired the next week) to Ramon.

By the summer of 1994, Martel dropped out of the WWF picture and would not be seen again until participating in the 1995 Royal Rumble (he was a substitute for Jim Neidhart). He left the WWF soon after.

At the end of a house show in Canada in 2003, Brock Lesnar brought out Martel as a surprise. Martel shook hands with him.

At WWE's Vengeance: Night of Champions pay-per-view in 2007, Martel, along with Tony Garea, saved Jimmy Snuka and Sgt. Slaughter from a post-match attack at the hands of Deuce 'n Domino.

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