Thursday, July 20, 2017

Rick Martel's WCW 1998 Run

At the beginning of 1998 Rick Martel hadn't competed regularly in wrestling since 1994.  The former three time WWF Tag Team Champion and AWA World Heavyweight Champion had been a mainstay in the WWF since 1986 however had made only two appearance in 1995.  The first he competed in the 1995 Royal Rumble, and the second an appearance in a non-wrestling babyface role at the Montreal Forum on February 3rd.

With Tony Garea as WWF Tag Team Champion, AWA World Champion, and as The Model
Growing up to me Martel was a WWF guy, needless to say I was shocked to see him jog out to the ring January 5, 1998 to take on Brad Armstrong.  Since that time I have learned, most recently Cyrus talked about it on Killing the Town, that Don Callis and Rick Martel were gearing up to wrestle as a tag team in the WWF as the Supermodels.

They even had several matches as a team in the IWA in Canada against Christian Cage & Rhino and Adam Impact & Christian Cage.  I'm sure you know who they are today.  However at the last minute Martel either reached out too or was contacted by WCW and he ended up there for his only run in the promotion.

January 5, 1998 WCW Nitro Georgia Dome, Atlanta
Defeated Brad Armstrong
In this match, Armstrong, the Georgia native lasted only about five minutes before submitting to the Quebec Crab.  It was odd to me that Armstrong was the bad guy in this match.

January 6, 1998 WCW Saturday Night taping Rome, Georgia
Show airing January 10, 1998
Defeated Mark Truian with the Quebec Crab in about four minutes
Backstage interview with Martel about his arrival in WCW.  This promo is on YouTube and it's pretty generic, "I'm here because this company is the best in the world, and I plan on challenging for championships."

Show airing January 17, 1998
Defeated Hardbody Harrison with the Quebec Crab in about four minutes
This match is on YouTube, Martel was dominate working the legs until he applied finisher for the submission.  During Martel's entrance footage from the January 12th Nitro was shown on Martel helping Booker T.

January 8, 1998 WCW Thunder Daytona Beach, Florida
Defeated Louie Spicolli with the Quebec Crab just under three and a half minutes

January 12, 1998 WCW Monday Nitro Jacksonville, FL
During the Booker T vs. Saturn match for Booker's World Television Championship Saturn cheated to win, Martel ran in getting the referee to restart the match where Booker T retained his title.  Martel told Booker that he owed him one.

January 19, 1998 WCW Monday Nitro, Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana
Defeated Eddie Guerrero with the Quebec Crab in just over five minutes

Guerrero jumped Martel as he entered the ring.  Martel fired back taking the offensive even hitting a gorilla press slam, something I don't think I've ever seen Martel do!  A really good match, Guerrero was so good and he was able to fit so much into this short match without doing too much.  Martel hit a spine buster holding onto the legs he turned it right over into his finish.  The crowd was hot!

Later in the show after Booker T defeated Mortis to defend his Television Championship Mortis attacked him.  Martel made the save and Booker T agreed to defend the Television Championship against him at Souled Out.

January 20, 1998 WCW Saturday Night taping Thibodaux, Louisiana
Show airing January 24, 1998
Defeated Johnny Attitude with the Quebec Crab in just over two minutes.  Footage was shown of the attack from the January 22nd Thunder.

A promo aired of Martel talking about his match later tonight against Booker T for the World Television Championship at Souled Out.  That's right, Martel wrestled in a taped match on Wednesday that aired the same night as his PPV match.  Why would they have him wrestle on the taped Saturday Night and the Live PPV, I just don't get that.

January 22, 1998 WCW Thunder Huntsville, Alabama
Defeated Perry Saturn with the Quebec Crab
I found this match on YouTube, it's a decent back and forth match until Martel rolls through a sunset flip to lock in his finisher for the submission.

When Martel arrived at the building Kidman and Perry Saturn attacked Martel throwing him through a glass door.

January 24, 1998 WCW Souled Out, Dayton, Ohio
Was defeated by World Television Champion: Booker T

January 29, 1998 WCW Thunder, Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, Tennessee
World Television Champion: Booker T defeated Saturn, during the match Lodi, Billy Kidman, Sick Boy, & Riggs attempted to interfere and Martel ran out preventing them.  After the match Booker T and Martel had words with each other.

February 14, 1998 WCW Worldwide, Universal Studios, Florida
Defeated Barry Houston with the Quebec Crab in about three minutes

I found this match on YouTube, it's not listed on any of my typical sources for results.  However this was taped during the days when taping several weeks of matches at once.

February 16, 1998 WCW Monday Nitro, Tampa, Florida
Was defeated by Perry Saturn with the Rings of Saturn

The match was supposed to be Saturn vs. Disco Inferno, on the way to the ring La Parka attacked Disco laying him out with a chair.  For reasons I can't understand Martel came out and challenged Saturn.  It was a very good match that ended when the Kidman distracted the referee and Riggs attacked Martel.

Defeated Booker T with the Quebec Crab to win the World Television Championship.

That's right two matches later Martel returned to the ring to capture his first and only WCW championship.  After the ref was bumped Saturn attempted to interfere which lead to Booker hitting Saturn with a spin kick that injured his knee leading to the submission win for Martel.  In another odd moment Martel worked as babyface against Saturn earlier but was a heel here against Booker T.

February 22, 1998 WCW SuperBrawl VIII Cow Palace, San Francisco, California
Was defeated by Booker T losing his World Television Championship.

This was a very good match I couldn't see where Martel injured himself and I was looking for it.  This was probably the best match of his WCW run.

July 13, 1998 WCW Monday Nitro, Las Vegas, Nevada
Was defeated by Stevie Ray after a slapjack

Martel had Stevie Ray in the Quebec Crab when Bret Hart ran out and hit Martel in the back of the head with a chair, the ref didn't see it.  Ray then hit his finish the slapjack, which is his variation of the pedigree.

If you watch it Martel lands on the crown of his head and according to his RF Shoot Interview it injured two vertebrae in his neck.  He said he was hesitant to take the move because the didn't want to land on his knee after just having surgery.  Martel said that was enough for him and he hung up the boots.

After being injured again in his first match back Martel retired from the ring working for WCW has a trainer and working as a host for the french versions of their show.  Incidentally his entrance music in WCW was terrible.

Martel would wrestle one more match on March 20, 1999 in Hawaii defeating The Metal Maniac.

Martel is one of a only a few men to hold a championship in the AWA, WWF, and WCW.  He also held championships in Stampede Wrestling and various NWA promotions. Had he not been injured I suspect he would still have finished his career in WCW just not the way he did.

WCW Saturday Night and Thunder are not yet on the WWE Network so these results and information I found on The History of WWE website.

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