?Reported by Adam Martin of WrestleView.com
Andrew "Test" Martin Interview: Talks about his time in WWE, Bret Hart
On Saturday, May 7, 2005 at 3:27 AM EST Jimmy Van of JimmyVan.com sent in the following recap...
On Tuesday night, May 3rd I had the opportunity to interview former WWE superstar Andrew "Test" Martin. Andrew spoke candidly and honestly for an entire hour about a variety of WWE topics including a missed opportunity with DX, Bret Hart and the Hall of Fame, being a Kevin Nash clone, storyline disappointment, the infamous Baltimore snowstorm, his neck injury, his WWE release and much, much more.
Part one of the interview (which is 30 minutes in length) is now online at www.JimmyVan.com in Windows Media and Real Audio formats. You can also listen to a five-minute preview clip of the interview in Real Audio format at this link:
Here is a text transcript from this portion of the interview.
"Talkin' to a Canadian eh?" Andrew joked to start (Martin's from Whitby, Ontario, not far from JV's city of Toronto).
I heard that when you were growing up, I don't know if it was hockey or lacrosse, you were like "the goon".
"Pretty much it's true," Andrew said. He said it was lacrosse. He was 18, and a friend of his played for the Whitby Warriors, and his dad coached the team. He said he'd never even watched a game of lacrosse, let alone played. The Warriors were going to the playoffs and asked him if he'd play. He said they hooked him up with his equipment. He'd sit on the bench, and the coach would tap him and say, "Take out number 9," and that was his job.
I heard that you were a bouncer, and you were sitting around with a friend at a bar watching a pay-per-view and joked around about maybe becoming wrestlers, and you decided to go for it.
Andrew said that's true. He said he and a friend bounced at a bar in Oshawa (near Whitby) and they were wrestling fanatics. He said they were watching WrestleMania, and wondered how they could get into it. People always thought they were wrestlers because of their size. "Everything that's happened to me in this business has been very lucky," he said. "Right place, right time." He said there was a WWE show in Toronto. He didn't know you had to go to wrestling school, he was only 20 or 21 at the time. They went to the Skydome, and found out from security guards that the wrestlers would be going to Planet Hollywood afterwards. So they went to Planet Hollywood, and the manager thought they were wrestlers because of their size and took them to the VIP area. "The President of WWE Canada Carl DeMarco came up, and obviously the jig was up," Andrew joked. DeMarco asked them to stand there and make sure nobody came in that wasn't supposed to. DeMarco said he would introduce them to one of the wrestlers. So 10 or 15 minutes later, DeMarco brought over Bret Hart. "Growing up in Canada, I was a huge Bret Hart fan," Andrew said. "There I am you know, 21, face-to-face with Bret Hart, it was surreal."
Bret talked to Andrew and his friend about getting into wrestling. He said he'd get them contact information for Killer Kowalski's school in Boston, and told them to call the WWE Canada office. So Andrew called, and Carl DeMarco invited him to come down to the office. He went down and they talked about his athletic background. Then Bret Hart called him and said he was training some guys at his house in Calgary. Bret said he wouldn't promise him anything and he would have to pay his own way down, but Bret and Leo Burke would train him. "I was blown away. Unbelievable. For him to offer to do something like that. The next day I quit both of my jobs, packed up a truck and drove down to Calgary."
Leo Burke did most of the training since Bret was a top guy in WWE...
"He was the Champion at the time, Bret had just started doing the 'Canadian thing' ... Everything that's happened to me in this business I definitely owe to Bret," Andrew said. "He didn't have to do any of that. He told us when he brought me down, 'I'll be able to tell you in the first couple months if I think you've got what it takes.' I remember him taking me aside after a few months and he goes, 'You know, you're picking this up really fast, I think you're gonna do really well in this business.' That was such a compliment."
What did Bret focus on in your training compared to Burke?
"Bret would critique us." Andrew said. He said Bret didn't get in a lot. He'd watch and give advice. "It was tough times... we would go four or five hours a day, six days a week. I had no money, I slept on a concrete floor... it worked out for the best."
I heard that when you first got to Calgary, you were in a bank with a friend talking about training, and there was a certain wrestling star in the bank and he overheard you guys - Chris Jericho.
"Yes that's true," Andrew said.
Did he approach you guys?
"Not at all. That was when Jericho had just kind of started in WCW. They didn't use him a lot so you really didn't see him that often, but from watching it all the time I knew who he was." Andrew said that they joke about it now because Jericho always brings it up, and they laugh about it.
Who came up with the names TJ Thunder and Martin Kane?
"Martin Kane is mine, TJ Thunder was a bad, bad gimmick." Andrew said the gimmick was that he used to be Wayne Newton's bodyguard. "I do not know why," he said.
Well WWE took that idea later, it wasn't Wayne Newton...
Andrew laughed. "It was a little more hardcore."
Where did the Test name come from?
"I think that was Vince's."
JV said he saw Andrew on the "Gallagher" show on TSN when he was first starting out in WWE, and he was playing up to the co-host Wendy Wolfe doing the, "Do you wanna pass the Test?" thing. But WWE never did anything with it.
"You can say more or less I was just joking around," he said. "My original angle when I joined was suppose to be joining DX. They brought me in... Bret left to go to WCW. I didn't wanna go there because there were so many guys there at the time, I said I'll take my chances and try to get into WWE and Carl (DeMarco) got me a tryout. I was lucky enough to get signed. They would have these Dojo training camps once a month and I went down there and finally when they called me up, the plan was to have me join DX. I can remember at the PPV being out there maybe 10 minutes before I was supposed to run in the ring and beat up Bossman and join DX. A security guard comes back and says, 'They cut it,' so I came to the back... and I understand, you know, here's a bunch of guys, they've got a good thing going. They don't know me whatsoever, and they were adamant I guess, with Vince, about not wanting me to be a part of DX. Which was fine because the next time Vince just switched me and instead of me joining DX and being a babyface, he put me with the Corporation with him."
Which was as good, if not better...
"Right. I don't think you can get much better than starting off your career as the boss' bodyguard."
You mentioned the Funkin' Dojo. You were in there with guys who were obscure at the time but look at them now. Kurt Angle, Edge, Christian, all these guys.
"All of them, the Hardys, Mark Henry was there... 'Meat' was in the house... even down with Bret, Shamrock was there, Davey was there. They all came through somewhere at sometime."
I saw this itinerary for the Funkin' Dojo. What kind of a trainer was Dory Funk?
"Dory was great. Dory had a lot of patience and he was a very positive person. The big thing about finding a good trainer in this business is getting someone who is patient and instead of yelling at you about something, take the time to show you how to do it properly, and I think Dory was great with that." Andrew said Dory taught a lot of "old school" stuff that a lot of people don't even touch or use today.
Do you still talk to Bret Hart?
"We get in contact every now and then, not as much as I would like to be honest, but yeah we still do."
What did you think of him being Aladdin at Christmas time here (in Toronto)?
"I think it's great and from what I heard he did a great job... after you leave this business, no matter what... I said I was gonna retire at 30 and sit on the beach but, being at home for so long with the neck injury, you just need to keep yourself busy with something."
Do you think Bret will ever go into the WWE Hall of Fame?
"I would hope so... I think that's more up to Bret than anything."
You started in WWE as a bodyguard for Motley Crue. Did you get to spend much time with those guys?
Andrew said they shot some footage and went on the road and did three shows. He said it was awesome, he was 22 at the time, hanging out with Motley Crue who he grew up idolizing. "It was surreal. Awesome," he said.
You were going to do the DX thing and then it didn't happen. When the company told you you'd be doing the bodyguard thing, what did you think?
"Honestly at that point, I just wanted to get out there. Whatever it takes, you just get your foot in the door, you get out there, and do your thing," he said.
It was December 1998 when you finally came on TV as a character and you were a bodyguard for The Corporation. Your very first show you're out there helping The Rock. You were a young guy, you were just starting out; was there any jealousy in the back from guys who were looking for a spot?
"I don't know if you can call it jealousy... more like animosity. I've been very, very lucky and fortunate in this business. I get signed very quickly, I had maybe five matches under my belt before they put me on TV. There's a lot of guys there who've been working like indies and everything, five, ten years. Of course there is. That's how the business is. But none of them wouldn't have done the same thing. What am I supposed to say, 'No please don't give me this spot,'? I just dealt with it, you know?"
You were working tag matches, they put you in there with Triple H, and you were in there with The Rock. Did those guys give you much guidance?
"They were always very patient with me and took the time. At the start I was very green, and very nervous too. As time goes on, the more you get under your belt, I was lucky enough to be on the road all the time and be doing five shows a week, sometimes six or seven. You were getting the experience you needed."
The one criticism when you started out was that you were a Kevin Nash clone or a Diesel clone...
"I hear that all the time," Andrew said. "To be honest I'm really good friends with Kevin, I talk to him all the time. I consider that a compliment. Kevin was one of my favorite wrestlers growing up. And you know what, Kevin Nash did very well in this business. There could be a lot worse comparison. Yeah definitely, I've heard that before."
You left The Corporation, and they kept you around in a high profile spot - you were with The Union with Mick Foley, The Big Show and Ken Shamrock. Then suddenly you asked out Stephanie McMahon in the ring, and it turned into the biggest angle on the show.
"As far as I know, last time I checked it... when we got to the wedding, that was the highest rated segment on Raw, ever," Andrew said.
And then the big swerve with Triple H when he supposedly conned her in Vegas. Were you disappointed that you never got to get revenge on Triple H?
"Definitely. There's no way I can sit here and lie and say I wasn't. There were some different endings that were supposed to happen, but the guys who wrote that - Ed Ferrera and Vince Russo - skipped to WCW right before that ended, and Hunter came in and you know, took the angle."
So there was originally a big PPV match planned or something?
"I don't know about that, I just know there were different ideas of me either, leaving Stephanie at the alter and turning heel, or other things."
At the Over the Edge PPV in 1999 in Kansas City, you were there, you worked a match with The Union, and you were in the ring right after Owen Hart fell...
"It was right after, yeah," he said.
It was after that match that Jim Ross announced that he'd passed away. Did any of the guys try to put their foot down and say they didn't want to go out there?
"I'll be honest with you... we were like two matches after. We were going over what we were gonna do. I can remember exactly coming out, and going to gorilla position where everybody is, and everybody was standing there looking at the monitors. And I turned to Al Snow and I said, 'What happened?' and he's like, 'You didn't see that? Owen just fell from the rafters. I don't think he's alive.' And it was just like, oh my God. It was more like a state of shock. I don't think that went through anybody's mind at the time. That was... definitely the worst experience I've ever had, that was horrible. It was just a tragedy that an accident like that would happen."
It was the next night on Raw that they did the tribute. You were one of the guys that told a story about when he ribbed you at a hotel.
"Owen was definitely the king of ribs," Andrew said. He said Owen kept calling his room pretending to be a fan wanting an autograph, and he kept calling until Andrew ran down to the lobby, and then of course nobody was there. "He's done so many ribs to most of the guys. Owen was a really good guy. A really good guy."
Were there any other classic ribs that happened... JBL is known for "initiations"...
"You know what I wouldn't even say that. I don't think that's true whatsoever. In this business you learn, there's a certain amount of respect. Some people just don't know any better. When I came in, a lot of things, I didn't know any better and I learned. Was it a rib? No. You learn. Some people just don't understand the right way to do things. They're young and they're naive and they're stupid. And you know, I did them. 99% of the guys did them. As time goes on, you learn that this is a business, and everybody's there to make money."
A couple of names I'd like to mention - in the Funkin' Dojo camps, another guy you worked with in the camps and later in WWE was Mike "Crash Holly" Lockwood. Your thoughts on his passing a couple of years ago.
"You know just like all the rest of the people who died. Just... sad. So young, and just... gone. And it's not like it's one or two, it's like 15 or 20, and one after another. And it's sad. Sad."
And did you ever get the chance to meet Chris Candido?
"I met Chris a couple of times, I didn't really know him on a personal level."
Right after the Stephanie angle with the wedding, you hurt your back - four ruptured discs. How did that happen?
"It was a hardcore match. Funny you brought that up because I'm getting some new treatments right now. It was in a hardcore match with Gangrel where there was a piece of steel on the floor when he hit me and I fell backwards and it took me right in the back. It was... I didn't think I would ever be able to wrestle... the way I felt that night, I didn't think I'd be wrestling again. I could barely even walk. It took a while to come down. To this day it's irrating as hell, it takes me like 10 or 15 minutes to get out of bed some days when it's really tight."
How long were you out from that?
"I think I came back three or four weeks after that. It's always just been bothersome."
Do you think maybe you came back too early because you didn't want to lose your spot?
"Hmm... no I wouldn't say so. Everybody here works hurt, that's the way it is. You don't wrestle five days a week and think your body's gonna feel good every night."
You came back after the injury, and it seemed like WWE didn't know what to do with you. They ended up putting you with Matt Bloom and forming T&A. I heard at the time that you didn't want to be in a tag team.
"I'm not gonna lie, I felt let down from what happened with the whole Stephanie/Triple H angle. I never to this day got an explanation of really why. And you know, going in a tag team, I had no problem with Matt. Matt was like my best friend in the business. I ended up... those were some of the best times I had in the business were with Matt."
Trish Stratus debuted with you, and you never got the straps and then disbanded. Why did you think that was? Did the company think you were better as a singles guy, or was your heart not into being part of a team?
"I'm a singles guy. I enjoy the singles better. That's more my style. I think I'm better suited for the company that way."
In 2001, WCW shut down. All of a sudden you've got a big influx of guys coming in. What were you thinking when it all was announced?
"I thought it was a shame that somebody else didn't take it," he said. "The hottest times in wrestling were when I started. And even when I was a fan we'd watch the Monday night wars, that's what made wrestling even more exciting, we'd flip back and forth between the two. Competition is good. Competition is good for business. It was weird, it was weird. Who would have ever thought that would happen?"
How did the guys fit in from WCW? Was there a little separation?
"I had no animosity towards any of these guys because I was pretty fresh in the business too. I'm sure there was some animosity between some of the older guys working each other, or some of them who used to work here. But nothing from my standpoint. To this day I still talk to Booker, and he's one of the funniest guys I know. It was nothing like that. I keep in contact with Nash and DDP and all those guys."
In 2001 you were winning all kinds of titles - European, Tag, Intercontinental Title. But the thing was, most of those reigns were pretty short, maybe two weeks here, three weeks there. What do you think that was about?
"At the time I can remember... there were so many belts because both companies still had the belts. They meant nothing. Everyone was exchanging belts left, right and center. It was happening all the time. It's not like you had somebody with an eight month title reign. It was unheard of. It was a couple weeks here, maybe a week, maybe a day."
It's still that way now a lot of the time.
"I just remember when I was a kid, someone would have the Intercontinental Championship, they'd have it forever. They were gonna be the next big thing like, when Hogan was Champion, Warrior had it... that's when it meant something."
There are a lot more shows now. Back then they would do four PPVs a year so they could do that build in the meantime, but now every week they have live TV and almost two PPVs a month. Do you think they have too many shows or is it just the bottom line after all?
"Well if they were making money I'd say no... evidently they are... the business is definitely not what it used to be but... I figure once a month... I don't know because it's hard for me to judge. Is a wrestling fan taking in two PPVs a month... I think a lot of people are probably going to choose Raw or choose SmackDown!.
Let's talk about some of your big matches. One match that sticks out is with Shane McMahon at SummerSlam.
"That's my favorite match of all time," Andrew said. "I was in Minnesota, I'll never forget the feeling of that match when it was going on. The people were on the edges of their seats. Yeah that was definitely my favorite match ever."
Did you have any idea that Shane could work?
"Ya me and Shane had trained together. Shane's an athlete, and he's a nut so he makes a good wrestler."
They came up with a marketing idea - they called your fans "Testicles".
"Believe it or not, I can remember doing it, and thinking about it when I was told about it, and I laughed. And I thought you know what, this is something that I actually think will catch on. When I said it, the next week on TV there were so many "Testicles" signs everywhere. And the T-shirt was gone, everybody was buying that T-shirt, they were sold out, I could never get one. It was good but they just never really did anything with it."
It seemed they would get desperate and lose patience if something didn't catch on after two weeks...
"No because that really was catching on. Number one I was being a babyface... I'm a heel, I work heel, I'm a better heel. Eventually we were going to get to the whole thing with me turning on Stacy anyway. There's only so much mileage you can get out of something."
Part one of the interview (which is 30 minutes in length) is now online at JimmyVan.com in Windows Media and Real Audio formats. You can also listen to a five-minute preview clip of the interview in Real Audio format at this link:
Part 2 of our exclusive interview with Andrew ?Test? Martin is also now online at JimmyVan.com!
And stay tuned for the first detailed interview conducted with Matt ?A-Train? Bloom since his release from WWE.
Thanks to Rob Russen, Andrew's agent. You can contact Rob for bookings at RobLRussen@aol.com. And for information on Rob's WrestleReunion II convention, check out www.wrestlereunion.com.