Andrew Martin, who wrestled for WWE and ECW as Test, was found dead last night in his apartment by police in Tampa, Florida. Details regarding the circumstances of Martin’s death were sketchy as this article was being written, but police did rule out foul play. Martin was just days away from celebrating his 34th birthday, which once again is sure to raise the usual questions people ask when professional wrestlers die so young.
Martin had been released by World Wrestling Entertainment after failing a drug test in 2007, and had most recently been wrestling in Japan and Europe. In interviews however, Test insisted that he requested the release (WWE drug policy normally suspends its performers after a first offense). As more information is released, hopefully a clearer picture will emerge.
In the meantime, Test becomes the latest of a long list of wrestlers from Rick Rude to Eddie Guerrero to die at a young age under what appears at best to be mysterious circumstances. According to published reports, police were called to check on Martin when a neighbor noticed that he had been sitting, but not moving, close to a window for some time.
As Test, Andrew Martin was never a household name on the level of a Hulk Hogan or Ric Flair, but he did have a couple of memorable runs. Martin arrived in WWE in the late nineties during a television broadcast where Motley Crue were playing live on the show. In the original storyline, he was supposed to be a roadie for the band, although in typical wrestling fashion, this may or may not have been actually true. Soon, he was aligned with Vince McMahon’s “evil promoter” character Mr. McMahon as a heel — a role he seemed to play very well, and one which he would return to throughout his career.
But in his most famous storyline, Test turned babyface to romance McMahon’s daughter Stephanie, who then turned heel on him to marry the wrestler Triple H (a storyline which also ended up playing out in real life).
Following this story, Test’s character seemed to lose some of its luster as he fell into the dreaded treadmill of the WWE midcard. As a midcarder, he turned from babyface to heel numerous times. For a time he was aligned with then real-life girlfriend and wrestling personality Stacy Kiebler in an embarrasingly bad angle centered around Test’s “Testicles.”
From there, he would move to mostly forgettable feuds with the Undertaker and others. Most recently, Test was in McMahon’s new version of ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) where once again he seemed on the verge of a legitimate push, only to once again see it fizzle out. He also had a brief run in WWE rival TNA (Total Nonstop Action) as “The Punisher” where he was involved in an angle with their stars Sting, Christian Cage, and AJ Styles. However, TNA did not offer him a contract.
Recent girlfriend Barbara Blank (who wrestles in WWE as Kelly Kelly) posted the following words about her friend Andrew Martin on her MySpace page:
“You were my world my best friend the one i always ran to u were always there for me..what happened to our plan…Why did god take u away from me…my heart is always with u and u only..I know your in heaven watching over me now my angel…”
Andrew “Test” Martin is dead at 33.