Just 4 days before his 34th birthday former WWE star Test, real name Andrew Martin, has passed away. He was discovered in his Tampa, Florida apartment.
Martin’s neighbor who spotted him passed out and called the authorities spoke to the ABC News affiliate in Tampa. She said she first noticed him slumped in a strange position the day before she called the cops. He may have been dead for a couple of days: “His feet were flat on the ground and he was on the sofa and he was completely blank,” she said. “I kept thinking, ‘I hope he gets up,’ because I could tell he was young and I thought, ‘ I hope somehow he’s okay.’ But just knew in my heart he just wasn’t.”
A concoction of drugs were found including “painkillers, prescription drugs and steroids.”
The Tampa Police Department made the following statement:
“At approximately 8:00pm on Friday, March 13, 2009, Tampa Police Officers responded to the Post Harbour Apartments, located at 725 Harbour Place Drive to check on the welfare of Mr. Andrew J. Martin. A neighbor reported that she could see into his apartment through a window and that Mr. Martin appeared motionless for several hours. Officers entered the apartment and discovered Mr. Martin to be deceased. At this time there is no indication of foul play. The deceased was transported to the Medical Examiners Office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death. The date of the autopsy is undetermined at this time. The next of kin has been notified of the death.”
Test’s father Bob commented:
“He always said, ‘Dad, I will never live as long as you’ … He just loved the lifestyle, but he knew it was taking its toll on him.”
WWE acknowledged the death on WWE.com, but made it clear he was not part of the company at the time of his DUI, overdose and time of passing:
“World Wrestling Entertainment has been made aware of the passing of Andrew Martin. The WWE extends its deepest condolences to the Martin family. Mr. Martin was under contract with WWE at various time periods and performed under the name Test. He last performed for the WWE in February 2007.”
TNA also released a statement:
“Everyone at Total Nonstop Action Wrestling is saddened by the passing of Andrew ‘Test’ Martin. TNA sends its deepest condolences to the Martin family, and we hope our fans will keep Andrew in their thoughts in the coming days.” Martin had a brief run in the company under the name ‘The Punisher” but was let go during the time congress began to unearth wrestling’s drug culture.”
Test became one of the bigger character’s during the boom period known as the Attitude Era after being discovered by Bret Hart and tutored by Hall of Fame inductee Dory Funk Jr. He debuted in the then WWF when on an episode of Heat in 1998 he threw a fan off the stage during a special performance by band Motley Crue. This early gimmick was as an enforcer/bodyguard type, and he had a solid run in the big “Corporation” angle, as well as the formation of the Stephanie McMahon Helmsley era where he played Stephanie’s first on air love interest.
Test would later find himself in the tag ranks with partner Albert “A-Train” and manager Trish Stratus. He seemed to get a fair share of hot managers, as Stacy Keibler also took to his side in 2002 as he joined forces with Scott Steiner. Martin and Keibler developed a strong personal realtionship around this time.
In 2004 he had to undergo neck and spinal surgery and in a crass move by WWE was released before fully healing. Many cited this as a point where Martin turned to substances to get through recovery.
After a run on the Indy scene Test was brought back to WWE in 2006 to appear on the ECW brand, but was released a few months later after failing the Wellness policy and clearly having personal issues. He was dating Diva Kelly Kelly at the time.
His last national exposure came with TNA wrestling, although the run was universally panned when Martin was clearly artificially big. He was released after only a few appearances so the company could save face during a time when wrestling’s drug culture was under high scrutiny.
Martin continued to have problems outside of the ring. He was arrested for DUI in April 2008, and reportedly saved from an accidental OD from WWE Diva Kelly Kelly. He even tried to escape the “wrestling bubble”, revealing his retirement on Myspace, only to return a few weeks later.
Stars remember Andrew Martin:
His former girlfriend Kelly Kelly:
“You were my world … my best friend the one I always ran to … You were always there for me … what happened to our plan …Why did God take you away from me … my heart is always with you and you only … I know you’re in heaven watching over me now my angel …”
Jim Ross, who originally signed Test to his first WWE contract said the following on his blog:
“I hired Andrew in the same class with his other fellow Canadians Edge and Christian in the late 90’s in an outstanding group of young talent whose advanced training was over seen by future WWE Hall of Famer Dory Funk and by Tom Prichard. I spoke at length with Andrew, as did my wife, last year in Orlando at Wrestlemania 24 and he seemed very happy and looked to be healthy and in great physical condition. He spoke of his real estate endeavors and the fact that he was strongly considering going back to school and becoming accredited as a physical therapist. Andrew had done well in WWE, saved his money, made some good investments, and told me he only wanted to wrestle when ‘he wanted to’ which the randomly scheduled international tours would allow him to do. He did not express interest in the American indy scene and was genuinely excited about the prospects of the aforementioned physical therapy career. Andrew had always told me that he never wanted to wrestle past the age of 35 which was why he “listened to the lectures” as he told me with a smile that sunny day in Orlando in WWE’s headquarter hotel. I honestly had never seen him happier. Late last summer, reacting on the suggestion of others, WWE reached out to Andrew to ask if he needed some help handling some alleged personal issues that he was rumored to have been experiencing. Andrew had been gone from WWE for over two years but had remained friends with many still associated with WWE. The rumors of Andrew’s issues were true and he was afforded the opportunity by WWE to attend The Hanley Center Rehabilitation facility in West Palm Beach, Florida for several weeks beginning in August of 2008. Andrew successfully completed the WWE funded program and was highly regarded by the Hanley Center with being such an asset to them after completing the program of which Andrew took seriously, according to the facility.”
Eric Bischoff made these comments:
“Being only 33 years old, it’s another unfortunate incident. He obviously had challenges with addiction. We were friendly, (but) he had a different group of friends as we had an age difference. I did spend a fair amount of time with him (overseas trips, etc). He was always first-class, very cordial and a polite, professional guy. I never saw any evidence of substance abuse until about a year and a half ago. All the time before that he was always sober and professional.”
Kevin Nash reiterated JR’s comments about WWE going out of their way to help the former Intercontinental champ:
“We were really close. I helped him get into rehab. WWE picked up the dollar and helped him through rehab. Andrew went in. He was doing really well, making his meetings. He went over and worked in Japan (recently). He was in that not as busy as you once were routine. We don’t know the cause of death, and I would hate to speculate. The combination of muscle relaxers and pain pills are lethal. He was a great guy. I kind of looked at him like a little brother. I considered him one of my better friends.”
Val Venis, who was a close friend of Test’s during his long WWE run (they came in around the same time), posted the following:
“Andrew’s passing is still so shocking. I am still waiting for Johnny Ace or Christian or Edge or Jericho or somebody to call me back in Japan and tell me it was all a mistake. It does not feel real. Andrew “TEST” Martin along with Matt Bloom and myself became like the three amigos as we traveled the road together and shared many great memories. Last night before our match, as Matt and I absorbed the news and tried to make sense of it all, the silence was broken with Matt’s words which I could not have said better myself. ‘You know what Val, all the friends we have lost, their deaths really sucked and saddened. But this one HURTS DEEP!’ Drew(burg), I will always remember the great times we had and the memories you provided. You will always have a special place in my heart and my life. I promise, you will never be forgotten.”
Former WWE star Rory MacAllister of the Highlanders also made comments, showing how tragedies like this hurt everyone in the business, not just those close to the victim:
“Haven’t done one of these in a while, not really sure if I should be doing this one but I’m a few drinks in and I think it’s nearly 4am. I have been a wrestler for many years. I’ve accepted all that comes with that and have done my best to do my job throughout all the trials and tribulations, without letting things affect me. I’ve been hungry to achieve my goals, I have been homeless, I have been cold, I’ve been injured and I have been fired. The flip side of that is I have lived! I’ve achieved all I wanted to and more. I feel through either wrestling or charity work I have touched people and I feel comfortable with that. For the most part wrestlers are a calloused people. Our business is a tough one and we deal with that by letting a lot of stuff slide off our backs. Believe it or not that goes with friends and co workers passing on. I have a tattoo on my left wrist of my best friend, wrestler “Sweet” Stevie Lee, who died a few years ago because of this business and I add to it every year on his anniversary. I am at peace with Stevies passing. Since him there have so many others I honestly don’t even count any more, all of which I have dealt with quietly and personally. Like I said, I let them roll off my back because I knew it was the best way to deal with them. But I can’t say I’m able to do the same with Test. We were never good friends. In fact, when I first met him, I didn’t like him at all. I thought he was arrogant and self involved. As it turned out I was way off base, and would eventually chat with him backstage whenever I saw him. I didn’t really get to know him personally though until after he had left WWE. He was doing his first indy date after WWE in Ohio for WAR wrestling and since I wasn’t on the road that weekend I decided to head on up and show him some support, since I knew it could be tough for him to adjust. Man we talked all night and shared stories and laughed. For the record, he’s a pretty funny guy. I told him, since he hadn’t done a lot of indys in the past, I would help him by sending him contacts and talking to promoters for him. I did this for him and would occasionally send him texts or short calls telling him who to get in contact with and generally just shoot the shit for a little while. Nothing best buddyish or nothing just pleasantries. Then we got a chance to chill at wrestlemania last year for a bit when he was there with Barbie. I liked the guy. I respected and looked up to him. As I said before we were not best friends, but his passing has hit me hard. I can’t let this one roll off my back for some reason. I have no explanation why I can’t, I just can’t and I filled with thoughts and saddened. He was barely more than a kid. 33, same age as me. He talked to me about becoming a P.T and seemed psyched about it. Barbie told me a couple times he couldn’t wait to get it going. He had so much going on for him, so much life to live. But now he’s gone and people can speculate or offer opinions but what the hell does that do? Change the outcome or just make them want to say “I told you so”? I really don’t care. A family has lost one of their own and it’s a tragedy. I have had them in my prayers all day. I have had Barbie in my prayers all day but haven’t found the balls to tell her how so very sorry I am. She loved him. I wish I’d gotten to know him better but all I can say is a good man is gone and people are hurting because of it. To them I want to say, from my family to yours, I’m so sorry, but please try to take solice in the fact he touched many people in his short life and is now is Gods blessed care. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers for some time to come.”
Former wrestling star Marty Jannetty also left a condolence message on his Myspace, writing:
“This is sad and scary>>>>R.I.P Andrew. It’s always a sad feeling finding out that yet again one more of the boys has died …and the feeling turns sickly when I hear they are younger than me.. Andrew “Test” Martin was just 33…I just had a couple of “the boyz” whom I consider great friends ,staying here at the Treehouse with for the past couple days as they were wrestling in nearby towns..Bobby BS Sanford, and Frank aka “JT Flash” but none of us had gotten any calls about Test, so sorry I’m mentioning this a little late.. I really didn’t spend much time around Test on the road, but I saw him on a regular at Lifestyle’s Gym in Tampa..In fact I tried to do one of his workouts one time, and mang..never again, he really trained intensely when it came to the weights..but well, the guy was always nice to me, and seemed to have a lot of love and respect for the business,.and that’s what makes this brotherhood such a tight fitted family..I know he will be missed greatly, my sympathies to his family and loved ones..Rest in Peace my brother!!.. Each of these deaths is of a friend, some are close friends and then some times it’s felt like it was a family member..either way, like I said earlier, it’s scary when they are a younger age than me…and there isn’t a single one of us boyz from the Hulkamania Runs Wild era..(that would be what mid 80’s thu mid 90’s)..who doesn’t sit back and think about running the roads approximately 300 days a year..and what toll it must have taken and left on us…especially when it’s a young one in their mid 30’s that dies. Yes it downright makes it a worry to go to sleep sometimes..but I must say..seeing this little sniplet from Andrew..with what has happened..tops all scared feelings..it’s right at creepy..eery…something more to really think about…”
Former WWE Diva and manager of Test, Trish Stratus, kept it short and sweet, writing:
“My thoughts and prayers are with you. Andrew – you will be dearly missed”
Candice Michelle wrote on the WWE Universe website:
“I wanna offer my condolences, prayers, and love to the family and friends of Andrew “Test” Martin! This isn’t an easy thing to hear about someone in our community! I had a lot of respect for him and am thankful for being blessed with knowing him!”
JBL also blogged the following:
“I’m very saddened to hear about Andrew Martin’s death. Andrew was a good friend and I hate to see someone so young with so much promise not get to live a full life.”
We round off with a blog from Bret Hart who was instrumental in bringing Test in to wrestling:
It’s with a very heavy heart that I somehow search for the right words to express my deepest sorrow over the loss of yet another of my wrestling brothers, Andrew Martin, aka Test.
I met Andrew, along with his equally huge friend George, at the Planet Hollywood restaurant in downtown Toronto in 1996. WWE exec, Carlo DeMarco brought them both up to meet me and to see if I’d be interested in possibly training them as wrestlers. Andrew was, as my father would say, a fine specimen; 6’ 6”, lean, hard and handsome with a big, boyish smile. I wasn’t actually looking for any more prospects but I saw something in him and told him if he could get over to Calgary I’d personally teach him, free of charge.
I was working a full WWE schedule back then and was preparing to begin teaching, or fine tuning, some of the many young wrestlers that were starting to pop up everywhere. I instantly liked Andrew and I can smile now at the memory of coming home from the road, physically exhausted, only to remember that I’d promised Andrew a real match in my dungeon. I found myself reluctantly wrapping my knees and lacing up my boots so I could wrestle Andrew on my precious day off. That day Andrew went from dreaming of being a wrestler to actually working with the WWE World Champion in his home. I wrestled Andrew for over a half hour and I knew back then that, with his size and ability, he was going to go far in the business. Unfortunately, my days in the WWE came to an end just as Andrew’s time was beginning. I’d gotten most of my students tryouts at the Raw TV taping in Ottawa, the day after the infamous screwjob in Montreal, and so our paths took a fork in the road. Even with me gone, Carlo, Edge, Christian and my bother Owen helped guide Andrew and he earned his spot on the WWE roster. I lost contact with Andrew for a time, but every now and then I’d catch him on TV and I felt very proud of him.
Death brought Andrew and I back together when we saw each other at Bryan “Krush” Adams’ funeral two years ago. It was during that sad, dark time – after the recent losses of Sherri Martel, Bam Bam Bigelow and the blackness of the Chris Benoit tragedy – I was hearing that Andrew was having drug addiction problems again and I was fearful he might be next.
I saw a need to keep in touch with him and do all I could to encourage him to save himself, and maybe some others too. We renewed our friendship and stayed in touch.
This past November I had the luck of doing a wrestling tour in France for two weeks with Andrew and he seemed to be a new man. He’d completed WWE sponsored rehab and had a new lease on life. Andrew clearly had his demons on the run and we talked about him becoming the poster child for wrestlers that desperately needed a voice urging, “If I can beat this, so can you!” Andrew convinced me he had the commitment and the determination to make a difference. I had a great time with him on that tour.
Following the tour I had painful knee replacement surgery and now it was Andrew calling me to see if I was doing okay. A few weeks ago he talked of coming to visit me here in Hawaii. He seemed so strong and focused that I never thought to question him about how he was doing. I again urged him to use his experience to reach out to the many wrestlers who are still losing their battle with drug addiction.
Now I wish so much that I could’ve somehow known that Andrew was losing his grip on his addictions, beginning to slip. I failed to see the signs of him losing a battle that I thought he’d already won. My heart has been heavy since the news of his passing. In our last phone call, a few weeks ago, I kidded him about how he worked that entire France tour and never took one bump and I smile at the memory of his deep booming laugh echoing over the phone. That’s how I choose to remember my friend. I’m sorry I didn’t see his pain and suffering; had I known I’d have tried harder to save him. He slipped and we lost one of the good ones. Nobody has anything but the nicest things to remember about Andrew Martin. I will miss him. He was a dear friend, one of very few I had left in a profession where too many die too young. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his entire family. Somehow, as hard as we all tried, we lost another good soul forever.