The following are some excerpts from a blog entry by WWE Hall Of Famer Bret "The Hitman" Hart. In it, he discusses the recent passing of Andrew "Test" Martin. You can view Bret Hart’s blog at BretHart.com.
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.
And another excerpt:
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.