Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Sherri Martel Shoot Interview

“Scary Sherri” gives a “Sensational” interview about her career from Memphis to WCW and all points in between

Presented by RF Video

Growing up Sherri played basketball and competed in track.

As a youngster, Sherri’s mother wanted to go to the weekly wrestling matches. Sherri and her sister ended up going with her because Sherri did not want to babysit.

Not going to college is a major regret of Martel’s.

Sherri was married and divorced by 21 and had a child. It was then that she decided to try wrestling and went to Butch Moore’s wrestling school in Memphis.

Moore slapped her in the face during their first meeting, and Martel asked him “Is that all you got?” Moore signed her up after that.

Martel trained for a year and a half. She ended up going to the Fabulous Moolah for more training a bit later.

Sherri originally tried to get into wrestling at 16, when she asked Grizzly Smith how she could break in the business. He told her to come back when she was 21.

The trainers were harder on her because she was a woman.

Moolah’s camp went 5 hours each day. The class started early and that led to some trouble for some gals who lived it up in the nightlife.

Martel was taught that bumps hurt, so work smart and avoid as many bumps as possible.

Moolah told the gals to save their cash and avoid dating the male wrestlers.

Sexual harassment was never a problem from the wrestlers towards Sherri. They protected her and treated her as a sister.

Japan was a culture shock as Martel had to learn about the language, culture and working style. Judy Martin coached Martel through it.

Jim Cornette started in Memphis by managing Sherri. Martel gushes about Corny.

While in Memphis, Sherri made an error and took a back bump during a battle royal. That’s a big no-no. Stan Frazier ended up falling on her and messed up Sherri’s leg. She was out of action for over a year.

Verne Gagne restarted her career, booking her for the AWA. He was an old crank and shit on the talent’s efforts. Martel ends up complimenting Gagne for being a perfectionist, and perhaps that’s why he was so hard on the talent.

Wahoo McDaniel and Ray Stevens were booking for the AWA and both gave Martel great thrills by sharing stories from their careers.

Verne got paranoid about all the talent jumping to the WWF, so he offered his talent a contract worth $2,000 a month.

Buddy Rose and Doug Somers helped Sherri learn the art of promos. Watching Rose work also made Martel a better wrestler.

Gagne needed to provide better payoffs if he expected to survive the WWF purging his roster.

Martel was ringside for many of the wild matches with the Rockers facing off with Rose and Somers in blood baths. Martel was overwhelmed by the chaos, but the guys took care of her.

Shawn and Marty used their Remco toy figures to work out new spots in their matches.

Many of the wrestlers all lived in the same apartment complex. Scott Hall, Buddy Rose and Col. Debeers were right next to Martel and she cooked big meals for them.

Larry Zbyszko hooked Sherri up with her AWA gig. Martel did a few spot shows for the AWA, but Larry groomed Martel and pitched to Verne to give her a full-time spot.

The women tended to get hurt while wrestling because they busted their asses to prove they belonged on the same level as the men.

Madusa was brought into the AWA to work with Sherri. Madusa credits Martel with toughening her up and teaching her the business.

Sherri gave Verne her two-week notice. He tried to claim she was under contract for two-years. Martel told him he was full of shit.

Martel debuted in the WWF and beat Moolah for the WWF title almost instantly.

Vince McMahon saw more in Sherri than she ever thought she herself had to offer. She still sends Vince birthday and Christmas cards.

Moolah and Sherri did not always see eye to eye, but Martel loves her to death and is proud to be a “tough old broad” like Moolah is.

Hulk Hogan was a very nice guy when Martel met him in the southern territories before he became a mega star. They did not have a strong relationship in the WWF.

Verne Gagne was old school. Vince Jr saw a whole different wrestling world. She respects the hell out of both men.

Jake the Snake was a young ref when Martel first met him in Louisiana. She was disheartened in watching him slowly fall apart as he fell deeper into drugs over the years.

Damien, the snake, would end up in Martel’s shower as Jake liked to rib Sherri.

Macho Man locked Martel in a locker room one night because she was sharing it with Elizabeth. Martel went off on him and made it clear this was not going to be tolerated.

Sweet Sapphire did not want to do much at all when she worked with Martel. Sherri ended up having to teach her how to bump and work.

Sapphire ended up dropping Sherri’s nose on her knee while trying to do some basic moves. Martel screamed at her out of frustration. Sherri knew screaming is not the way to teach and felt horrible after Sapphire started crying.

Dusty Rhodes made sure to add Martel and Sapphire into spots during the Macho Man/Dusty matches.

The Ultimate Warrior was a perfectionist. Macho Man was also obsessed with having great matches, so when their Wrestlemania 7 match was upcoming Savage faxed Warrior a 29-page match layout.

Sherri took Warrior’s face first press slam nightly during that run. Warrior executed it fine, but Sherri’s breasts hurt from the bump.

Savage gave Sherri a necklace with a diamond on it as a “thank you” for Sherri’s time as Savage’s “Macho Queen”.

Ted Dibiase and Sherri both talked to Ted’s wife before Martel went ahead with working as Dibiase’s valet.

Martel called Ted “Teddy Bear” because he looked like one with his beard and red cheeks.

Sherri came up with the idea of having Shawn Michaels grab her by the hair and then throwing her to the mat, leading to Martel looking up lustfully at him as part of his entrance. Vince was wary of the violent overtones of a man doing that to a woman, but after having them stop doing it for a bit, he came around on the idea.

Shawn gets put over by Sherri huge, as he was so motivated in the ring to be great and eventually he became a great promo guy as well.

No stories about Ric Flair’s winkie.

Bret Hart was a good man.

Wrestling took priority over all other parts of Sherri’s life. This is partly why she was divorced three times.

The WWF ended up firing Sherri after she was caught smoking pot numerous times. She also drank too much and took pills to excess.

Sherri next went to ECW. She had a lot of fun there, but her drug use made it impossible for her to remember anything too specifically from that era in her career.

Kevin Sullivan brought her into WCW.

WCW was a corporate, impersonal place. The WWF being run by Vince gave the workers a much more approachable boss.

A few years into her WCW run, Eric Bischoff pulled her in the office and asked her if she was willing to admit to having a drug issue and go into rehab.

Martel had to stop wrestling in WCW because her body and mind just could not handle it anymore.

Ric Flair was more than willing to implement Martel into the structure of his matches.

Reading was Martel’s hobby as she waited around at her hotel before a night of matches.

Ron Simmons was suppose to be put with Sherri, but the OJ Simpson murder scandal canceled those plans.

Harlem Heat had heat in the locker room because they smelled. Sherri took them aside and told them they had to wash their trunks daily because they were making their opponents nauseous.

The Rockers and the Nasty Boys were wild when they were traveling around the AWA house show tour. They were responsible for the wrestlers being kicked out of a bunch of hotels.

Traveling with Robert Fuller in the Continental territory was a rough as the guys would pee in Gatorade bottles to avoid having to stop on long trips. Sherri had to scold him as the girls had no way of relieving themselves.

Martel was fired from WCW after she got bored at a TV taping and took four somas. She got woozy from the drugs and forgot she was on them and took four more. She ended up in Bischoff’s office, where she fell over unconscious.

Sherri is in her mid-40s and is now largely drug-free. She spent three weeks in rehab and came to the conclusion that drugs wrecked all her chances in the business.

Vince Russo was a mark for himself, and had no business making himself a character on WCW TV.

She tried a comeback in WCW in 2000 but her body gave out on her.

TNA tried to bring her in to put over Trinity. Sherri had a real job that prevented that.

Martel saved every one of her booking sheets from WCW and WWF. She also has check stubs dating back to 1982.

Sable was wise to use her chest to make big money.

Sherri is writing a book.

Martel loved all the guys she worked with. No one stands out as her “favorite”.

Curt Hennig and Scott Hall stole Nick Bockwinkel’s AWA title and hid it in a snow bank. No one could find it until spring when the snow melted.

Martel wants the fans to remember her good work, not her drug issues.

Walking into Wembley Stadium while it was empty was one of the craziest moments that stuck with Sherri. She was out there planning out the match with HBK and Rick Martel.

She thanks the fans to close out the interview.

Final thoughts: Sherri was happy with her career and knew her days as a wrestler were over. She was not bitter about this and provided a fine reflective overview of her past.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.