Almost 11 years ago I remember sitting in front of the television watching Raw. I was about six or seven years old. The main event that night was The Rock vs. Triple H. As the match came to a close it looked as if Triple H had the upper hand.
Then a tall blond haired monster stormed the ring and cost HHH the title. He was originally The Rock's bodyguard. This man would come to be known as Test.
Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s many believed that Test would be the next big thing. He was racking up title in very short order. Martin won the European, Hardcore, Tag Team, and Intercontinental Champion in just a few years. He was a big guy, no doubt, and many in the WWE had high hopes for the young Canadian.
Unfortunately, injuries got the best of him, and Martin was released from the WWE in 2004. He spent some time wrestling the independents before returning to the WWE in 2006; although, he left almost as soon as he got there. He was suspended for failing a drug test and asked for his release.
In recent years Test had been struggling with addiction. Kevin Nash recently commented on Martin's struggle with addiction and their friendship:
"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 meeting. He was a great guy. I kind of looked at him like a little brother. I considered him one of my better friends. He was a big guy. He was a bud."
No autopsy has been performed on Martin yet, but—as much as I hate to—I can only speculate that the death of the 33-year-old is related to addiction or past abuse of prescriptions. I was a big fan of Test back in the day and as I look back at his career in the early 2000s I really started to think that he could have been great. However, sometime things don't pan out like they should.
Martin had officially retired in 2008 and was said to be done with wrestling. Although he reported on his MySpace that he recently toured Japan. Test passed away on March 13, 2009, just days before his 34th birthday. Unfortunately Test has become another statistic of the difficult life as a wrestler.
I love wrestling, but the effect it has on these people is obviously negative. I hope the WWE is doing more to assure the safety of their performers so that things like this do not happen. No one should die because of an addiction. Test's impact on wrestling may be minimal, but the impact on his loved ones is enormous.
Please show respect to the family of Andrew Martin and keep them in your thoughts. With the death of Andrew Martin the list of wrestlers to die under the age of 50 grows.
Rest in peace Andrew. Thank you for the memories.