Thursday, March 8, 2018

Sherri was sensational

WWF Women's Champion
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

March 8 is International Women's Day. There have been a number of remarkable women in the world of professional wrestling. From the "Fabulous" Moolah to Elizabeth to Trish Stratus and current stars like Alexa Bliss, Charlotte Flair and Mickey James; the evolution of women's wrestling has been amazing.

Sherri in the AWA 
One woman who I've come to appreciate much more since her untimely death in 2007 is "Sensational" Sherri Martel. I remember when she first came onto my wrestling radar in the AWA. It was 1985 or so and women's wrestling was enjoying a bit of a resurgence thanks in part to Moolah and Wendi Richter in the WWF. One thing I learned was Sherri was not related to AWA World Champion Rick Martel. But another lesson learned was she was quite a talent in the ring.

Sherri vs. Moolah
Courtesy: WWE
Even though more women's matches were being broadcast on TV, the division was still grossly understaffed and underrated. Because of that (I'm assuming) Sherri transitioned into a manager too, leading "Playboy" Buddy Rose and "Pretty Boy" Doug Sommers to the AWA tag team championships. Meanwhile, in the WWF, the ladies were getting some more love and Sherri jumped ship, beating Moolah for the women's championship.

Sherri as Peggy Sue
Courtesy: WWE
It seemed that rebirth in the WWF was shortlived too, with Sherri once again returning to her managerial background. She donned a wig, sunglasses and a poodle skirt to be a backup for the Honky Tonk Man for a brief time. But she was most notable for managing the "Macho Man" Randy Savage, becoming "Sensational Queen" Sherri after Savage and Elizabeth split. But the kingdom crumbled and she took on Ted DiBiase as a client and later Shawn Michaels. 

Sensational Queen
Courtesy: WWE
Sherri would leave WWF and go to WCW to manage Ric Flair and Harlem Heat. Her time in the business was nothing short of impressive. Like I said, I've come to better appreciate Sherri posthumously, but I do remember when she was managing she often took bigger and better bumps than some of her male colleagues. Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior and Dusty Rhodes are just a few of the Superstars who felt Sherri's wrath or dealt out punishment to the former women's champion.

Sherri's HOF induction
Courtesy: WWE
In 2006 I was fortunate enough to be in the audience the night Sherri was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Sadly, a year later she was gone. But her legacy will live on not only as a professional wrestler but as one of the most beloved and talented managers of all time.

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