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SLAM! Wrestling Canadian Hall of Fame: Frenchy Martin


AKA: Don Gagne in Stampede

Frenchy Martin and Dino Bravo
Frenchy Martin and Dino Bravo in the WWF in 1987. Photo courtesy Paul LeDuc.

  Best known to current fans as the manager of the late Dino Bravo in the WWF, Frenchy Martin has actually been around the mat game for decades. Martin started wrestling in 1971 in Quebec, and that winter, headed out west to work for Stu Hart's Stampede promotion.

He was a success in the Montreal-based Grand Prix circuit, and in Puerto Rico, where he once wrestled Ric Flair to a 60-minute draw. Martin was also Stampede's North American champ under the name Don Gagne.

Together with Mad Dog Michel Martel, he was a part of the famed Mercanaries tag team as well.

In the late 80s, he was brought in to the WWF as a manager to Dino Bravo. He proudly waved the Quebec flag there until the summer of 1990, when he retired and got out of the business.

Memories

 I remember going to a Grand Prix card in New Glasgow, NS. My family knew alot of the wrestlers and we often got invovled in the action. Martin spit at my aunt who was wear big wooded clogs. She took one off and corked Frenchy in the back of the head with it. She had her shoes taken away my stadium security.
 F. Norman Robitza
  Il n'était pas là pour une saison, il était là pour une raison: gagner... Surtout avec son regretté ami Pierre Mad Dog Lebfèvre, mais aussi comme gérant du regretté Dino Bravo. S'il était réputé comme vilain, on n'oubliera pas la fois où il a donné une bonne correction à Tarzan Tyler et à ses acolytes Sailor White et Rick Valentine.. Chapeau, Frenchy !
  Claude Leduc, Montréal, Qc, ceejayl@hotmail.com
  I always enjoyed listening to Frenchy doing color commentating for the French version of WWF Superstars. He would root for the heels and would put down the faces as Jesse Ventura would do in English. I finally met him between matches at The Montreal Forum (RIP) and he was a great guy but would later go on that night to get The Rougeaus disqualified in their never ending feud. His raspy character voice was his real voice (for better or worse).
  Harris Black (Montreal) employ@total.net
 Frenchy Martin is well known in Puerto Rico. He began wrestling here in 1975 and quickly became the most hated heel in Puerto Rico, where he used the name Pierre Martel, using the loaded boot gimmick. In June 30, 1978, he lost his brother Michel in Puerto Rico after a match against Invader 1 (who become popular in 10 years later when he was charged with the murder of Bruiser Brody) and from there they (Invader 1-Pierre Martel) began the second hottest feud in the WWC history (only surpassed by the Carlos Colón-Abdullah The Butcher feud), until June 14, 1980, when he became a babyface after splitting with tag team partner Mr. Fuji. After that, he become one of the most loved wrestlers of Puerto Rico history. He married to a Puerto Rican woman and actually, as late as 1999, he wrestled for the AWA promotion on the island. He was also booker for the AWF promotion in Puerto Rico in 1992-1993. In Puerto Rico, he was North American Tag Team Champion four times (with his brother Michel, his brother Rick, his cousin Jean [I don't know his true identity, so if anybody knows know, please sent it to me] and Mr. Fuji), North American Champion (3 times), Caribbean Champion (twice), and World Tag Team Champions (4 times, with Gran Apolo, Gino de la Serra, Invader 1 and Huracán Castillo Sr.). Without a doubt, one of the greatest atractions in Puerto Rican Wrestling History.
 Manuel O. Gonzalez
 Believe it or not Frenchy is my uncle. My greatest memory with him was the day he took me to M.S.G. My first WWF live event. He is now in Canada training my cousin Jean Martell. Maybe Jean Will be the next superstar out of our family.
 George "Martell"
 I remember Frenchy for being one of the toughest wrestlers ever to compete on the Atlantic Grand Prix circuit in the mid-to-late 1980's, as he held the area's heavyweight title on numerous occasions. His wars with Leo Burke, the Beast and Cuban Assassin ( who, believe it or not, was a face at that time ) are still talked about today. As far as memories, Martin was involved in a feud with Leo Burke in 1986, and had recently beat Leo for the title, when he appeared on a Grand Prix t.v. taping dressed to kill in a stylish 3-piece suit, complete with a french beret and sunglasses. Frenchy then began to rant about how much of a wimp Burke was and how Leo would never get another title shot, and how he (Martin) was the "Republic of Quebec's" greatest athlete. Leo proceeded to remove Frenchy's sunglasses, dropped them to the floor, then smashed them with his boot. Martin retaliated with a slap, but Leo pounced on him, threw Martin into the ring and delivered a knee to the head. That was the beginning of the end for Frenchy's new suit, as Leo tore it to shreds, leaving Martin in the ring wearing nothing except his necktie and bikini underwear. That was hilarious, and I still have it on videotape today.
 John Greeley, Halifax, Nova Scotia
 I remember the first time I saw him in person at his apartment,I knocked to borrow some sugar and then Frenchy Martin opens the door! It's a bit of a surprise! Especially when at the time I was 10 years old and just saw him on TV...I just kinda stood there in awe with an empty cup in my hand and my mouth wide open. He couldn't be a nicer person, and I did get the sugar I came for. I became best friends with his son and daughter Jason and Lisa. I do know their cousin George who wrote an article on this page.... but its been many years since I've seen Jay or Lisa ..so Jay if you ever read this you still have one of my Nintendo games!...LoL.. and maybe we might bump into each other again....
 Lee Grossfeld, New Port Richey, Florida