Wrestling / Sherri Martel

A woman's work is never done.

"Sister Sherri always looks like she's wearin' her momma's high heels and her little sister's dress."

Sherri Schrull, née Russell (February 8, 1958 – June 15, 2007), known by her ring name Sherri Martel, was an American pro wrestler best known for her work on WWE.

She previously wrestled and valeted in the AWA, where she gained notoriety as a Jezebel who would do anything to win a match. She won the belt from Moolah in the 80's, was fairly contemporaneous with Miss Elizabeth, and focused more on valeting after joining WWE. Most famously linked with Macho Man after he turned heel, and also spent time with DiBiase and HBK. (She also sang his theme. Well, sort of.) She eventually went to WCW to work with Flair and Harlem Heat.

Ted DiBiase inducted her into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006, the second woman to receive the honor. She died one year later of a prescription drug overdose.

No relation to Rick "The Model" Martel. Neither one's real name is Martel, anyway; they're both stage names.

A REAL woman's Tropes:

  • Absolute Cleavage: While managing Titanka. Er, Tatanka.
  • Action Dress Rip: A few of them, like Queen Sherri's beaded sarong, could tear off as needed.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: In the middle of Hogan's finger wag routine, Sherri reached over the ropes and responded with this.
  • The Artifact: Of the AWA and WWF women's wrestling divisions. Moolah sold the NWA Women's belt to WWF in the eighties; Sherri was still the AWA Women's champ when she beat Moolah, making her the first wrestler (man or woman) to hold two main titles from two major companies simultaneously...if you disregard Pat O'Connor being NWA and AWA World Heavyweight Champ at once, of course.
  • The Baroness:
    • Type 2: Anyone who fell on the apron was immediately met with a handful of knuckles.
    • At the height of his folly, to get a shot at the championship, Macho dispatches Sherri to (awkwardly) seduce the Ultimate Warrior.
  • Bastard Understudy: In real life, she was Moolah's biggest protége. But in the ring, they were simply competitors. They fought off-and-on in the eighties, before Moolah finally put Sherri over in '87. As expected, the Fabulous One wasn't too happy about her streak being broken. Sherri interrupted her victory run with the Women's Belt to hit Moolah with a belt shot. Torch passed!
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention Hulk Hogan... she doesn't like that.
    R.D. Reynolds: Apparently Hogan gave Sherri an atomic drop, a body slam, then rammed her head into the ring bell. Before you scoff, Hogan did that kinda thing all the time. And yes, he was a babyface.
    • Mere mention of Hulk Hogan causes her to spaz out and hiss on The Arsenio Hall Show.
  • Bullying a Dragon: One of her biggest beatdowns came during a 1991 steel cage match at Madison Square Garden. Sherri repeatedly interfered on Savage's behalf. Warrior responded by grabbing her head through the bars and playing it like a bongo. Sherri ultimately caused Warrior to lose the match and, after stalking her around the cage and shoving aside numerous officials and guards, he grabbed her by the neck and press-slammed her as hard as he possibly could to the mat.
  • The Cameo:
    • In the lead-up to WrestleMania 21, Shawn Michaels appeared on SmackDown via satellite. Kurt Angle sang his own version of HBK's theme, and he brought out Sherri to do the chorus. As per usual, the segment ends with Sherri betraying him and getting put in the ankle lock.
    • In late 2006, she made her last television appearance on TNA Impact!, working her black magic on Bobby Roode. It was the last appearance by Bobby Heenan and Robert Fuller (as "Colonel Parker") as well. The setup is that Roode was looking for a new manager.
  • Charlie Brown from Outta Town:
    • Hogan's first WCW appearance. A real man would NEVER hit a woman, but a woman in drag? Sherri didn't think this cunning plan through.
    • In 1988, Martel wrestled not only as herself, but her alter-ego "Peggy Sue", working interference for the Honky Tonk Man. Disguised with a blonde wig and sunglasses, Sue was supposedly a groupie who was jealous of Miss Elizabeth, and would even attack her. This opened the door to managerial duties after the women's division went bust.
  • The Chew Toy: One skill that kept Sherri around in the WWF was that she could take a bump (in 4-inch heels, ouch), most frequently from Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior. She was a good looking lady that was as over as any heel on the roster (the temperature went up 10 degrees before she even spoke a word), and because of her background as a wrestler, she could beat seven shades of crap out of the men, and be a threat on the inside or outside; a rare set of attributes.
    • She was repeatedly targeted by Jake Roberts for his satanic games, including: being slapped, made to grovel for Savage's protection, slapped again, and nearly having a snake thrown at her. For the uninitiated, this is the same routine Jake used on Elizabeth at Tuesday In Texas.
    • When the Million Dollar Man faced Bret Hart, Piper calmly reached under the ring for the most innocuous of weapons: a broom, which he used to chase away Sherri.
    • Got beaned with a heart-shaped mirror on one occasion, and later based with a TV monitor (courtesy of Luna) on RAW.
    • Starrcade '94: Jerry Sags was about to whack Sherri with the purse. But instead, he motioned to the crowd that Sherri was going to "Pitty City" (also known as the pit stop), getting big pops.
    • Nitro 1/29/96: Sherri went up top and Madusa caught her in mid-Splash. If Madusa had taken time to study the WWF tape library, she would know why this is a terrible idea: Sherri reversed it in mid-air (the same trick she pulled on Moolah). As Sherri celebrated the roll-up, a furious Madusa sprang up and took her to Suplex City. Literally just dropped her on her head and then slammed her skull into the mat five or six times. It took two referees to pry her off.
      Brandon Stroud: Not enough people sell the post-match beatdown in a scary “I’m unconscious but can’t stop getting hit in the face” way.
      • (This is a famous spot. There was legit heat between these two, and Sherri refused to job to her. So Madusa just bullhammered her after the match. At the time, Sherri was hooked on oxycodine, so getting a neck injury right then wasn't good.)
  • Clothing Damage: Happens in every 3-letter promotion she wrestled for. She was scandalized at least once in the AWA courtesy of Tommy Rich, again in ECW, and twice in WCW, including one time by Ric Flair.
    • During a rematch with Savage, Jim Duggan flashed her skirt, which Sherri oversold as though it were a Figure Four, Code Red, and F-5 combined.
    • During an arm wrestling challenge between Mr. Magnificent (aka Nailz) w/Sherri and Tommy Rich, Sherri tried to interfere again. Tommy caught her before she could wriggle out the ropes, yanking her dress like a cheap magician's tablecloth to reveal ...a goofy pink teddy.
      • They repeated the gag at Halloween Havoc '94. This time, it was a "Career Vs. Career (i.e. Retirement)" Cage Match pitting Hulk Hogan w/Jimmy Hart vs Ric Flair w/Sensational Sherri. Sherri was not about to a fence get in the way of her usual shenanigans, and she started up the cage wall. But she got intercepted by Jimmy who tore off her skirt.
    • At a match in the Rosemont Horizon (now the Allstate Arena), Warrior exposed her breasts by mistake. Fortunately it was a house show.
    • Shane Douglas had Sherri in his corner until December 1994, when Brian Pillman pushed her over and ripped her blouse in the process. Behold, there was a photo taped to her breast — of Ric Flair. The Franchise was so outraged, he tore Naitch's likeness to pieces. But Sherri (being Sherri) got right in Shane's grill, hands on hips, and Woo'ed him.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship:
    • Like most wrestlers on Nitro, Sherri appeared there under a different name: "Sensuous Sherri" (trademark original!)
    • She changed to Sister Sherri after being hired by Booker and Stevie. Brother Love always addressed her as "Sister Sherri" on his mock talk show in the WWF. A funny coincidence. (Jake the Snake was "Brother Jake".)
  • The Coats Are Off: If she takes off her shoes, RUN.
  • Combat Stilettos: For some reason, she always wears stilettos into the ring. Shawn claims that a few times, when one of the boys went too rough on him in the ring, she told him to throw them out there, and they got...certain areas kicked by her boots.
  • Comically Inept Healing: HBK vs. Rick Martel turned farcical for the finish. Sherri pretended to faint to stop the match. This had the opposite effect, because both wrestlers wanted to carry her backstage. So they started to bicker again, with no regard for Sherri's safety, causing her limp form to hit the apron multiple times.
  • Corpsing:
    • Watch her reaction to Booker's famous gaffe. ("We comin' for YOU, nigga!") Her smile says, It's O.K., sweetie, I've f**ked up hundreds of times on-camera.
    • On WWF Superstars of Wrestling (1/6/90), you can clearly see Sherri and Jimmy lose it when Bobby Heenan gets going. ("Sweetheart, go get some new makeup.")
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male:
    • Had a habit of cheapshotting guys from the turnbuckle or cage wall. She even leapt off a cage in WCW to deliver a double axe handle to Hogan.
    • At SummerSlam '89, she was readied for an atomic drop. But Hogan swerved the audience and spared the knee, letting her trot away unscathed... only to get a faceful of her own purse, from Miss Elizabeth. Turnabout is fair play.
  • Dreadful Musician:
    • She helped Shawn compose his own theme, "Sexy Boy", and sang a solo version. It can peel paint off the walls.
    • Both are spectacularly-bad, but became fan favorites. Kurt Angle later made a boob of himself by coming out to "Sexy Kurt", with Sherri singing backup. Marty Janetty still can't walk.
  • Evil Counterpart: The whore to Liz's Madonna. She even wore a white dress after becoming Randy's manager, as if to rub it in.
    • Liz seemed a lot hotter in WCW, but she really wasn't; just more exposed. Shows what a subtle change in costuming can do.
  • Excessive Evil Eye Shadow:
    • Garish makeup was normal, but even by 80's standards, Sherri was on a different planet: Purple or black line extending further than they needed to, with eyebrows or spider webs on her forehead applied via Sharpie.
      Gorilla Monsoon: Who does her makeup, Helen Keller?
    • In the VHS release of WWF Rampage '92, it has a segment called "Makeup Tips With Sensational Sherri". It ends with a girl in the makeup chair screaming when she sees her reflection.
  • Eye Pop: Her legendary reaction to Rick Martel dipping his shades and making a pass at her.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: This publicity still of Kronk and Yzma Macho and Sherri.
  • Facial Markings/Uncanny Valley Makeup:
    • She sported some distinctive facial markings in her career, which Alissa Flash and Sassy Stephie used to imitate.
    • Such markings included her initials (SS), cat makeup, a dollar sign, and a heart.
    • Sherri without eye makeup looks practically naked, which is why WWE/TNA brought it back for her cameos.
  • Femme Fatalons: Open palm strikes. And she was known to rake claws across eyes or faces.
    Dean Ambrose: You don't want women screaming, yelling at you and trying to scratch your eyes out, like some kinda Evil Witch...Cat...Lady.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Martel held the AWA World Women's Championship three times, and the WWF Women's Championship once. AWA Sherri was a diva from the very start; WWF just turned it up to eleven. She showed up to the arena in a ballroom gown with a bunch of purebred dogs on a leash.
    Danielle Matheson: Madusa shows up looking like an extra from Oliver, furthering that idea. She’s the Anne Klein to Sherri’s Vivienne Westwood, if you will. While Sherri is all personality, Madusa is meant to be all business, a real wrestler.
  • Finishing Move:
    • As a wrestler: the Sherri Stunner.
    • As a valet: Removing her boots and performing a Big Splash, sometimes while clutching both heels. Ouch.
    • Friendly Fire: ...But since the opponent needed to be in a Nelson hold for this to work, she usually clobbered her own men.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Savage became delusional after being crowned King of the Ring, resulting in his neon makeover. Sherri joined in by sporting a grandiose crown, cape, and scepter. The pair were carried into the ring on a sedan chair by jobbers. Vince McMahon grumbled that Miss Elizabeth would never stoop to that. However, Sherri barked that she was "The Queen" of the WWF and Liz was merely the First Lady.
  • Gold Digger: Sensational Sherri gives relationship advice
  • Gorgeous Gorgon:
    • As a female valet in the 80s who was neither foreign, old, heavy, or particularly odd-looking, typical WWF booking decreed that she was going to need ugly makeup to designate as heel. (She's actually one of the more photogenic lady champions of the time; her and Wendi Richter).
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat:
    • Her promos with Randy sound like your neighbors arguing after a case of beer.
    • When Luna was gunning for her crown, Sherri brushed her away as some "mad dog certified lunatic". Pot meet kettle.
  • Handbag of Hurt: Scurrying into the ring and clubbing people with a purse — which they sold as if it were an anvil. (It was loaded.) The bag also contained hair spray which she used to blind opponents, though it always missed and sprayed Booker by accident.
  • Heel–Face Mole: At first, WCW fans were not sure what to make of Sherri, who had switched to calling herself “Sensuous” Sherri and came to ringside with her face painted like Sting’s. The fans were behind Sting, and assumed Sherri had turned face after leaving HBK behind. This continued for weeks, with Sherri rooting for Sting, while the commentators scratched their heads wondering what she was up to. In the end, Sherri swerved on the crowd favorite and cost him the title. (Hogan arrived and came at her with the 24-inch pythons, but Slick Ric yanked her leg through the ropes and they fled, leaving Hulk snatching at air.)
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard:
    • Accidentally KO'ing herself by swinging a briefcase at Debra McMichael, bouncing it off a turnbuckle and whacking herself in the head with it.
    • During HBK's entrances, Sherri would tag behind him while carrying a heart-shaped dress mirror. Shawn had just split from Marty Jannetty and was getting a push as top heel. Prior to a match with Michaels, Jannetty grabbed the mirror and tried to hit Shawn with it. Michaels saw the attack coming and hid behind Sherri. Guess who took a shot to the face with a 20 inch mirror?
  • I Have Many Names: Sherri Martine (when she worked Japan/AWA from '83-'85), Sherri Martel, Peggy Sue, Sensational Sherri, Queen Sherri, Scary Sherri, Sensuous Sherri, Sister Sherri, and maybe some others? You have to assume that the only person who knew them all was her.
  • Incoming Ham: AH! AHHH!! SHAAAAAAWN!!!'
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Sherri Martel hitting a splash from the turnbuckle on Hulk Hogan while wearing a freakin’ white evening gown. Aw yeah.
  • Klingon Promotion: During WrestleMania VII, DiBase's butler Virgil finally had enough of his boss' ill-treatment and challenged him. Their fight spilled out into the apron and knocked over a one-legged Roddy Piper. Livid, Piper jumped in to assist, but Sherri rematerialized and grabbed Piper's crutch in mid-swing. In the end, she saw to his downfall. DiBiase lost one bodyguard and gained a new one.
  • Lady Macbeth: Something of a fair-weather manager, she was unforgiving when Macho lost his title, kicking his semi-conscious form around the ring (he'd cost Sherri her meal ticket, you see.) She was nothing but a snake to him which is why the crowd wept when she got her comeuppance.
  • Love at First Punch: With rival manager "Colonel" Robert Parker (real name Robert Fuller) and his men Dick Slater & Bunk House. At the Great American Bash '95, Buck entered the tag team division against Sister Sherri & Harlem Heat. Parker interrupting a promo to lay a wet one on Sherri. The kiss was met with a punch, but this only enticed Parker to keep chasing. However, Sherri suffered a head injury and underwent a change in personality. when the tag teams faced each other again at Fall Brawl, both Managers ended up in the ring and shared a Big Damn Kiss which baffled the arena.
  • Love Martyr:
    *Macho is cutting a promo*
    * Sherri annoyingly taps his shoulder*
    Macho: What do you want?
    Sherri: I got somethin' to show ya!
    Macho: Well....go get it.
    * Sherri leaves*
    * Macho continues with his promo*
    * Sherri arrives with a sign*
    Macho: "BETTER THAN THE BEST: THE MACHO KING.....(in smaller writing) and queen"
    Sherri: Do ya like it?!
    Macho: Hee-yeah, I like it....maybe if you cut this little piece off (the bit referring to the queen), it'd be EVEN BETTER, OOH YEAH!!
    * Sherri cries and runs away*
    • HBK was not responsive to her affections, and commentators observed that their relationship seemed "one-way." He did not seem to have a problem flirting with women in the crowd. Their union came to an end when Sherri got bonked in the head with one of HBK's mirrors. Tale as old as time.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor:
    • Nobody has a bad word to say about Sherri, even Colonel Parker who had to carry her through a promo after she turned up wasted. She was let go from WCW for painkiller addiction.
    • That is dangerously close to a smile from the dead man.
    • In this shoot interview, she gets emotional talking about Elizabeth, since they were friends in real life.
      Paul Bearer: Sherri never met a stranger. She treated a fan on the street like she had known them all of her life.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Nothing says elegant like constipated faces and clenched fingers.
    Heenan Very well spoken! I think she went to Oxford, didn't she?
  • More Deadly Than the Male:
    • In the 90s, there were few things more terrifying than Sherri losing her mind at ringside. Her Cajun swamp accent is truly the stuff of nightmares.
    • The Ultimate Warrior dominated the first half of his match with Randy, until he finds himself kissing canvas. And there's Sherri, gingerly helping him to his feet. Any guesses as to what happened? If you guessed "punching him in the larynx while her moneymaker fills up the screen", then you'd be correct.
    • Michaels even said that if his opponents wouldn't sell for him, she'd make them sell.
  • Mrs. Robinson: The age gap was apparent with HBK and, briefly, Bobby Roode (who wasted no time asking her to dinner).
  • Nouveau Riche: After beating Moolah for the world championship, Sherri expected to be treated like some kind of duchess. Lord Alfred took it upon himself to teach "Sensational" Sherri and the Brooklyn Brawler some etiquette and "table manners", with mixed success.
    Alfred: I say, Sherri! That is disgusting, doing that at the table!
    Sherri: [filing toenails] I have to do it sometime.
  • Paid Harem: Sister Sherri traveled by stretch limo and private jet liner, with an all-male flight crew. Sometimes it pays to work for Eric Bischoff.
  • Perky Female Minion: Macho and HBK seemed to barely tolerate her.
    • "Peggy's" dance moves.
    • Pretty much any answer she gave on Family Feud. ("SO MUCH PRESSURE!!") Team WWF consisted of heels: Bobby Heenan, Brian Knobbs, Sensational Sherri, The Mountie, and Jimmy Hart, all of them in-character. Their opponents were from the World Bodybuilder Federation, one of Vince's failed side-ventures.
    • The famous promo before "No Holds Barred" (Macho's steel cage match versus Hogan w/ Beefcake). Sherri pretends to climb up the fence and reappear in front of it, as if by magic, but she is clearly spotted scurrying behind Macho and Zeus on all fours, showing the 'cage' to be a facade.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • At the January 1996 edition of Clash of the Champions, Sister Sherri eloped with Col. Parker to a 24-hour chapel, with Mean Gene Okerland giving her away. She got sneak-attacked by the returning Madusa (Sherri's old nemesis from their AWA days), which caused havoc and destroyed the wedding placements. The following night on Nitro, Mean Gene interviewed Sherri about the aftermath. Madusa pounced again, beating Sherri so hard that her brain turned to tapioca. The beatdown was so bad that she was missing in action for months. In truth, Bischoff suspended Sherri for a year on the condition that she enter drug rehab.
    • The WWF was forced to release her for related reasons in 1993. This happened before her feud with Luna could have a satisfying conclusion.
  • Put Their Heads Together: This always happened in WWE after Sherri faceplanted into the ring. Hogan did it first, followed by Warrior: he won WrestleMania VII by grabbing Macho and Sherri by the hair and clonking them together. Macho himself would later use that finisher on Million Dollar Man and Sherri.
  • Really Gets Around: She swapped a lot of spit in the nineties.
    • Who else would insist on a below-the-belt stipulation to preserve Shawn and Rick's beautiful faces? When it looked like they might break that stipulation, she fainted.
    • For her WCW debut, she walked right up to "Mean Gene" Okerlund and snogged him.
  • Ring Oldies:
  • The Rival:
    • Sherri never really had an arch-foe, because she feuded with so many wrestlers over the years. Candi Devine (in the AWA), Rockin' Robin, Sapphire (Dusty's valet), Luna Vachon, and (most memorably) Liz Huelette. Madusa was the one who ended her career for good, though.
    • Outside of the ring, she had a professional rivalry with Jimmy Hart.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Her nuptials were cut short when the Colonel's philandering got exposed, and Madusa put Sherri through a table — which was also the one carrying the hors-d'oeuvres.
  • Spiritual Successor: Sherri fit the mold of the female manager who isn't afraid to mix it up or take punishment: namely Baby Doll (Nickla Ann Roberts) or, more recently, Heel Melina.
  • Unholy Matrimony: As the only female heel in WWF, she had this effect on other heels—even the moribund Paul Bearer ("That's more animated than I've ever seen him; he's almost alive"). One dude who wasn't buying was Andre: Sherri was among the managers who competed for his attention in a hotel bar, only to receive a spanking from the Giant.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe:
    • The feline costumes during her feud with Sapphire. The makeup she wore at Summerslam '90 was... something else.
      • That's also the promo where she did that epic countdown. "10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2...1....YEARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!"
    • She wore a white Pocahontas getup for her matches with Tatanka.
    • After Luna called her out for a fight, Sherri, rocking an afro and a pantsuit, kicked her right in the throat.
    • Sister Sherri looked the part, wearing all-black and sunglasses just like Booker and Stevie Ray.
    • She looked like an Oscar statuette while working for the Million Dollar Man. She also wore a gold foil tutu (i.e. her "Ace Rimmer" outfit, according to OSW Review). As part of his schtick of throwing money at his opponents, Sherri lifted her skirt so Ted could pluck cash from her garters.
    • Showed up to Clash of the Champions wearing a masquerade outfit: Sting's colors (black and white, to match Sting's warpaint), an hourglass dress, a mask, and opera gloves.
    • Sherri wore a baller-looking cloak to her wedding: a double-nod to her time with HBK, and the Queen of Hearts.
    • WrestleMania VII: After removing her cape, Sherri reveals her dress (actually more like the outline of a dress), a showgirl number made entirely of rhinestones.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Sherri was a wildcat as a manager: screaming at the ref, parkouring in and out of the ring, and fast-reloading the purse with objects in her cleavage.
  • Woman Scorned:
    • Her feud with Macho Man, conveniently forgetting that it was she who dumped him.
    • The incident with the mirror took her off TV for several months. When she returned at the 1993 Royal Rumble, she sided with Jannetty in a match, ending her run with Michaels.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit:
    • AWA: A couple bull rushes from Madusa were enough to make her rethink her career choices and flee the ring, glomping onto Mr. Magnificent. It made the crowd go crazy with rage, but the announcers saw past the ruse: the trick with Madusa is to keep moving long enough to exhaust her, which is what happened.
    • The babyfaces, sick of her interference, would catch up to Sherri and cock their fists. Heenan would unfailingly jump at this, exclaiming "Don't HIT her! Don't hit THAT LADY!", as Sherri raised her arms in mock terror. (The entire time that Hogan was in the ring with her at the Clash, Jimmy Hart kept screaming "HIT HER!" into his megaphone. That probably wouldn't fly today.)
    • She made her first WCW appearance at 1994’s Clash of the Champions XXVII in a title unification match between Sting and Ric Flair. In the final match, Flair swanned about in preparation for one of his patented "Flair Flops"... then yanked Sherri into the path of Sting's flying cross body. "Dirtiest Player in the Game", for a reason. As the cheers for Sting evaporated (because he'd just tackled a defenseless woman), the disheveled Sherri returned the favor by performing the Splash on him three times.

Alternative Title(s): Sensational Sherri