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  • Sherri Martel | Oxycodone Overdose Death

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    Sherri Martel | Oxycodone Overdose Death

    Sherri Martel was the ring name for Sherry Lynn Russell, an American professional wrestler and manager. Throughout her career, she participated in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and the American Wrestling Association (AWA). 

    Sadly, Martel passed away at the age of 49 of a drug overdose in 2007.

    How Sherri Martel Died

    On June 15, 2007, Sherri Martel passed away just miles from the city of Birmingham where she was born. Martel died unexpectedly in McCalla, Alabama, at her mother’s home.

    According to the Tuscaloosa, Alabama investigator report, several drugs were found in Martel’s system. More specifically, large amounts of the opioid prescription drug oxycodone were found.

    The official cause of death was ruled as a drug overdose.

    Sherri Martel’s History Of Substance Abuse & Rehab

    Early in her career, Martel was kicked out of The Fabulous Moolah school due to substance abuse. Additionally, she was let go from the WWF in 1993 due to failing drug tests.

    Although there are not many known instances of Sherri Martel attempting to seek out substance abuse treatment, she did attend a 21-day rehab program at one point during her career.

    About Sherri Martel

    Sherri Martel was born on February 8, 1958, in Birmingham, Alabama. She was trained by The Fabulous Moolah and billed from New Orleans, Louisiana.

    Martel debuted in 1980 and retired in 2006. During this time, the professional wrestling superstar procured various ring names.

    Ring Names

    In addition to the ring name Sherri Martel, Sherry continued to use various names during her pro wrestling career. Some of the other ring names taken by Sherry include:

    • Peggy Sue
    • Queen Sherri
    • Sensational Queen Sherri
    • Scary Sherri
    • Sensational Sherri Martel
    • Sensuous Sherri Sherri Martine
    • Sister Sherri

    During her early career, Martel received an injury which resulted in her becoming a manager and later a wrestler. Martel succeeded at both.


    Martel joined the AWA, debuting in September 1985. She competed and won the AWA World Women’s Championship title against Candi Devine. Martel’s success continued as she went on to achieve another two AWA World Women’s Championship titles.

    As part of the AWA, Martel was the manager of Doug Somers and Buddy Rose. The tag team fought against Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty.

    WWF & Management Highlights

    Once joining the WWF, later renamed the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Martel debuted in 1987. Although she won the WWF Women’s Championship, Rockin’ Robin would later take the title from her.

    Beginning in 1989, Martel began managing “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Macho Man Randy Savage. During Wrestlemania V, Miss Elizabeth and Martel fought, with Martel losing the match.

    Sapphire and Dusty Rhodes fought against Martel in Wrestlemania VI, with Martel losing. During this time she also lost a match to the Ultimate Warrior.

    Martel managed male wrestlers once the women’s division was phased out of the WWF. While with the Smoky Mountain Wrestling team, she sided with Tracy Smothers to feud against Jim Cornette

    ECW & WCW

    Once with the Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW), she managed Shane Douglas in 1993. As part of the World Championship Wrestling (WCW), Martel participated ringside during a championship match between Barry Windham and Ric Flair.

    At the time, she was the manager of Flair. Flair later competed against Hulk Hogan, losing the match.

    Martel then managed the Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) in which the team attended the WCW World Tag Team Championship seven times.

    Once leaving the WCW, she continued to compete in the ring and later in 2005, teamed with Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels. During this time, she became known for returning to “Smackdown.”

    Hall Of Fame

    In 2006, just a year before her death, Martel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. The Hall of Famer and women’s wrestling champion proved her talent and skill in the professional wrestling world before her passing.

    Recovery Is Possible

    Oxycodone and other opioids are responsible for countless overdose deaths in the United States each year. Regardless of status and personal history, however, recovery is possible.

    To achieve recovery and overcome drug addiction, consider accessing professional treatment. Professional treatment services include behavioral therapy, peer support groups, medication-assisted treatment, and more.

    To learn how we treat substance use disorder, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
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