The ‘Madman’ returns to Emo

It’s weird how a simple ratings week theme on the Arts and Entertainment network gave Emo native and pro wrestler Dean “Madman” Martin that moment of clarity in what he wanted to do with his life.
“It was in between the biography episodes of [World Wrestling Federation wrestlers] Mick Foley and ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin biographies that I realized what they went through was similar to what I did,” said Martin, 33, as he answered questions in preparation for his homecoming show with the Canadian Wrestling Federation at the Emo Arena this Friday.
But in a genre of entertainment which relies heavily on the optical illusion, “Madman” is approaching his wrestling career with no invisible strings attached.
“I saw that these guys put their heart and soul into it. It’s no easy trail and you have to love the business,” he said.
That was a year-and-a-half ago. After taking up the sport very late, the Red Lake resident is building a reputation as one of the top risk takers, serving as the CWF “Hardcore” champion earlier this year.
(Hardcore is a classification where chairs, chains, and tables are completely legal in the match).
He trained under the Canadian wrestler “Easy Rider” and ventured into the independent circuit, where wrestlers put on shows for as little as $25 a night.
And there have been–and will continue to be–dues in the industry to be paid. Martin hauls logs 70 hours a week for Drako Logging to support his family. But the weekends belong to his “Madman” persona in the regional rings.
Being an independent promotion, it is these very rings he takes down at the end of the night and helps loads into the truck.
“They guys above me have gone through the same thing,” he said. “In that sense, there’s a food chain system that works and I just know where I have to start.”
The travel can get gruelling and he said it’s tough to balance time with the family while training.
And it’s the family that has played such a vital role in his career choice. After being born and raised in Emo until the age of 14, the Martin family moved to Dryden in 1982, where he played for the high school football team.
While utilizing a lot of physical activity in his job and staying active before wrestling, Martin was thrown off by how much more demanding training for professional wrestling was compared to football or hauling wood.
“I had no idea that wrestling had that much pain involved. It really shocked me,” he remarked. “At the same time, I’ve always had the mindset that pain goes away–as long as I can keep myself from breaking my neck.
He said his younger sister, Renee, is one of the main reasons this show became a reality. She approached the Emo Chamber of Commerce this past spring about bringing live wrestling to help raise funds for a new sports complex in the north end of town.
“My sister is, without a doubt, the biggest fan I have. She’s on the Internet all the time to read about the business,” he said. “She e-mails my boss and tells him the company is under-using the ‘Madman.’
“She’s crazy, she’s good, and when it comes to backing, I can’t ask for anything more.”
In the ring, he credits his father, Glynne, with being the figure for the “Madman” character on account of their shortened temper.
“The Madman is the guy I don’t really want anybody to see. I’ve tried all my life to control it,” he said. “When I can go in front of people and do it, it’s a big stress relief.”
For now, Martin is content to keep building his wrestling resume. He’s done some shows in the Toronto area and is excited the CWF is planning to sign a television deal with a small national network in the fall.
Unfortunately, he said as the money starts to improve, he will have to relocate into Winnipeg, temporarily leaving his wife, Karen, and their three children in Red Lake.
“That’s the hardest part of the whole deal,” he noted.
This week, Martin has enjoyed a homecoming with family and friends as his mom and sister still live the district. But it’s the homecoming in the ring that he also is looking towards.
“Let’s face it. Everybody who gets into this wants to show off in front of family and friends,” he said. “I’m going to go all out. It will be one of my most devastating matches ever.”