Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling

Luis Martinez (September 26, 1982) is a American professional wrestler currently signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) on the Raw brand under the ring name Damian Priest. He is a one-time NXT North American Champion. Before signing with WWE, he spent most of his early career on the independent circuit under ring names including Punishment Martinez and Punisher Martinez. He worked for the Ring of Honor (ROH) promotion. Through ROH's working relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Martinez appeared at ROH-NJPW Honor Rising Japan 2017 - Night 2 event, where he unsuccessfully challenged Hirooki Goto for the NEVER Openweight Championship. In NJPW Martinez was referred to as "Punisher Martinez".

Professional wrestling career

Early career

Although Martinez's debut occurred in 2004, Martinez' earliest known matches were held in 2012, in promotions including D2W Pro Wrestling, Keystone Pro Wrestling, Dynamite Championship Wrestling, MCW Pro Wrestling, Empire State Wrestling, Fusion Wrestling, International Wrestling Cartel, Georgia Premier Wrestling, America's Most Liked Wrestling and Northeast Wrestling. While in various promotions, Martinez held Keystone Pro Wrestling's KPW Tag Team Championship with Matthew Riddle as team Ultimate Punishment.

Monster Factory Pro Wrestling (2012-2017)

Martinez trained in Danny Cage's New Jersey promotion Monster Factory Pro Wrestling. He made his debut on December 15, 2012, debuting as Punisher Martinez he competed in a MFPW Heavyweight Championship Tournament where he was eliminated during the opening rounds by Marc Cruz. He later won his first championship on November 16, 2013 at MFPW Turkey Slam, where he and tag team partner Brolly as team Legion Of Anarchy, defeated reigning champions team Bad News (Good News Hughes & Joe Gibson) to become the new MFPW Tag Team Champions. On the July 19, 2014 edition of MFPW, Martinez defeated reigning champion Joe Gibson to win the MFPW Heavyweight title. He later lost the title to Clutch Adams on February 14, 2015 in a No Disqualification Best Of Three Series Match. Four months later on June 6, Martinez defeated Clutch Adams in a rematch to regain the Heavyweight Championship. On July 11, Martinez lost the Heavyweight title in a Four-Way match against Matthew Riddle, Clutch Adams and Mike Spanos. On August 8, Martinez lost his title rematch against Riddle. Shifting direction, Martinez formed a new tag team with QT Marshall and were branded as team Gifted Punishment. On September 5, team Gifted Punishment defeated reigning champions Shooterz Inc. (Billy Damiana & Nick Comoroto) to win the MFPW Tag Team titles. On March 5, 2016 team Gifted Punishment lost the Tag Team titles to team Paid In Full (Chad Kensington & Royal Money). On April 2, Martinez competed in the 2016 MFPW Invitational Cup where he eliminated Fallah Bahh in the opening round. He advanced in the semifinals after eliminating Nick Comoroto. In the tournament final, Martinez defeated Mario Bokara to become the 2016 MFPW Invitational Cup winner. Further success followed on April 16, when he defeated reigning champion Abyss to win the MFPW Heavyweight title. He later the Heavyweight title to Cody Vance on December 10 of that year.

Martinez returned on February 4, 2017 at MFPW MF Cup Tournament with QT Marshall as team Gifted Punishment in a three-on-two handicap match, defeating Cody Vance, Mike Reed & Royal Money.

Ring Of Honor (2015-2018)

Debuting on March 7, 2015 as Luis Martinez, he lost his first ROH singles match to The Romantic Touch. Six months later on September 26, Martinez returned during the ROH Reloaded Tour in a dark match teaming with Shaheem Ali in defeating Hellcat & Mattick.

Returning on January 9, 2016, as Punisher Martinez entered the Top Prospect Tournament advancing in opening round after eliminating Colby Corino. On February 6 during the semifinals, Martinez was eliminated by Lio Rush. On November 3 under the ring name Damian Martinez, he competed in the Survival Of The Fittest Tournament, advancing in the opening round after eliminating Cheeseburger. The following night on November 4, Martinez competed in the tournament final inside the format of a Six-Man Mayhem match against Bobby Fish, Dalton Castle, Jax Dane, Lio Rush and The Panther.

Martinez's first title match was held on February 27, 2017. Through ROH's partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Martinez was given the opportunity to challenge NPJW's NEVER Openweight Championship held by reigning champion Hirooki Goto, however did not succeed in winning the title. Martinez next challenged for the ROH World Championship at ROH Manhattan Mayhem, in a Number One Contendership Manhattan Mayhem Battle Royal eventually won by Matt Taven. He later received another title opportunity at the ROH 15th Anniversary Show for the ROH World Television Championship in a Number One Contendership Six-Man Mayhem match against Frankie Kazarian, Cheeseburger, Chris Sabin, Hangman Page and Silas Young. On April 1 at the ROH Supercard Of Honor XI in defeating Frankie Kazarian. On June 4 at ROH Gateway To Gold, Martinez competed in a Number One Contendership Gateway To Gold Gauntlet Battle Royal for the ROH World Championship. On September 23, Martinez competed in a Number One Contendership Four-Corner Survival match for the ROH World Television Championship against Mark Briscoe, Chuckie T and Shane Taylor. He continued the remainder of the year pursuing the ROH World Television Championship in contendership matches and elimination matches but did not succeed in winning contendership or the title.

During his return in 2018, Martinez finally won the ROH World Television Championship during the second night of the ROH State Of The Art event, after defeating the reigning champion Silas Young. Martinez wrestled his final ROH match during the September 29 ROH TV-Tapings, during which he lost the ROH World Television title to Jeff Cobb.

World Wrestling Entertainment (2018-present)

It was reported October 17, 2018, that World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) signed a total of seven athletes to train at the WWE Performance Center. Among them, Martinez was signed.

NXT (2018-2021)

Martinez made his televised debut during the December 5 episode of NXT, losing a singles match against Matt Riddle.

The following year in 2019, Martinez received his first title opportunity during a March 2 NXT Live event, challenging Velveteen Dream for the NXT North American Championship. He made his televised return during the June 19 episode of NXT, debuting his new ring name as Damian Priest. During the program, Priest defeated Raul Mendoza in a singles match. Priest returned the following month on the July 10 episode of NXT during which he defeated guest Luchador Blanco Loco. Weeks later, Priest returned for the July 24 episode of NXT, where he defeated Keith Lee. Throughout the summer of 2019, Priest continued his NXT Live event work, in singles matches against singles opponents including Jordan Myles, Raul Mendoza, Isaiah Scott, Mansoor, Tyler Breeze, Pete Dunne and rookie Cal Bloom. During September NXT Live events, he wrestled Angel Garza, Kona Reeves, Boa, Nick Ogarelli and December 2018 tryout participant Tehuti Miles.

Priest won his first title in 2020 at NXT TakeOver: XXX where he competed in a five-way ladder match against Bronson Reed, Cameron Grimes, Johnny Gargano and Velveteen Dream. This marked the beginning of his reign as the new NXT North American Champion. He retained the title at NXT TakeOver 31 defeating Johnny Gargano and in matches on weekly episodes of NXT, defeating challengers Dexter Lumis and Timothy Thatcher. On October 28 during the NXT Halloween Havoc special, Priest lost the North American title to Gargano in a rematch.

Raw (2021-present)

After being a surprise entrant in the 2021 Royal Rumble, Damian debuted on Raw the following night. In April he teamed up with Bad Bunny to defeat Miz and Morrison at WrestleMania 37. He won the WWE United States Championship at SummerSlam by defeating Sheamus. After being eliminated from the 2022 Royal Rumble by Omos, Damian later lost the WWE United States Championship to Finn Bálor on February 28th. In April at WrestleMania 38 he aligned with Edge and helped him win a match against AJ Styles.

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

  • Keystone Pro Wrestling

External links

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