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Wrestling / Tom Zenk

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Tom Zenk (November 30, 1958-December 9, 2017) was an American Professional Wrestler and Bodybuilder. Discovered by Road Warrior Animal, then trained by Eddie Sharkey and Brad Rheingans, Zenk debuted in 1984 in the American Wrestling Association. Tom also worked for WCW and WWE. He died of atherosclerosis and cardiomegaly at the age of 59.

He was a 1x NWA PNW Tag Team Champion with Scott Doring, a 1x NWA PNW Heavyweight Champion, a 1x International (Quebec) Tag Team Champion with Dan Kroffatnote , a 1x NWA United States Tag Team Champion with Brian Pillman, a 1x NWA World Television Champion and a 1x WCW World 6-Man Tag Team Champion with Dustin Rhodes and Big Josh (Matt Borne).


"Z-Tropes":

  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: He tied for The Wrestling Observer Newsletter's "Rookie of the Year" Award in 1984 with Keiichi Yamada, who went on to become junior heavyweight legend Jushin Thunder Liger!
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  • Combat by Champion: In the AWA he and Greg Gagne were two of the wrestlers paid for one night by Kelloggs to represent the company against their hated rival General Mills in what came to be known as "The Battle Of Breakfast Cereal".
  • Determinator: He and Rick Martel failed to advance in the 1986 Real World Tag League round robin but had lost under half of their matches and were recognized with the "Fighting Spirit" award.
  • Face: Always played this role.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: He physically lost mass in 1990 due to a muscle tear.
  • Finishing Move: Sleeper
  • Muscles Are Meaningful: He was a champion bodybuilder before he got into wrestling, and his awards from bodybuilding are what got him scouted into professional wrestling.
  • Red Baron: "Mr. Minnesota" from his body building victories. 'The Z-Man' in professional wrestling, which became his ring name in WCW.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!
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    • Walked out on WWE in 1987 over a pay dispute.
    • Also, apart from a short stint in the mid-2000s where he re-emerged as a figure in the very popular shoot interview scene (Zenk was particularly vitriolic and humorous so he gained quite a bit of notoriety), Zenk completely disappeared from the wrestling business in 1996. His time as a shoot interview subject was also short-lived as he disappeared from the scene to such an extent that even people he'd been friends with in the business such as Dave Meltzer were unaware that he'd died for more than two weeks afterward.
  • Tag Team: Besides the men he won tag team title belts with, there was also The Can-Am Connection with Rick Martel in WWE, continuing on from their team in All Japan, as well as "The Sales And Marketing Team" in the AWA with Greg Gagne and "Dos Hombres" with Ricky Steamboat in WCW.
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay: A legit wrestling bodybuilder (not unlike Lex Luger), which at one point cost him time as a wrestler due to a body building injury.
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