Japan tour 1 - 1986 AJPW Tag League (11/22 - 12/12/86)
Shortly after the Montreal match, Zenk and Martel travelled to Tokyo for the prestigious AJPW Real World Tag League '86. Stan Hansen, Ted DiBiase, Dory Funk Jr., Terry Funk, Terry Gordy, Rick Martel and Tom Zenk were among US wrestlers invited to enter the1986 league.
Zenk and Martel used the tour to test out, in competition, some of their soon-to-be signature moves - in particular, the 'catapulet splash'. This finishing move highlighted Martel in an aerial dive over the top rope and was used in many of the Japan (and subsequent US) matches. Zenk found himself taking most of the bumps while Martel held the ropes, before finally taking the hot tag and launching his catapulet splash to win the match.
Zenk and Martel's first league match was on November 22, 1986 against Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr. The team was an instant hit with Japanese fans. Zenk's ring work and persona impressed AJPW promoter Shohei 'Giant' Baba and chief booker Lord James Bleares. Bleares offered Zenk and Martel the tag belts and a 5 year contract at $5,000 a week each to stay in the AJPW. At Martel's urging, Zenk turned down the offer to fulfil their commitments to WWF.
At this time Zenk
was earning $2,500 a week for his role in the Can-Am Connection. Martel
had guaranteed they would be earning $5,000 a week each in WWF within
6 months. Zenk resolved that if Martel's promise wasn't realized within
that time, he would reconsider AJPW's offer. The scene was set for the
eventual Can-Am split.