This article appeared, in May 1990, in a PWI derivative magazine called Wrestling Classics . The magazine concentrated on classic wrestlers such as Jack Brisco, Terry Funk, Ivan Koloff and Hackstacks Calhoun. Tom Zenk was the only contemporary wrestler featured and, in this case, as a 'Future Classic,' tipped to become World Champion. The article was written shortly before Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman took the World tag team titles. In the Ratings Section of the magazine, Zenk already appears at No 7 among the top 10 of the NWA - behind World Champion Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Sting, Arn Anderson, Buzz Sawyer, Great Muta, Steve Williams and Brian Pillman -  in short, among wrestling's elite.  

In the course of the interview, Zenk makes several  interesting points. One of these significantly qualifies his ambition to remain among the elite,  - "There's a word for what I am: a sleeper. Nobody expects me to go all the way, so when I do, it will be much more satisfying." This reflects a common perception that Zenk's approach to wrestling was never the sort of total approach that characterized many other wrestlers; that he was never prepared to sacrifice all, including friendships, for the notoriously evanescent success offered by wrestling promotions. The second point confirms the image we've already established - of Zenk's concern, above all, for independence - a "lesson in life" which arose from the dissolution of the Can-Am Connection and was carried forward through his wrestling career.  Zenk summarizes this lesson as follows -  "Martel always insisted on doing things his way and no one else's .... Well, I couldn't live by those rules, so I got out of there in a hurry. I resolved that never again would I put myself in a position where I'm not the one calling the shots." A close reading of this article suggests that the writer scores Zenk over Pillman, in terms of wrestling ability, contrary to the line pushed by NWA and the general promotional press.   Rodriguez makes coded reference to the heavy career promotion Pillman was receiving (over Zenk)  from Ric Flair. Flair, at this time, was both World Champion and senior NWA booker.

Z-Man Tom Zenk

NWA Sleeper
 
By Andy Rodriguez, Wrestling Classics, May 1990
 

"Z-Man" Tom Zenk has spent months in the shadows of the superstars, but that doesn't mean he's not good enough to attain greatness. Don't be fooled: Zenk could be World champion someday, and the NWA's top stars know it!

The sleeper hold - "I love feeling the fight draining out of my opponent's body."
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