tom zenk's debut year
AWA, 1984
Eddie Sharkey (right) referees this early match.... featuring Tom Zenk 

  On the tag scene, the reigning Tag Champions at the time of Zenk's debut were "The Sheiks" (Jerry Blackwell and Ken Patera) who were feuding with "The High Flyers" - Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell. The AWA tag scene also included The Road Warriors (Animal and Hawk) - who subsequently took the title from von Raschke and Blackwell (August 25, 1984), "The Fabulous Ones" (Steve Keirn and Stan Lane) and "The Freebirds" - various combinations of Buddy Roberts, Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy. A new tag team,  "The East West Connection," (comprising Mr. Saito and Jesse Ventura) had formed to challenge "The Sheiks" for the tag title. Blackjack Mulligan had returned to the AWA and joined his old friend Blackjack Lanza ("The Black Jacks") to knock off the Sheiks. Abdullah the Butcher and King Kong Brody were another new combination under the management of Sheik Adnan El Kaissey.

Nationally the "top twenty" wrestlers of Tom's debut year included Nick Bockwinkel (AWA Champion), Hulk Hogan (WWF Champion),  Ric Flair (NWA World Champion), Carlos Colon (Universal Champion), Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Ted Dibiase, Paul Orndorff, Bob Backlund, Stan Hansen, Billy Jack Haynes, Kerry and Kevin Von Erich, Ken Patera, Curt Hennig, and Jack and Jerry Brisco.
Tom Zenk - as a young journeyman - was destined to spend most of 1984 gaining experience in preliminary bouts  and working his way up the AWA card. Though he spent most of the year on the losing side (see cards below) - it was against top competition in the singles division including AWA Champion Nick Bockwinkel and upcoming AWA champion Larry Zbyszko -  and in tag action against the Road Warriors and Bockwinkel and Saito.

Michael Hayes is about to post Tom Zenk, 1984
 Zenk is thrown from the ring by Steve Regal
 Victory over Steve Regal
Tom Zenk  and Desire, AWA 1984
(Paul Ellering)

"One thing you can say about Zenk ... he has desire. If desire means anything, every time he gets into the ring I can see that he gives a hundred percent. But this is not the era in which desire alone, tenacity and an 'I don't care attitude' (will be enough) to become as great as the Legion of Doom." 

Precious Paul Ellering,  manager of the Legion of Doom a.k.a. The Road Warriors - extract from his commentary on an early AWA match between Zenk and Craig Carson vs Nick Bockwinkel and Akio Saito.

Results from Tom Zenk's 1984 AWA matches can be found here
If you can add to or disagree with anything above -or have additional information on match results from 1984 - please email here.

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