A Talk With The Can-Am Connection by Carol Buffin, WWF Magazine, July 1987
Canadian Rick Martel and American Tom Zenk, known in the World Wrestling Federation as The Can-Am Connection, constitute one of the most popular and flashy tag teams in professional wrestling today. Each of these muscular young men is extremely handsome - which has brought hordes of female fans to their banner - as well as unusually talented in wrestling skills. Their combination of skill and athletic ability has literally catapulted the Connection to the status of highly rated contenders for the WWF Tag Team Title - one of their most impressive maneuvers is called the Can-Am catapult.
WWF - You two guys are very similar. You're built alike, look alike and even act alike. You both have similar quickness and agility and seem to be on a par as far as strength is concerned. You even dress alike outside the ring. How do you differ?
Martel - In a number of ways. For one, I have more experience than Tom. I started wrestling in Canada when I was 17 years old, teaming up with my older brother, Michael.
Zenk - My background was in bodybuilding. I won several contests in Minnesota before deciding to pursue professional wrestling as a career. Even before I met Rick, I watched him and modeled myself after him. He's the senior man on our team. Rick is highly skilled but, because of his experience, he knows how to handle a brawl as well.
Martel - But, I'd better add, we consider ourselves as equals.
WWF - Will you describe the basis of your strategy in the ring?
Zenk - Surprise. The unexpected. Never the same. How's that?
WWF - Pretty good, but how about some details?
Zenk - What I mean is that we try to keep out opponents off balance mentally as well as physically. We hit them with a variety of moves and approaches, so they never know what is coming next. We feel we have the athletic ability to be innovative, so we try to capitalize on it.
WWF - You often go for an aerial assault, using flying drop-kicks, even double flying drop kicks. Do you consider yourselves as a team that relies on this sort of maneuver more than others?
Martel - It's true we do hit from the air. We've both got excellent flying drop-kicks. We keep our legs in shape so they are always springy, even during a long match. But I wouldn't say we rely on aerial tactics more than any other team.
Zenk - Certainly our aerial moves are important. They often make the difference between winning and losing. But we feel that a successful tag team must have a varied attack - remember what I said about doing the unexpected. So we put in plenty of time practicing holds and moves like arm drags, chin locks, power slams and that sort of thing. To make it in the WWF, you can't rely on just one type of tactic.
Martel - That's especially true if you're not among the biggest wrestlers in the ring. King Kong Bundy and Kamala can afford to be a lot more predictable that we can. We've got to throw a lot of fakes. But that's what makes the difference between scientific wrestling and just brawling.
WWF - A lot of people say that you have what it takes to dethrone the WWF Tag Team Champions, the Hart Foundation - Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and Bret "Hit Man" Hart. It's ironic. The Hart Foundation also is a Canadian-American team, with Hart from north of the border and Neidhart from the States. How do you feel your chances are against them?
Zenk - I'll let Rick start off the answer.
Martel - If we didn't think we could upset the Hart Foundation, we wouldn't be asking for a title match. I think we have a very good chance of beating the Foundation. It wouldn't be easy though. Individually, Hart and Neidhart are among the strongest, toughest men in the ring today. Neidhart can overpower people by strength alone. Hart, who comes from a wrestling family, is very skilled and a brawler to boot. I doubt if there ever has been a championship team that is as good technically and so aggressive and rugged. And Hart and Neidhart work as smoothly together as any team around.
Zenk - Maybe, Rick, but maybe not as smoothly as we do. I think this is our big advantage. We work so well together that we practically can read one another's mind. We've practiced together so much that we can anticipate moves. It's probably because we are so much alike: but very often when Rick is in the ring, I sense what he is about to do before he does it.
WWF - How do you rate some of the other contending teams?
Martel - My fellow Canadians, the Rougeau Brothers, have the potential to get to the top. I like their approach to the sport. They are quick and talented - and they have a lot of guts.
Zenk - There are plenty of great tag teams today. That's what makes the title so valuable. Just look around. The Islanders are awesome. They're fast, durable and tough as nails. Then you've got the Killer Bees. I think they may be the quickest team of all, especially in the air. Both (Jumping Jim) Brunzell and (B. Brian) Blair are exceptional wrestlers. They're like us in that they work very smoothly together.
Martel - Of course, the former champions, the British Bulldogs pose a really difficult challenge for the Foundation. I admire the Bulldogs greatly. Tom says that the Bees may be the quickest team. As a pair, possibly, but I doubt if anybody's faster than the Dynamite Kid. And the Bulldogs have tremendous power.
Zenk - You could talk about exceptional tag teams all day. Ax and Smash (Demolition) are brutal. The new Dream Team (Dino Bravo and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine) could be better than the old one. Tag team wrestling in the WWF is at its peak.
WWF - And so are you guys. One of the things that has moved you up on the list of contenders is your Can-Am catapult. How is it done?
Martel - One of us stands outside the ropes on the ring apron, holding the top rope with both hands. The other. inside the ring, pulls hard on the top rope and then - snap - lets it go. That catapults the man outside up and over onto our opponent.
Zenk - Each of us can take either position. We're interchangeable.
WWF - Thanks and good luck.
match action Can-Ams versus Iron Sheik and Nicolai Volkoff back to Can-Am Archive