The Voice of Portland Wrestling
TOM ZENK IN THE PACIFIC NORTH WEST
Billy Jack tries to make off with the mic (and the show) while Don
Coss hangs on doggedly...
Part 2 -“Anyone Like Tommy Zenk
Threat To Billy”
According to Don Coss - “My life with Don and Barry Owen was great! We were a tight-knit family group. Don’s family had over 60 years of tradition in wrestling and he knew what he was doing. PNW was the only show in town. Don never wanted to turn this into a circus or carnival they way he saw it on WWF. He didn’t want to take away from the athletic ability of the wrestlers, whether they looked that way or not. He didn’t want to insult the guys or fans by adding to the show. That’s why Zenk and the other guys wore only their trunks, boots and pads - no costumes for these boys."
“One local hero was Billy Jack Haynes. He was charismatic but in most cases he was his own worst enemy. Haynes had developed a sizable ego and felt the fans, territory and Portland Wrestling was his own. And anyone like Tommy Zenk was a threat to Billy. Even professional athletes get jealous. Haynes’ heading off to the WWF and making some bad decisions left bad feelings in the fan’s minds. He came back as a bad guy, then switched and the fans were confused and didn’t put him over. When a good-looking, athletic guy like Tommy came along, the fans latched onto him quick, and that didn’t sit well with Billy. After Haynes got some success in the WWF, he wanted to go head to head with Owen as a wrestling promoter. But Haynes was not a businessman and that folded quickly.”
For Coss, there’s no comparison between wrestling as he knew it and wrestling today - “PNW was more entertaining in a sports way. Now, WWF, is more entertaining in a ridiculous way. The fans feel that there’s a possibility that there’s something real about this thing, like NBA or football. They don’t want to be told that it’s only entertainment, like McMahon did in the ‘99 Super Bowl spot. The Portland fans treated PNW like it was real, just the way the Owen's family promoted it. And that’s what made PNW so popular for so long. They felt part of it was real and the wrestlers were really athletes. So when a guy like Tommy Zenk came on the scene, I knew here was a star! I was impressed with his intelligence and he looked like a movie star, and he had the body to go with it! In the ring he was a real fierce competitor and was always very popular. You can’t pull much over the fan’s eyes!”
Don Coss is still heavily involved in the media. In 1991 he bought his first radio station and now owns two (KWBY, Hispanic format and KCKX, classic country format) in Woodburn, OR. He also owns a paper, The Canyon Advertiser, and has a shopping mall on the Internet.
At 59, Coss’ smooth tones have mellowed a bit but could still announce a top card event and whip the crowds into a frenzy!
"TOM ZENK IN THE PNW"
relive the "Golden Age" of Wrestling
SINGLE AND TAG MATCHES, FEUDS, CHAMPIONSHIP ...
3 HOURS OF BOUTS FROM PNW
DELIVERY WITHIN NORTH AMERICA