|This article, from The Wrestler,
June 1987 prepared fans for the upcoming feud between the Can-Am Connection
(Tom Zenk and Rick Martel) and the then reigning WWF tag team champions
The Hart Foundation (Brett Hart and Jim Neidhart).
Since Tom Zenk had worked mainly regional promotions from 1984 - 1987 (in Minneapolis, Portland and Montreal) and was new to the national stage, the article portrays him as a youthful protégé to the 16 year ring veteran Rick Martel.
In that context, the article claims, Martel was responsible for most of the Can-Am's in-ring work. A careful analysis of our Can-Am videos shows, on the contrary, that the Can-Am's usual match style utilized Zenk as the youthful 'face in peril,' doing most of the in-ring work - and taking most of the bumps - until a final hot tag brought in the veteran Martel for the finish.
This article presumes to be a scientific analysis of the comparative abilities of The Can-Am Connection vs The Hart Foundation - yet it rates Neidhart and Hart over Zenk and Martel in aerial skills - a strange decision, given Zenk's stunning aerial work.
Finally, in considering "Intangibles" the article asks " Is Zenk a weak link in the team that needs to be strengthened before a major title reign is feasible?" As events turned out it wasn't Zenk but Martel who proved to be the weak link in the Can-Am. It was Martel's preoccupation with money over friendship that split the Can-Am Connection, leaving Martel with the ineffectual Strike Force - his tag team with Tito Santana - that never quite managed to recapture the brief yet meteoric success of The Can-Am Connection.
The Hart Foundation vs The Can-Ams Special Analysis of the WWF Superfeud! The Wrestler, June 1987
"It's inevitable: The WWF World tag team champions will go up against the most popular team in the federation. The Hart Foundation vs The Can-Am Connection - it's a natural feud destined to ignite the WWF with excitement. In this special analysis, The Wrestler provides a fan's guide to this impending war."
Not long after Rick Martel and Tom Zenk arrived in the WWF, they catapulted to the number one contender's spot for the WWF World tag team belts.
Catapult is in fact the proper word: Other teams, such as Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine and Nikolai Volkoff and The Iron Sheik, seemed to be left in the dust, even when The British Bulldogs held the belts. Martel and Zenk thrilled wrestling fans with their highflying skills and blitzkrieg teamwork, and when The Hart Foundation downed Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith for the title, the Can-Am Connection found themselves in the proverbial catbird seats.
Considering the immense popularity of the Can-Ams, WWF officials and promoters would be fools not to sign a series of title matches between Martel and Zenk and the championship Hart Foundation - a series of mtches that, by the time it's over, may well find the Can-Ams wearing the tag team belts.
The Wrestler decided that this was the right time to take an extensive analytical look at these two teams. The teams are ranked in four crucial categories. The highest score each team can receive in a category is 10.0. (The perfect team would receive a score of 40). The feud is just around the corner, and this is your guide to the weaponry of these warring brigades.
Can-Ams - Zenk stands 6'1.5" and weighs 237 pounds, while Martel is an even 6' and weighs in at 236 pounds. Both men have excellent strength and are in superb condition. Martel, a former ice hockey player, former WWF World tag team champion has trememdous stamina. Zenk, who is no stranger to the gym, is Martel's protege, presumably sharing his mentor's dedication to physical training. Rating : 10.0
Hart Foundation: Brett Hart stands an even 6' tall and weighs 235 pounds, while his partner Jim Neidhart checks in at 280 pounds and a height of 5'11". A former football player, Neidhart's bulk costs him in the speed and stamina departments. Hart has tremendous stamina and can wrestle at top speed for lenghty periods of time. Hart appears more dedicated to strength and conditioning than Neidhart. Rating: 7.0
Can-Ams: Martel and Zenk may be a new team, but their forte is aerial maneuvers. Martel's over-the-top-rope vault served him well as AWA World chamopion: the added force of Zenk slingshotting him off the ropes provides added authority to the move. Zenk possesses one of the top three best dropkicks in the sport today, and he will only get better in the months to come. But the fact remains: They are a new team, and a lot of their two-man finishing moves still need to be polished. Rating: 8.0
Hart Foundation: As tag team champions now, and as top contenders to the British Bulldogs for months, Hart and Neidhart honed and perfected their teamwork, including their powerfully devastating finishing move, The Hart Attack, in which Neidhart holds the man in the air bearhug-style, and Hart rebounds off the ropes and hits him with a flying clothesline. Hart is more aerial-oriented than Neidhart, but both men share a level of recklessness and disregard for their own safety, and that makes them even more dangerous than just their skills might indicate. Rating: 9.0
||Can-Ams: Martel, clearly
the senior member of the team and team leader, tends to carry the Can-Ams
in many matches, preferring to tag off to Zenk only when they are at an
advantage or when absolutely necessary Zenk is still learning from
Martel and that cuts down signficantly on the quick tags that are necessary
to overwhelm an opposing team [but see box above]. They are an eminently
clean team, seldom resorting to bending the rules, which could work to
their disadvantage in certain situations against unscrupulous opponents.
Hart Foundation: Hart and Neidhart don't like to rest. They prefer a bout in which perpetual motion is the pace of the match, and will do everything possible to set that kind of pace and wear down their opponents. They are less willing to adapt their style to a situation than to attempt to change that situation into an opportunity to utilize The Hart Attack. This tends to limit their offense and cut off opportunities to capitalize on Hart's aerials and Neidhart's power. Rating: 7.0
Can-Ams: The fans are the strongest intangible here. Martel and Zenk both draw power from the fan's cheers, and that adrenaline rush from the fan's vocal support can make the difference between victory and defeat in a close bout. But are Zenk amd Martel straining to achieve too much too soon? Should they wait six months or a year for their teamwork to get smoother? They have momentum, but will they burn out too soon? Is Zenk a weak link in the team that needs to be strengthened before a major title reign is feasible? These are important questions. Rating: 7.0
Hart Foundation: Canny and crafty is an apt description. They were smart enough to sidestep all battle royal opposition at Wrestlemania 2 and make it to the final three against Andre the Giant. And they're bold enough to utilize the talents of distraction and interference offered by their manager Jimmy Hart and his megaphone. Now that they have the WWF World tag team belts, they'll use every trick in their rulebreaking book to maintain their hold on the title. In wrestling, the advantage is to the champion who is willing to risk disqualification. Rating: 9.0
Can-Am Connection: 33.0
Hart Foundation: 32.0
Adding up our four categories, the Can-Ams hold a slight edge over the Harts. There is a slight advantage and a decisive advantage for each team in two categories. But which is more important, aerial skills or basic style? Will the intangibles really fall in favor of The Hart Foundation, or will the hunger and momentum of the Can-Ams overwhelm Jimmy Hart's team? It's going to be a sensational matchup, one that we predict will lead to a fascinating and exciting feud, and that given enough title matches, will eventually result in a title for the Can-Ams. It's going to be a feud to which all fans wll want to pay very, very close attention.
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