Veteran hard-nosed reporter Matt Brock was reluctant when first sent on assignment to cover the Can-Am Connection. But by the end of his trip he believed, like many others, that Rick Martel and Tom Zenk have what it takes to win the WWF World tag team championship
The new guys always think they have all the answers. Just when I finally reached the point where I had a comfortable working arrangement with Editor-in-Chief Peter King, he takes off and leaves me having to deal with Stu Saks. Now I don't know what in the world qualifies Saks to run the world's largest wrestling publications, but as long as he keeps signing my paychecks, I'll keep my mouth shut.
Well, I thought I'd keep my mouth shut. Then the young know-it-all gets the ridiculous idea to send me on assignment to do a story on the Can-Am Connection. Saks has to learn a lot of things along the way, and he might as well start right here: Matt Brock doesn't cover pretty boys, he covers wrestling and real wrestlers. Tom Zenk and Rick Martel belong in a beauty parlor, not in a wrestling ring.
Then Saks pointed out that, just a few months ago, I had some favorable things to say about the Can-Ams in my "Plain Speaking" column in Inside Wrestling. He went and showed me what I wrote, and this scribe couldn't believe his eyes. I may be going a little senile in my old age, but I don't remember writing anything good about the Can-Ams. Maybe that sneak [Eddie] Ellner got to my copy and changed it. That's the problem with these high-tech computers. With typewriters, everything's in black and white: with this computer nonsense, things can get changed around without anybody ever knowing it. No wonder they call them terminals.
So let me say something right here and now. I have not been impressed with the Can-Am Connection. Rick Martel and Tom Zenk are image lacking substance; they're far too pretty to be in a wrestling ring, and I've never seen either of them go anywhere near a bar. If a man can't drink, he can't wrestle either. That's the way it is in this sport. Hard-nosed goes down to the bone. The Can-Ams should be in figure skating.
The next thing I know, Saks tells me that the WWF television tapings are in Las Vegas, and I shut up pretty quickly. Principles are one thing, Vegas is another. Saks phones for a limo and I'm at the airport in less than an hour, in Vegas in five. And who's there to greet me at the airport? None other than that copy-changing skunk Eddie Ellner.
Ellner has this big smile on his face, but I'm not talking. "Listen Ellner," I say, "You change my copy one more time and it'll be the last thing you ever do. You and I have had our last drink together. This is it." Then Ellner nods toward the airport bar right around the corner, and before you know it the two of us are sitting on a stool trading wrestling stories.
As it turns out, Saks, who's becoming sneakier by the minute, knew all along that Ellner was in Vegas, and had him buy a couple of tickets to the TV taping. After about an hour of bending our elbows, we weave out of the bar, hail a cab, and head over to the arena.
Vegas is quite a town. It's all glitz and bright lights, just like the WWF, and those showgirls remind me a little of Martel and Zenk. They're all show, no substance, but people go crazy over them. I can say whatever I want about Martel and Zenk, but I've seen them wrestle a few times and the fans go WILD over them. Somebody once said that nobody's ever gone broke under-estimating the intelligence of the public. True words have never been spoken.
So me and Ellner are sitting in the nosebleed seats of the Thomas and Mack Arena (who the heck are Thomas and Mack, anyway?) and Ellner has this visible look of disgust on his face. If there's anything Ellner can't stand. it's watching the fans make fools of themselves, especially over a team like the Can-Ams. But watching them, there's no doubt about it. The Can-Ams have won the hearts of these people.
Of course, by my estimation, the cheers of the fans are worth approximately two cents. In pro wrestling, success is measured by titles won, and so far the Can-Ams haven't shown me a thing. Granted, they've been together as a team less than a year. But until they beat The Hart Foundation for the belts, I won't be impressed. And I'm never gonna be impressed unless this overgrown 14-year-old girl sitting next to me stops squealing in my ear.
Lesson one from Las Vegas: The Can-Ams, despite their looks, actually have some wrestling ability. They're very accomplished with aerial maneuvers, although Zenk is a little green. Martel's done a lot of tag teaming in his career (remember the glory days of Tony Garea and Rick Martel?), but I have my doubts about his ability to be a leader to Zenk.
The Hart Foundation, of course, is made up of two rugged individuals, Brett Hart and Jim Neidhart. They beat The British Bulldogs for the belts - no small task - and are under the expert management of Jimmy Hart. But they're careless, reckless and they wrestle at full speed. The Can-Ams are more tactical: a hell of a lot more than I gave them credit for, to be honest. If they can take advantage of the Foundation's mistakes, they can win the belts. I didn't think so when I first saw them, but they've improved between then and now.
Eddie Ellner thinks that's ridiculous. The idea of a team like the Can-Ams winning a title is beyond his comprehension. But he hasn't been in the game as long as I have, and he doesn't have my experience. I'm still no fan of the Can-Ams, but my Vegas trip convinces me of this; they have what it takes to go all the way - if they keep improving the way they have over the past few months. Unless Ellner changes my copy again, that's this reporter's opinion.
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