"Doing things that people dream of ...."
Joey Maggs began
wrestling in Georgia with Deep South Wrestling in 1987. He moved to Mississippi,
then Louisiana before joining the USWA in Memphis. In January 1991,
he debuted in Ted Turner’s WCW in a match against Tom Zenk. A friendship
was forged that endures today.
to the action....
“Tom never hurt or tried to hurt anyone. He treated you right in the ring. When I broke in, the rule was ‘I’m giving you my body so be careful.’ I hurt Brian Pillman one time but that was accidental. I’ve never hurt anyone on purpose. Today, guys are ‘roided up and want to hurt somebody.”
On friends and enemies. “WCW was like a giant fraternity, we took care of each other like a family. Now, it seems more cut-throat. We were in it when it was still fun!”
And Tom was always fun to be around. “ But he was almost a menace to himself because of his looks and body - guys didn’t want him around because he’d get all the women. Tom was friends with a lot of guys but none of them stuck by him. I guess they weren’t good friends after all, just acquaintances, there for a season. One guy who’s still his friend in WCW is Big Poppa Pump, Scott Steiner."
“And of course Arn Anderson always liked Tom,” joked Maggs. In his book, Arn Anderson 4 Life, Anderson infers that Tom didn’t have the ambition it takes to make it to the top in pro-wreslting. “That may be" says Maggs who was a close friend of Anderson, "but Tom didn’t have the connections that Arn did either, and that’s an important thing in wrestling."
“Tom never refused an angle. He was a professional and did his job.” This accounts for some of the pairings he had while in WCW.
One pairing was with Marcus “Buff” Bagwell.
“Bagwell was green and should never have been his partner. I don’t know why they paired them up...why do they do anything?? The Z-Man/Johnny Gunn tagging just never clicked and sometimes that’s the way it happens. And the most famous pairing, with Flyin' Brian Pillman, was dissolved because of jealousies in the booking office."
"Tom shouldn’t go back into wrestling because it’s a scummy business. He talked me into retiring. We came from the same background - Catholic church, altar boys, etc. And when things weren’t going well he said go home to your family.”
A shoulder injury that never went away finally sidelined Maggs for good in 1998. (Maggs was quick to mention that WCW is good enough to take care of injuries, something other promotions do not always do).
In summary, says Maggs, Zenk is an easy going guy, with a devil-may-care, take-it-while- it’s-going and enjoy-it-while-you-can attitude. "That describes Tom to a 'T' - you've hit the nail on the head”
“A wrestling career....I’d certainly do it again! Nobody’s ever had that kind of fun. I’d change a few things (like the tights I wore) but Tom and I did things that people dream about - staying in first class hotels, flying first class, pampering yourself, buying sportscars and other luxuries.”
Maggs is currently enrolled in flight school in Maryland training to become a cargo pilot .