TOM ZENK
MATCH HISTORY
PART 2
July  -  December 1990<
Date
Place
Card
Result
Notes
WON = Wrestling Observer Newsletter
DM = Dave Meltzer  in WON and his 5* match rating system
7/4
Greensboro Coliseum,
Greensboro, North Carolina
Tom Zenk vs
Buddy Landel
L
via an inside cradle and hand full of tights
7/6/90
Norfolk
Tom Zenk vs Buddy Landell
L
7/7
Great American Bash '90, Baltimore Arena, Baltimore -  PPV (8,900 crowd but not a sell out, notwithstanding Sting's return). Match #7 of 12
Tom Zenk vs
Big Van Vader
L

"Big Van Vader pinned Tom Zenk in 2:16 with a big splash. There was interest in seeing Vader from the tv clips, and he got a babyface reaction coming down the aisle, especially when the fans saw the headgear blowing steam. Crowd was quiet once the match started because they couldn't work out if Vader was a  face or heel. Zenk sold his stuff good and he did some elbow drops and falling moves that got over because of his weight [251lbs]. But because of the time, this was really just a squash " (Meltzer - half a star).
7/8/90
Asbury Park, NJ
(1,700 crowd)
Tom Zenk
vs Harley Race
W/DQ "both looked good"   (WON 7/23/90).
It was after this match that Race told Zenk not to quit despite the pressure from Anderson.

Tommy Rich getting the push from Ole Anderson and is teamed to replace Zenk with Pillman over the Freebirds.
 

7/9/90
Gainesville, GA
(sellout 1,500)

tv air date 7.21 or 7/22
Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman vs ?
xxxx Trucker Norman in their corner. No opponent or result provided.

The uncontracted Rock'n Roll are now being pushed as the NWA's top babyface tag team.

7/12/90
Tulsa, OK 
(2,981 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
vs Sid Vicious
L On the same card Pillman is booked with The Iron Sheik
7/13
Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX
Tom Zenk 
vs Sid Vicious
L Plus Pillman vs Sheik again

WON reports that Vader's helmet isn't working on cue anymore [!!] because they can't get the Japanese gas needed to fire it in the US. Meanwhile JYD and Luger had a skirmish in Canada after "Luger accidentally tripped JYD when he was supposed to be getting a hot tag. The crowd all laughed and so did Luger. The two men had words and actually got into it..."

7/14
St. Louis, MO
(2,544 crowd)
Tom Zenk vs 
Sid Vicious
L Pillman vs Sheik again

"Philly and Pittsburgh in early August will have Rock'n Roll Express vs Doom and Lex vs Sid as double headliner and both cities will die a royal death....Just burning money in the furnace would be a simpler way to achieve the same final result." (WON 7/23)

7/20
Augusta, GA
(3,900 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
vs Buddy Landell
W Mark pinned Pillman.

WON (7/30/90) reports that Jim Herd trying to sign up tv stations on the West Coast and wonders when will the NWA gets its direction straight - either it's a southern regional promotion promoting the Rock'Roll Express and The Southern Boys and Tommy Rich or else its needs to push other talent with a broader appeal "because Rock'n Roll Express doesn't get over outside a certain geographical area.....Tommy Rich is more of the same and the Southern Boys, by name alone are a regional act"

7/21
St. Petersburg
(2,700 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
vs Buddy Landell
L ** and a quarter (DM).
"Brian Pillman pinned Mean Mark (Callas) after Mark pinned Pillman cheating in some manner, Zenk told the ref who re-started the match and Pillman quickly pinned Mark ** and a quarter" (WON 7/30).
 7/22
Miami, FL
Tom Zenk 
vs Buddy Landell
L ***and a half - DM

Pillman beat Mark - ** and a half

7/27
Richmond
(1,500 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
vs Buddy Landell
W WON 8/6 reports that Dustin Rhodes no showed his NWA debut and signed with WWF instead. Terry Taylor has been signed to NWA and starts in September.
xxXXXX XXXXXXxx XXXXXXXxx XXXXXXxx WON 8/13/1990  confirms that "More and more talk that there will be no more guaranteed money contracts for wrestlers when the current pacts expire ....sometime next spring or summer.... without guaranteed money contracts and being paid on the houses ...all but a few wrestlers would probably want to make the switch [to Titan]. I expect early next year that some of the guys under contract will be phased down and out while greener and cheaper talent will be brought in for the same spots. In fact one could make that assumption just looking at the 9/5 Clash line up." The Clash line-up included predominantly 'green and cheap' talent. There was to be no respite for Zenk. 
8/3
Greensboro
(4,000 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
vs Van Vader
L "very good" - DM8/13
8/4
Charleston, WVA
Tom Zenk 
vs Van Vader
L  
8/5
Roanoke, VA
Tom Zenk 
vs Van Vader
L Letter from readers  (WON 8/13) questions the booking of the Bash matches - in particular "Letting the dull Van Vader squash Zenk was ..a surprise. Vader is all hat and no skill. He's not even muscular." Other letters - Big Van Vader is nothing but pure WWF" and " I don't think Vader will get over in the NWA".
xxXX
XXXXXX 
 XXX
XXX More old talent arrives - Ivan Koloff and Hector Guerrero  "Koloff looked ancient." (WON 8/13)
NWA continuing to run very regional angles - with Buddy Lee now billed as General Buddy Lee feuding with Southern Boys and Bob Armstrong helping out "Bob looked more ancient that Koloff". 
8/6
Marietta 
(1,325 crowd) 

TV Taping for air date 8/18
Zenk and Pillman 
vs US Tag Champs Midnight
Express
No decision 
Anderson reconvenes the tag team of Zenk and Pillman that he had previously disbanded - but only to help put over sloppy Sid Viciious as monster man. TV audiences get a quick glimpse of what they might be seeing if Anderson pushed NWA's real talent. The title match has no decision as Vicious runs in and and attacks everyone. "Match was real good until it was halted" (WON 8/13) "A solid three and and a half star match" - DM 30/8 
8/17
Chattanooga
Tom Zenk vs Zan Panzer (Brad Anderson)
W Brad Anderson is the son of Gene Anderson who is no relation to Ole or Arn Anderson. Brian Anderson is the son of Ole.
8/18
Hartwell, GA
Tom Zenk vs Zan Panzer (Brad Anderson)
W Pillman is subbing for Morton in the Rock'n Roll Express.
xxx
 xxx
 xx
xx WON reports that there is no sign that Anderson's plans are making any improvement to the company - "Less people are going to house shows...'. Cable ratings have been good not because of improved booking but because Herd has been able to get TBS to keep the shows time slots more consistent. The "B" team to which Zenk and Pillman have been demoted is bringing in better houses than the "A" Team.

"Jim Herd and Ole Anderson aren't seeing eye-to-eye about usage of older talent like Bob Armstrong, Buddy Roberts, Ivan Koloff and even Stan Hansen"

"Tom Zenk also missed this last weekend. Don't know the situation there, although there are problems there as well. Zenk was fined $2,500 back in May for no-showing a date in Chicago. SInce no-showing at that time, and even now, was somewhat of a frequent occurrence without fines anywhere near that level, Zenk's lawyer protested to management. This hasn't been resolved as far as I know" (WON  8/20/90). 

[8/30 -WON followed up "Here's the story on Tom Zenk. The reason he missed the shows last weekend was simply to attend Johnny Ace's wedding, something that had been cleared with the office months earlier. That also explains why he, Ricky Morton, Ron Simmons and Doug Furnas were all booked on shows last weekend when it was well-known...they weren't going to be there." 

"Some heat because the company hired a bodybuilder and put Sting's head on the guy's body for newspaper ads, since it basically says Sting's body wasn't good enough for the ads."]

In a further blow Sting attends a video convention in Las Vegas- crowds start thinning out when they realize it isn't Sting the rock star.
 

8/24
Meadowlands, East Rutherford, NJ
(8,000 crowd) 
Tom Zenk
vs Dutch Mantell
W Back before a Meadowlands audience - Zenk pinned Mantell with a backslide in 7:41 before " a hard crowd to begin with." This was the first card on the match . "The finish came out of nowhere with no build-up. Match had no heat and was real bad. Minus star" DM 9/3. In the next match Pillman pinned Landell "Only reaction was for the stiff chops, which is the only thing saving the match from being a dud. The finish came with no build-up" Vader was next and got no reaction. Terry Taylor was fifth and jobbed to a very stiff Hansen. "When the match was over and Taylor so established as a jobber since he got virtually no offense and was pinned so cleanly, there were a lot of "Go back to WWF" and Rooster comments."
8/25
Baltimore, MD
Tom Zenk 
vs Buddy Landell
On the same card, Mean Mark pinned Pillman
8/26
Chicago
(3,325 crowd)
Tom Zenk
vs Dutch Mantell
W One star - DM 
 8/27
Gainesville, GA (tv taping)
 
xxx WON 9/3 reported Mean Mark had quit at the tv taping. He wasn't under contract and earning less than contracted guys.

"Nothing has been settled in Zenk's problems over the $2,500 fine he was levied in May."

XXXxx
XXX 
XXX 
XXX "I've heard less interest in the upcoming Clash than in any big NWA show in a long time. If the ratings are good, expect more cheap talent to be brought in because the company will see that as a mandate that the policy works" (DM 9/3/90)
xxxx
 xxxx
 xxx
XXX Paul Orndorff finishing up "Orndorff was taken off the Clash this week, probably because he wouldn't do the job for Stan Hansen on television and was to be replaced by Tom Zenk who would." (WON 9/10).
8/29
Rome, GA
(3,000 crowd)
Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman vs  Midnight Express
W xxxxxxx
9/1
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro 
(2,600 crowd)
Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman vs  Midnight Express
L "Super match, four stars easily" - DM 9/10
9/5
Clash of Champions XII 
#8 match on card
Tom Zenk vs 
Stan Hansen
L

"Stan Hansen pinned Tom Zenk in 3:18 with a lariat. Hansen worked fast and stiff. It was fine given the time limitations since it was all action, but for the life of me if I had a guy who was under contract to earn $156,000 per year (like Zenk is) who is a pretty decent worker, I'd have at least made this a competitive match. Hansen obviously needed to get over in the end, but if he got a clean win, having a good match and winning would help him just as much. And destroying Zenk in this fashion when he can mean more in a tag team with Pillman (which they are putting back together again) and given his contract is about as smart as throwing $3,000 each week into a furnace .... Tom Zenk filled in for Paul Orndorff who was taken off the card either because he wasn't going to do the job for Hansen on television or because the promotion didn't even bother to ask since he was leaving and just filled Zenk in in the place." (WON 9/17). Tentative line up for PPV has Midnight Express vs Zenk and Pillman.

In another section  it mentions that Orndorff had talked up the match for a month on television. The best way for NWA to explain Orndorff's failure to take the match "was to say Orndorff pulled out of the match and say how gutsy it was for Zenk to volunteer at the last minute to take his place" - DM  (WON 9/17)
 

 9/6
Fort Worth
(crowd 1,700)
Tom Zenk vs Blade Hunter
W " Sting, Luger, Pillman, Zenk and Armstrong will do a week's worth of Family Feud tapings on Thursday in Hollywood". (WON 9/17)

Jim Ross included on team against GLOW women. The men win al five shows.

9/10(?)
Gainesville, GA
(tv taping) 
Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman vs Ric Flair and Arn Anderson
W/DQ "Yet another great match and after the Horsemen were DQ'd, Doom made the save for the faces. It wound up on the Main Event" (WON 9/17/90)
9/11
Dayton, OH
Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman vs Midnights
L Taking heat off Zenk and Pillman 
Although Anderson rebooks Zenk and Pillman as a tag team he books them constantly to lose and so lose heat. The line up for the 10/27 PPV (Halloween Havoc) omits them altogether. "The line-up makes it more than obvious that the NWA is trying to phase down the guys under contract and replace them with cheaper and less experienced talent. For example, on this card, the Midnights who have contracts, are phased down to the opener with mainly non-contract guys in the second through seventh match. Pillman and Zenk aren't even on the show... The idea is obviously with the exception of Sting, Luger, Vicious, and to a lesser extent Flair, Steiners, Doom and maybe Arn Anderson, to make sure the contract guys don't get hot or have any noticeable following so when they are cut loose at the end of their contracts it isn't a loss. So this is the business reason for these unknowns being pushed, simply because even though the NWA is committed to paying the other guys anyway, the new guys will work cheaper in 1991.. this is the same recipe Verne Gagne used for his great success the latter part of the decade". (WON 9/24/90)
9/12
Canton, OH 
(1,000 crowd)
Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman vs Midnights
L Having reformed the Zenk and Pillman combination, Anderson now changes direction  again "Pillman will be getting a singles push next month but only to feed [The Black] Scorpion" - WON 9/24). 
9/15
Detroit, MI 
(1,000 crowd )
Tom Zenk and Brian Pillman vs Midnight Express
L "Three stars" - DM (WON 9/24)
9/23
Omni, Atlanta, GA
Tom Zenk vs 
Van Vader
L "Two stars" from DM (WON 10/1/90) Pillman is working with Alan Iron Eagle instead of Zenk who is still being jobbed to Vader until Vader leaves for Japan. Anderson  brings in a new babyface tag team The Renegade Warriors (Mark and Chris Youngblood); JW Storm (Jeff Warner) is brought in and is getting a bigger push than Zenk
9/25
 Albany, GA
Tom Zenk vs James Earl Wright
W Jim Herd gives permission to the Midnights and Cornette to wrestle an independent car in Philadelphia 11/9 to help defray medical costs for Tom Robinson. (WON 10/8)
9/28
Baltimore,MD
(2,900 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
versus Master Blaster Steele
L Meltzer reports in WON 10/8/90 " Master Blaster Steele pinned Tom Zenk in two minutes (basically it appears they are trying to get Zenk to quit and he hasn't yet so they are turning up the pressure."
9/29
Philadelphia, PA
(3,000 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
versus Master Blaster Steele
L xxxx
9/30
Chicago,IL
(2,598 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
versus Master Blaster Steele
L "Blaster Steele pinned Zenk in 2.49 - half a star" DM (WON 10/8/90)
xxxx xxxx
 xxxx
xxx ONe of the NWA 
One of the NWA wrestlers writes to The Observer " Things are great here. I've worked before 139, 129 and 212 people at house shows of late. In San Antonio, after they paid the security, the police and the ticket box, they got a check back for $6. Then they spent $15 to fed-ex the check back to Atlanta. They are bringing in and pushing guys who have never worked on live national television. They had the Indian guy (Alan Iron Eagle) laying in the hallway two minutes before his television match teaching him how to do an Indian Deathlock. He has had only 23 matches in his entire career. Tony Zane went out in the parking lot after doing an angle with Sting and got busted. They handcuffed him and towed away his car in front of a lot of fans. I was told the actual paid house that night in Marietta was $200. The rest were freebies and there weren't many of them. 
We were told Ole was supposed to be the booker who will put rear ends in our arenas. Right. Any fool can get decent TV ratings in 1990 when you put Sting, Ric Flair and Lex Luger on television every week. And our cable ratings are nothing special. Our syndication ratings totally stink and that's no secret. 
If the Detroit Red WIngs weren't winning, would they bring back Gordon Howie? If the Lakers weren't winning would they bring back Wilt?  If the Red Sox weren't winning, would they bring back Yaz? No, and it doesn't work that way in wrestling either. Guys who are too green,, too old or are simply 6-foot-8 or more seem to be the only guys getting a push here. Did you catch the new TBS sports commercial they plug about every five minutes? T-The B-Best S-Sports. They plug SEC football, NASCAR racing, the Braves and the Hawks. Not even one clip or mention of the NWA. Someone should have included wrestling if the company cared about it." (Name withheld by request).
10/4
Tallahassee 
(2,500 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
vs The Iron Sheik
W
xxx 
10/7
Alexandria, LA 
(1,800 in building)
Tom Zenk 
vs The Iron Sheik
W
xxxx 
xx xxxxx xxxxxx xxxxx WON 10/22 reports Rude quit the WWF. Rude's departure is announced on WWF leading Meltzer to remark " This is the first time to my knowledge that the WWF will have ever acknowledged someone who has left the promotion. (In the case of Tom Zenk, they had Heenan and Rick Martel call him a "quitter" but never referred to Zenk by name, only as 'my partner" and 'your partner.")
10/11
Melbourne, FL
(1,600 sellout  crowd )
Tom Zenk and Tim Horner vs Master Blasters
L "2 stars" for this match - WON 10/22 reports that Robert Gibson of the Rock'n Roll Express is out of action with a torn cartilage but has to keep on the road on crutches because he's not under contract and needs to keep working to get money. NWA is however picking up his medical bills. Rich is used to sub for Gibson. Zenk is teamed with newcomer Tim Horner
10/12
St. Petersburg 
(750 crowd)
Tom Zenk and Tim Horner vs Master Blasters
L xxx
10/13
Miami, FL 
(600 crowd)
Tom Zenk and Tim Horner vs Master Blasters
L  Zenk does photo shoot with Elvira 
10/19
Altoona, PA
Tom Zenk and Tim Horner vs Master Blasters
W
10/20
Asbury Park, NJ
Tom Zenk and Brad Armstrong vs Master Blasters
L xxx
xxx
 xx
 xxxx
xx Jim Cornette and Stan Lane quit NWA - Bobby Eaton decides to stay with 6 more months to run on his contract. The decision to quit comes after an argument with Anderson over booking Eaton to work three times at a tv taping."Ironically the Midnights were ...the company's most consistent act nightly on the road but at the same time were given virtually no push and almost treated as glorified jobbers ...Cornette was one of Anderson's biggest supporters when he was first named booker, although that did change 180 degrees."
10/25
Toronto
(1,000 crowd)
 
Tom Zenk vs Johnny K-9
W xx
10/28
Saginaw, MI
Tom Zenk vs The Black Scorpion (Bill Irwin)
W xx
10/30
Center Stage, Atlanta
for syndication 11/10 -17 - 24
Tom Zenk vs J.W. Storm 
W Some attempt to build up an "underneath issue with Tom Zenk vs J.W.Storm" - Storm (Jeff Warner) is one of Ole's green and cheap recruits.
11/1
Boone, NC
(300 crowd )
Tom Zenk vs Sid Vicious
L Eaton is now appearing in tag with Landell - WON 11/12/90 reports "When asked, Eaton refused to 'bury' Cornette and Lane on an interview. Eaton told Ole Anderson that they were his friends and he won't bury them just like if something were to happen to you, he wouldn't go on tv and bury you."
11/11
Knoxville 
(1,200 crowd)
Tom Zenk vs J.W. Storm
W
xxx 
11/12
Gainesville, GA
(1,100 crowd) TV taping
Tom Zenk vs Motor City Madman
(2 matches)
W
W
 WON 11/19 reports "Ole Anderson's position anything but stable"

" Tom Zenk is getting a renewed push."

Talk of a Owen Hart and Pillman tag team if Hart comes in. (But Hart doesn't come in).

xx
 xx
 xxx
xx "Many ... of the NWA wrestlers are convinced that Ole Anderson is on his way out as booker." Meanwhile it's rumored that Dusty Rhodes  will leave WWF to take his place. "If Rhodes is to come to the NWA, it is pretty well expected that he would bring his son Dustin with him." It is a sign of how low things have sunk that Rhodes is basically considered incapable of doing any worse than Anderson has already done. 
xx
 xx
 xx
xx The Renegade Warriors and some other of Anderson's cheap and green workers, including Jeff Warner (JW Storm) are on their way out. Brad Armstrong and TIm Horner are given a win but then Armstrong jobbed to The Iron Sheik for a week.
11/16
Charleston, WV (1,100 crowd) 
Tom Zenk
vs J.W. Storm
W WON reports (12/3/90) that "Most of the [NWA] wrestlers seem to be excited" over the news of Ole's impending departure. "The thought is that the promotion has hit rock bottom with Ole Anderson at the helm." On the other hand "The thought is that Rhodes will be a good booker so long as he himself isn't an active wrestler. Of course with his son naturally going to be brought in, that has to be almost as bad." Note Meltzer's use of the word 'naturally' with only faint irony - nepotism appears to be accepted as the way wrestling 'inevitably' is.
11/17
Philadelphia
(2,100 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
vs J.W. Storm 
W
xxx 
11/18
Harrisonburg, VA
(500 crowd)
Tom Zenk
vs J.W. Storm
W xxx
11/20
Clash of Champions XXIII
"Thanksgiving Thunder"

Jacksonville, Florida
Tom Zenk 
vs Brian Lee
W "Tom Zenk pinned Brian Lee in 3:10 after a dropkick off the top rope. Decent paced but you could tell they had never worked together because of timing problems. Still it was decent enough except for Zenk missing a flying bodypress off the top rope while Lee was still in Tallahassee or somewhere." (WON, 12/3/90). Lee oversold a posting to the corner post and missed his spot by a mile.
11/22
Omni, Atlanta
Thanksgiving Show (6,500 crowd) 
Tom  Zenk and Brian Pillman vs Master Blasters
W Thanksgiving for a very mixed year, Zenk and Pillman are temporarily reunited 
11/25
 Greensboro Coliseum
(700 crowd)
Tom Zenk and Alan Iron Eagle vs Master Blasters
L Is this a push!!!!
xxx
xxx
xxx
xx Confirmation that Ole Anderson has been sacked as booker. Bob Roop also fired as road agent. The booking is now being done by Jim Ross, Tony Schavione, Kevin Sullivan  and Ric Flair.

Talk of Zenk getting a renewed push appears to have been premature with Zenk booked against the Iron Sheik for the 1/11 Meadowlands show.

Brad Armstrong is missing in action but "Since his problems were with Ole Anderson, there is talk that he will be back in January.' Other talent brought in by Ole going - in particular JYD , Iron Sheik, Night Stalker (Bryan Clark), Rocky King, etc (WON 12/10/90).

12/4 
Center Stage, Atlanta
(sellout 890 crowd)
Tom Zenk 
vs Arn Anderson
TV Title Match
Zenk 'push' arrives now that Ole is back managing his saw mill in Wisconsin.
"Television taping on 12/4 at Center Stage in Atlanta before a sellout 890 was headlined by Zenk winning the TV title from Arn Anderson after a dropkick off the top rope. Told it was a great match. They are doing a gimmick where Zenk has a 46 match winning streak so he's getting a big push now with the new booking team."
 


After the Zenk-Anderson title switch is aired (Saturday -12/22?) WON reports -  "An old-style match which lasted 17 minutes. Slow builder but tons of heat for the finish which was most impressive if only because the crowd didn't seem into it when it started. Anderson's facial expressions were unbelievable." (Meltzer seems to find it hard to praise Zenk!!) NWA mismanagement of the title change continues - "In the commentary on the Zenk-Anderson match they talked of Zenk having a 45 match streak coming into the match. At Starrcade it was 35, but he was pinned at Starrcade" Meltzer doesn't point out  that Starrcade came after the title change but was broadcast first!

12/8
Augusta, GA
Tom Zenk 
vs Iron Sheik
W
XXX
12/13
Raleigh, NC
Tom Zenk 
vs Motor City Madman
W
XXX
12/18
St. Louis. MO
Tom Zenk 
vs Bobby Eaton
L
XXX
12/28
Jacksonville, FLA
Tom Zenk and Lex Luger vs Stan Hansen and Big Cat
W
XXX
12/29
Philadelphia, PA
Tom Zenk and Lex Luger vs STan Hansen and Big Cat
W
XXXXXX
12/30 
Chicago, IL
Tom Zenk 
vs Motor City Madman
W
XXX

 

 TO ANALYSIS OF  1990 RESULTS

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