10 Questions  for the Z-Man



A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, "Z-Man" Tom Zenk was a champion bodybuilder before he was a professional wrestler. His dedication to physical fitness brought him Mr. Minnesota, Mr. Twin Cities and Mr. North Country championships, but he longed for the kind of action that only the wrestling ring could provide. In 1984, he entered the pro ranks and began a career that quickly took him across the country and around the world. In the summer of 1989, it brought him to WCW, where he happily remained ever since. The Z-Man's WCW tenure has not only won him a legion of fans, it has also produced some significant championship wins: In 1990, he held the U.S. tag team title with "Flyin'" Brian Pillman, as well as the World television title: in 1991, the trio of Z-Man, Dustin Rhodes, and Big Josh held the World six-man title. Now the Z-Man has embarked on a new project; a tag team with rookie Marcus Alexander Bagwell. WCW Magazine's Craig Peters caught up with the Z-Man and asked him the following "10 Questions".


WCW Magazine - How is your tag team with Marcus Alexander Bagwell coming along?   

Z-Man: Great. Marc's got a ton of maturity and skill for someone who's only a rookie, and he's eager and willing to learn. We're starting to click as a team in a way that I have only once before with one other partner: Flyin' Brian. I think we're gonna surprise a lot of people.   


WCW Magazine: Do you remember your first major match in WCW?  

Z-Man: I sure do. It was at Clash of the Champions VIII in September 1989. I pinned The Cuban Assassin. Man, that was great. National television audience, big Clash card. What a great experience.  


WCW Magazine: Were you a fan of Zorro as a kid?  

Z-Man: The Z-Man, a fan of the man with "the mark of the 'Z'" right? Yeah, that would make a weird kind of sense, wouldn't it. I was more into Superman. That one with the mole men always cracked me up.  


WCW Magazine: If you hadn't become a pro wrestler, what would you be doing today?   

Z-Man: Who knows? Hollywood film producer? Accountant? Burger-flipper at Krystal? Presidential candidate? I really don't think too much about that kind of stuff. I'm glad things turned out the way they have. I love this sport.  


WCW Magazine: What was your worst subject in high school?   

Z-Man: Oh, man, probably social studies. All those dead Presidents and memorizing dates and names of battles in the Civil War and all that. Ugh! I really didn't have the head for it.  


WCW Magazine: What would you do if the dropkick was banned? [at the time of the interview the new WCW commissioner had banned some top rope maneuvers].  

Z-Man: Are you kidding me? I'd be lost! The dropkick is my favorite maneuver. I get off a good dropkick on someone, I feel like Vince Coleman sliding into third while stretching into a triple. And nothing takes the wind out of a guy faster or better than a well-placed drop kick. Ban the move? Don't even joke about it! 

WCW Magazine: Have you ever pictured yourself as part of that Saturday Night Live skit: "The Z-Man, the Z-meister general, the big Z, throwing some drop-kicks..."?  
Z-Man: You know, I get that sometimes from people, that thing you're talking about, just like that. Gee, I hate that guy! That routine got real old real fast, didn't it?  

WCW Magazine: You faced Big Van Vader at the 1990 Great American Bash in Baltimore, so you have some first hand experience with the big man. What advice can you give to Sting on how to wrestle him?  
Z-Man: Boy, that's a tough one. I mean, how do you deal with a 450-pound guy who gets splashed in the corner across the back with a steel chair and still stays on his feet? The "Stinger's" gonna need some special training for Vader, maybe develop some new offensive strategies. I think my main advice would be to try and dictate the pace of the match as much as possible. You slip up and let Vader get the upper hand, you're gonna have a heck of a time getting it back.  


WCW Magazine: Do you miss competitive bodybuilding?   
Z-Man: No really. It's kind of boring compared to wrestling. It's really a sport for loners. Lots of gym work. Not as much money.   
WCW Magazine: What will you do after your wrestling career is over?   
Z-Man: Hey, you know something I don't? Man. I never think about my career being over. I've only been in this sport for about eight years, which isn't a whole heck of a lot when you consider so many guys having careers that last 20 or 25 years or more. I've got a long, long way to go yet. There are plenty of title in my future waiting to be won.   
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