According to an obituary in the Minnesota Star Tribune, former pro wrestler Tom Zenk has passed away at the age of 59 in his hometown of Robbinsdale, Minnesota. The cause of death is not yet known.
Zenk enjoyed a successful decade-plus-long career that stretched from 1984 through 1996, when he retired and mostly disappeared from the wrestling world. He was part of a ridiculously talented group of Robbinsdale High School alums who all became pro wrestlers.
Zenk started his career in the AWA before moving around, eventually landing in Montreal’s IWA, where he formed the Can-Am Connection with Rick Martel. The Can-Am Connection, of course, shortly thereafter moved to WWF, where they had a brief run, including wrestling in the opening match of WrestleMania III against Don Muraco and Bob Orton.
Zenk then left the Can-Am Connection and WWF, heading to All Japan and back to the AWA before debuting in WCW as the Z-Man in 1989. He and Brian Pillman teamed together to capture the United States Tag Team Championship, and he later defeated Arn Anderson to become the final NWA Television Champion, and then the first WCW Television Champion when the title was renamed, before losing it back to Anderson. He also managed to capture the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship alongside Dustin Rhodes and Big Josh (Matt Borne/Doink the Clown), as they defeated the Fabulous Freebirds for the straps in 1991.
Zenk was released from WCW in 1994, and went back to All Japan for a time before finishing his career in the AWF. Not a bad career in any respect, and in fact, Zenk was co-winner of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Rookie of the Year award in 1984, an honor he shared with none other than Jushin “Thunder” Liger.
Please enjoy some selected highlights from the life and career of the Z-Man, Tom Zenk.