It's been making the rounds today that former mid-card and tag team star in the WWF and WCW Tom Zenk passed away on December 9th at the age of 59 in his hometown of Robbinsdale, Minnesota. Robbinsdale is a town that's produced or been home to some significant players in the history of pro wrestling like Verne Gagne, Larry Hennig, Curt Hennig, Rick Rude, Nikita Koloff, Gene Okerlund and others. The report doesn't specify the cause of death, only that he'd passed away as well as various funeral service info. Zenk's probably best known for his tag team, the Can-Am Connection, with Rick Martel in 1986 and much of 1987 in the WWF. They were a popular babyface tag team and looked to be heading towards the tag team titles when Zenk suddenly quit the WWF. Allegedly, the reason he quit was that Zenk believed, had been told or something that Martel had secretly negotiated an individual contract worth triple what Zenk was making; traditionally speaking, tag teams were paid roughly the same amount. Years later, however, Martel would claim that it wasn't true. Martel claimed that he never discussed money matters with other wrestlers, Zenk included, and believes that someone put it in his head that he was getting screwed over; Martel stated that Vince followed the traditional rules for tag teams at the time and that he was paid the same as Zenk and that he thought Zenk's biggest issue was that he was just overwhelmed by everything because he hadn't developed the physical and mental toughness needed to endure the grind of the road. After leaving the WWF, Zenk spent the next few years working in Japan, without any real success, before heading to the AWA in early 89 where he spent much of his time chasing Larry Zbyszko for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship before finally landing in WCW. Zenk initially saw success as a tag team wrestler in WCW with Brian Pillman and captured the NWA United States Tag Team Championship in February of 1990. They held the titles for a little over 3 months before dropping them to the Midnight Express and breaking up not long afterward. Zenk then embarked on a singles run that culminated in a 34 day run as NWA World Television Champion in December 1990 before dropping the title to Arn Anderson in the first week of 1991. Through 1991, Zenk would form an alliance with Dustin Rhodes and Big Josh, AKA the first guy to play Doink the Clown, that would lead to a WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship run before the group fizzled out. Zenk would spend the next few years puttering around WCW as an irrelevant undercard guy until being released in May of 1994. Zenk would retire in late 1996 following brief stints in All Japan and the American Wrestling Federation. Zenk had a great look and had he stayed in the WWF, I could see Vince eventually trying something with him as a singles wrestler. Even if Martel did negotiate a deal where he made three times as much as Zenk, Martel had been a 13 year veteran when they showed up in WWF while Zenk had been around only 2 years. Martel had been a significant tag team and singles player in a number of big companies in the US and Canada for a decade, he was also only about 6 months or so removed from a near 600 day run as AWA World Heavyweight Champion and had been a tag champ in the WWF a couple of times already in the early 80s, while Zenk hadn't been around long enough to have a cup of coffee. Martel had long since paid his dues, Zenk hadn't. I think one of Zenk's problems was one that was and is common to a lot of wrestlers to this day: he wasn't as good or as talented as he thought he was. He wasn't bad, but he wasn't great.