Wednesday, December 21, 2022

A Japanese fan remembers Baba and Wajima vs Zenk and Martel, World's Strongest Tag Team, 1986








Today, December 19th, I was shocked to hear the news that former professional wrestler Tom Zenk passed away on Yahoo News. 

Speaking of Tom Zenk, I watched a match on TV where the late Giant Baba teamed up with former Yokozuna [sumo champion] Wajima in the World's Strongest Tag Team in 1986 to make their debut match in Tokyo. 

At the time, I was attending a preparatory school for the University Entrance exam, but I didn't have any friends, couldn't keep up with classes, and couldn't keep up with the rush of Tokyo and the pace of life in the city.

I rode the train in my neighborhood, but walking through the crowds, I would get head pain and nausea.  I didn't talk to anyone other than my landlord, and my day and night life were reversed. I was 19, in the freshest time in my life, and I don't have a single photograph of those times. 

Since I was an exam student, I didn't have a TV, but I didn't have any problem with that, except when I wanted to watch professional wrestling. I'd seen Wajima and Kitanoumi in their famous sumo matches when I was a child, and I wanted to see Wajima after he turned pro wrestler, so I went to the public bathhouse to watch TV. 

Wajima-san won against Tom Zenk with a clothesline, but I was deeply moved when I saw the match. When I think about it now, I think that Tom Zenk-san fascinated me as a professional wrestler and made Wajima shine with that finish.

After that, I joined a boxing gym and overcame my withdrawal [hikikomori], and at the same time, forgot about the painful 19 years of my former life.
It has been 31 years since then, and the Showa [All Japan Pro Wrestling] era has become even more distant with the change of the new year and the passing of Baba and Tom Zenk, but thank you, Tom Zenk, for your great matches and great energy in 1986, a difficult time for me when I was a shut-in. I wish Tom Zenk rests in peace.

 Watch the match here

Sunday, December 11, 2022