Bloody superfeud ....

Tom Zenk and Rick Martel (Can-Am Connection)
versus
Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart (Hart Foundation)

Martel and Zenk  first crossed paths in the AWA in 1984. After losing the AWA title to Hansen in late 1985, Martel headed north to Montreal to work in International Wrestling Association (IWA) a promotion he part-owned with Gino Brito. Zenk was working in the Pacific North West when Martel called him to join IWA with promises of heavy promotion. In late 1986 Martel negotiated a deal to leave IWA and join WWF with Zernk included as part of the deal.

Zenk and Martel tried out as a tag team in a lucrative tournament in Japan in Nov/Dec 1986. The lines of the Can-Am Connection were forged.  Moving fulltime to WWF in January 1987, Zenk and Martel achieved immediate rating as one of the world's top ten tag teams. By the spring of 1987, the Can-Am Connection was No 1 contender for the World Tag Team Titles - then held by the Hart Foundation.
 

"The entire WWF tag team scene is loaded with formidable teams, but only the British Bulldogs and the Can-Am Connection stand head and shoulders above the rest. These two teams are the cream of the crop, with the slight edge going to Martel and Zenk, due to their more enthusiastic attitudes, and their more intense hunger to attain the championships.... The Can-Am Connection should claim the WWF Tag Team titles in the near future. They alone have the potential to bring some credibility and dignity to the titles once again." more here

"The tandem was so popular that they were being built up as the successors to the Hart Foundation as the next WWF World Tag Team Champions...."
 

Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) had won the tag belts from British Bulldogs (Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith) on 1 January 26, 1987 in Tampa FL. The Bulldogs were coming off an 8 month run as champions. Dynamite Kid, who had been in traction for a month, was flown down and literally had to be carried, piggy-back, to the ring. McMahon was determined the Buldogs would drop the belts to the Harts on TV.

In February, with the Bulldogs out of the picture, Meltzer was forecasting for Wrestlemania 3 -

"it looks like WM3 will go something like this: Andre vs. Hogan for the title (this one is for sure); Savage vs. Steamboat for the IC title (this one is also for sure; my guess is it will be in a cage); Hart Foundation vs. Martel & Zenk for the tag team title (this is planned like this, but a lot of variables--specifically how Neidhart does in court this week--may effect the decision to give Hart-Neidhart tag belts in the first place)......" (Meltzer, WON 2/2/87).
A week later Meltzer reported -
Obviously Hart & Neidhart are just interim champs because Titan is going to put their eggs in the Rick Martel & Tom Zenk basket toward the end of March--maybe sooner. (Meltzer, WON 2/9/87)
Neidhart had been indicted for an airline incident (punching a female flight attendant 4 or 5 times on the arm when she demanded payment for 2 beers.)  Neidhart had been charged with a felony and faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted. His trial was scheduled for shortly after WrestleMania.
Unless there is some sort of guarantee that Neidhart won't serve any time, you can be certain Hart and Neidhart will drop the straps to Martel and Zenk before the case comes up, which may mean they can't wait for the big show. (Meltzer, WON 2/9/87)

The Hart Foundation vs The Can-Ams
Special Analysis of this WWF Superfeud from The Wrestler, June 1987

Can-Am talk about the Harts

General link to Can-Am articles

In the event, Neidhart was acquitted. Instead, the Harts would spend the summer of 1987 defending the titles against the Can-Am Connection, the Killer Bees, the Bulldogs and the Rougeaus. Their matches with the Can-Am Connection ocurred between February to June 1987 (see partial list  below). To add to the Can-Am's reputation as future champs the matches with the Harts often turned into bloody feuds.




 
 

Plans to put the belts on Zenk and Martel in the fall ended abruptly when Zenk left the promotion in July, 1987.

Tom Zenk: "The Hart Foundation clued me in, back in the WWF ....holding a title meant months on the road without a break and no extra money. The Harts couldn't wait to drop the tag titles to get back to a normal schedule. Since then my attitude has been - "Give THEM the belt and give me the money.'"
Like everyone else, WWF's tag champs were paid just $50 a TV show. In the circumstances, Zenk decided nt to stay around.

Following Zenk's departure, the Hart Foundation fell instead to the hastily assembled team of Strike Force (Martel and Santana, replacing Zenk) on 1 October 27, 1987 in Syracuse NY.  A depleted Strike Force would hold the belts until WrestleMania March 27, 1988 when they were shut down by the destructive Demolition.

_____________

Partial list of Hart Foundations vs Can-Am Connection matches.

February 11,  1987 - WWF @ The Coliseum in Oakland Californiia
Ron Bass defeated Lanny Poffo
Corporal Kirschner defeated Jimmy Jack Funk
Harley Race defeated The Junkyard Dog
The Iron Sheik defeated Dick Slater
Nikolai Volkoff defeated Nick Kiniski
Bob Orton Jr. defeated George "the Animal" Steele
Adrian Adonis defeated "Rowdy" Roddy Piper
Demolition defeated The Killer Bees
Rick Martel & Tom Zenk defeated WWF Tag Team Champions The Hart Foundation in a non-title match

February 13, 1987 - WWF @  The Tacoma Dome in Tacoma Washington
Ron Bass defeated Nick Kiniski
Corporal Kirschner defeated Jimmy Jack Funk
Harley Race defeated The Junkyard Dog
Jake Roberts defeated George "the Animal" Steele
Adrian Adonis defeated "Rowdy" Roddy Piper by DQ
Rick Martel, Tom Zenk & The Killer Bees defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart & Demolition in an 8-Man Tag-Team Match

February 14, 1987 - WWF @ the Saddledome in Calgary Alberta
Les Thornton battled Johnny Smith to a Draw
Ron Bass defeated Lanny Poffo
Jimmy Jack Funk defeated Mark Young
The Iron Sheik defeated Dick Slater by DQ
Jake Roberts defeated Ted Acidi
Nikolai Volkoff defeated Corporal Kirschner
The Honky Tonk Man defeated The Junkyard Dog
"Rowdy" Roddy Piper defeated Adrian Adonis
Rick Martel, Tom Zenk & The Killer Bees defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart & Demolition in an 8-Man Tag-Team Match

March 8, 1987 - WWF @  The Meadowlands in East Rutherford New Jersey (5,000)
Tag Team Tournament Quarter Finals:
B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell defeated Jacques & Raymond Rougeau
Rick Martel & Tom Zenk defeated King Kong Bundy & Paul Orndorff via count-out
Don Muraco & Bob Orton Jr. defeated Demolition via disqualification after Demolition used Mr. Fuji's cane as a weapon
Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake defeated Davey Boy Smith & the Dynamite Kid via disqualification at around the 30-second mark after Smith hit Valentine with a chair
Rick Martel & Tom Zenk (sub. for the Islanders) defeated Dan Spivey & Pedro Morales
Semi-Finals:
Rick Martel & Tom Zenk defeated B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell
Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake defeated Don Muraco & Bob Orton Jr. when Muraco accidentally hit Orton with Mr. Fuji's cane after Valentine moved out of the way
Finals: Rick Martel & Tom Zenk defeated Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake; due to pre-match stipulations, Martel & Zenk earned a tag team title shot
WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart defeated Rick Martel & Tom Zenk after Danny Davis interfered and reversed a small package attempt behind the referee's back
 

June 24, 1987 - WWF @ Louisville Gardens, Louisville, KY  (5,761; sell out)
Wrestling Challenge taping:
Bam Bam Bigelow defeated Iron Mike Sharpe
Rick Martel & Tom Zenk defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart via disqualification
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan & Ken Patera defeated King Harley Race & Hercules when Hogan pinned Race
Prime Time Wrestling - 7/13/87: WWF IC Champion the Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated George Steele via count-out at 3:36 after Steele chased Hart backstage; after the bout, Steele returned to the ring, attacked the champion with his own guitar, and then smashed it
Prime Time Wrestling - 7/20/87: The Jumping Bomb Angels defeated WWF Women's Tag Team Champions Judy Martin & Leilani Kai in a non-title match at 11:09 when Kai was pinned with a sunset flip from the middle turnbuckle
7/5/87 - included an 'Special Report' segment, showing Ted Dibiase going into a restaurant where he paid off someone to buy a seat without having to wait in line like everyone else; included Craig DeGeorge interviewing Danny Davis, who was upset over the announcement that Mr. T would be the new enforcer in the WWF; included footage of Superstar Billy Graham training for his comeback, with Butch Reed & Slick commenting on the footage and Reed saying he wasn't impressed; included DeGeorge interviewing the British Bulldogs, who said that Matilda would guide them back to the tag team titles; included the Ken Patera / Frankie Lane match from the 6/27 Superstars, shown in full with the aftermath; featured footage from 'Predator', starring Jesse Ventura:
Jake Roberts pinned Tony Leone at 1:27 with the DDT; during the bout, Bobby Heenan claimed on commentary that he had signed Bam Bam Bigelow
WWF IC Champion the Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) pinned Jim Powers at 1:38 in a non-title match with the Shake, Rattle, & Roll; during the bout, an insert promo by Hart was shown in which he claimed he would be the one to manage Bam Bam Bigelow
Brutus Beefcake defeated Frank DeFalco via submission at 1:46 with the sleeper; after the bout, Beefcake cut some of his opponent's hair before dyeing it red
Demolition (w/ Mr. Fuji) defeated SD Jones & Paul Roma at 2:21 when Ax pinned Roma following the Decapitation; during the bout, an insert promo by Fuji was shown in which he claimed he would be the one to manage Bam Bam Bigelow
Killer Khan (w/ Mr. Fuji) pinned Mike Richards at 3:24 with the flying kneedrop after spitting green mist in his opponent's face
7/12/87 - included an 'Special Report' segment, focusing on Killer Khan, with footage of him using the green mist against his opponents on the 7/4 Superstars and 7/5 Challenge; included footage of Superstar Billy Graham posing, with a response from Butch Reed & Slick saying that next week Reed would do his own posing routine; included Craig DeGeorge interviewing Bobby Heenan, King Harley Race, King Kong Bundy, & Hercules who joked and laughed about their attack on Ken Patera 2 weeks earlier; included footage of Ted Dibiase appearing at a house show, where he was shown throwing money into the crowd:
The Junkyard Dog pinned Brian Costello with the powerslam at 1:53
The Islanders (w/ Bobby Heenan) defeated Jerry Allen & Mario Mancini at 2:42 when Haku pinned Mancini after diving headbutts from both Islanders; during the bout, Johnny V claimed on commentary that he was the one who had signed Bam Bam Bigelow
B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell defeated Don Muraco & Bob Orton Jr. via disqualification at 4:16 after Orton accidentally punched the referee when Brunzell moved out of the way; after the bout, the Bees cleared their opponents out of the ring with double dropkicks
The One Man Gang (w/ Slick) pinned Jim Evans at 1:08 with the front suplex; during the bout, an insert promo by Slick was shown in which he claimed he would be the one to manage Bam Bam Bigelow
Hillbilly Jim, Tito Santana, & Billy Jack Haynes defeated Tiger Chung Lee, Terry Gibbs, & Chris Curtis at 2:39 when Santana pinned Curtis with the flying forearm
WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart (w/ Jimmy Hart) defeated Cpl. Kirchner & Omar Atlas at 3:15 when Bret pinned Atlas following the Hart Attack
7/19/87:
Kamala & Sika (w/ Mr. Fuji & Kimchee) defeated Sonny Rogers & Lanny Poffo at 1:22 when Kamala pinned Rogers with a splash
WWF IC Champion the Honkytonk Man (w/ Jimmy Hart) pinned Scott Casey at 2:13 in a non-title match with the Shake, Rattle, & Roll
Rick Martel & Tom Zenk defeated the Shadows at 4:11 when Martel scored the pin with a flying crossbody
Greg Valentine & Dino Bravo (w/ Johnny V) defeated Jerry Allen & an unknown at 3:25 when Valentine forced a submission from Allen with the figure-4
Jake Roberts pinned Dusty Wolf at 1:29 with the DDT
Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) pinned Sivi Afi at 2:17 with the flying elbow drop
 

July 15, 1987 - WWF @ Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY
WWF Superstars taping:
Dan Kroffatt defeated an unknown
Jake Roberts pinned WWF IC Champion the Honkytonk Man in a non-title match after guest ringside enforcer Mr. T punched the champion
WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan pinned Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) with the legdrop after Elizabeth took a chair from the challenger
Prime Time Wrestling - 8/3/87: The Junkyard Dog & Rick Martel defeated WWF Tag Team Champions Bret Hart & Jim Neidhart (w/ Jimmy Hart) via disqualification at 12:23 after JYD sustained the Hart Attack with Bret coming off the top
Prime Time Wrestling - 8/10/87: Tito Santana fought Greg Valentine (w/ Johnny V) to a time-limit draw; after the bout, Santana cleared the ring of both Valentine and Johnny V; Brutus Beefcake did guest commentary for the bout
7/25/87 - included an interview with Rick Martel in which it was announced Tom Zenk had left the WWF.
 


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