gallery 5.6
 PART 2  
On February 7,1989 in St. Paul, Minnesota, Tom Zenk narrowly lost to Larry Zbyszko in an 17-man battle royal to determine the new AWA heavyweight title (vacated by Jerry Lawler).
includes extracts from a  report by Bob Smith, PWI, June 1989
"I came real close to getting rid of him [Zbyszko] in that battle royal [for the World title], but once that belt got in his hands, he was gonna do everything possible to keep it, and that includes cheating."  
Order of elimination  - Tommy Jammer, Ricky Rice, Mike Enos, Wayne Bloom, Steve Ray, Ken Patera, Akio Sato, Wahoo McDaniel, Manny Fernandez, Mike George, David Dukes, Paul Diamond, Greg Gagne, Pat Tanaka, Col. DeBeers, Sgt Slaughter...
"All of the feuding contenders were eventually eliminated, as well as other stars such as Greg Gagne, Ken Patera, Mike George and Akio Sato. In the end, Zbyszko stared across the ring at Tom Zenk, who was also making a return to the AWA with this bout". 
"Zbyszko vs. Zenk: The man who remained standing would be crowned the new AWA champion." 
"Zenk fought valiantly against Zbyszko, gaining a solid advantage." 
"Unfortunately, both men [??] collided with referee Gary DeRusha, who was knocked out for almost an entire minute." 
"Zenk had Zbyszko covered for almost 30 seconds, but DeRusha was still shaking off the effects of the crash and couldn't count the pin on Zbyszko in time".


"As DeRusha recovered, Zenk continued to dominate." 
"Zenk attempted a flying body press as Zbyszko staggered near the ropes but Zbyszko caught Zenk and catapulted him over the top rope for the surprising victory."
Frank Amato in Championship Wrestling for October, 1989, reported -
"It was now down to two, Tom Zenk and Larry Zbyszko. The fans were rooting for Zenk, and he gave it his very best. It seemed he would emerge the winner. Yet Zbyszko held on, surviving a near scare by being pinned. Zenk kept up the pressure and attempted a flying bodypress. Zenk caught Zybszko chest-high and the momentum carried them to the ropes. Luck stayed with Zbyszko as he lifted and tossed(!?) Zenk over the top ropes. The AWA had itself a new champion in Larry Zbyszko, like it or not". 
Zybszko maintained a steady position in the top ten "most hated" wrestlers throughout 1989 and was eventually stripped of the title in 1990 for refusing to defend it in Japan.
Bob Smith's article on the battle royal can be found in Archives in the A-Zenk Menu. Frank Amato's article will be online shortly.
A new match begins next week.

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