WWE News Torch Inside Story: Zach Gowen finished with WWE, it was only matter of time
Feb 4, 2004 - 6:06:00 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor
WWE.com reported today that WWE ended its contractual relationship Zach Gowen, the one-legged wrestler who was the centerpiece of major angles on Smackdown last year.
Zach Gowen was originally believed by WWE to be a huge marketing opportunity. Because he lost one of his legs up to the hip at a young age due to cancer, yet was such an agile wrestler, WWE felt it would be a mainstream media bonanza to sign him.
It didn't work out that way. Gowen didn't make a noticeable dent in ratings when he finally wrestled. He also didn't draw much mainstream media attention.
The PWTorch Newsletter had reported details in several "WWE Newswire" reports late last year that Gowen was not popular with other wrestlers backstage. He was aloof and rubbed wrestlers the wrong way.
At first, he was said to be trying a bit too hard to prove he fit in. Eventually, he developed what several WWE sources told PWTorch was an attitude problem.
"Zach's an immature kid, but not a bad kid," said one WWE insider.
Reported the Torch Newsletter #781 (cover dated Oct. 25, 2003): "Zach was at the Smackdown tapings last Tuesday, but wasn't written into the show and some believe it's because management didn't want to give him any TV time to further inflate his ego. There's actually already talk that Zach will be let go at the end of his contract because it's becoming clear he's not dedicated to getting better, he has an ego problem that perhaps only time away from the spotlight might cure, and flat out hasn't been the crossover media star WWE management initially anticipated. Plus, the crowd response to him hasn't been strong, either, in most arenas.
Many wrestlers were not eager to wrestle him because they felt it eliminated any credibility for them to engage in even back-and-forth exchanges with someone without one of his legs.
Last October, when Zach didn't show up for his scheduled practice sessions in Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE's developmental system, he lost a lot of standing with Vince McMahon. The perception that he felt too good to have to practice his craft ended much hope management had for him.
Gowen also blew up backstage when he got a stiff blow to the head during a match with Sakoda and Yang. He felt they were stiff on him on purpose or reckless and he let them know it backstage after the Oct. 23 Smackdown. Gowen had lashed out against WWE wrestlers before for being too stiff on him in the ring. WWE wrestlers lost respect for him because of that,. It also didn't help that he flaunted that he didn't have to spend time in the gym to earn his keep. His lack of gym routine also cost him points with Vince McMahon, who felt Gowen didn't even try to add any muscle mass to his slender frame to add credibility to what was already an awkward situation when other wrestlers were asked to sell for him.
Said one WWE wrestler: "He acts like he's something really special. He's like a teenager thrown into the dressing room and he's really screwing up bad. He's disrespectful and everyone's sick of it."
In the Michigan indy wrestling scene, before he signed with WWE, he was nicknamed "Little Prince" by other wrestlers because they felt he acted spoiled by his wealthy mother. Our source told us that Gowen had boasted to local indy wrestlers that if WWE fired him before his contract expired, he would file a discrimination lawsuit. He also said he hated the backstage politics in WWE.
Gowen hadn't been used on TV since and it was expected to be only a matter of time before WWE settled on the remaining time on his contract.
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