In a candid revelation, former WWE sensation, Zach Gowen, shed light on the sequence of events that eventually led to his departure from WWE in February 2004. Remembered as the only one-legged WWE competitor, Gowen's trajectory saw a swift ascendancy, battling big names like Brock Lesnar and Vince McMahon.
However, this zenith was short-lived, as he soon competed against lesser-known opponents and slid to the lower card battles. On his podcast, "The False Finish," Gowen addressed the reasons behind his abrupt exit. "It boils down to my professional demeanor or lack thereof.
The way I acted and carried myself wasn't in line with the expectations of a WWE Superstar," Gowen articulated. Recollecting his final pay-per-view match against Matt Hardy at No Mercy 2003, he mentioned how WWE strategized these matchups to help him assimilate the profession's nuances.
This strategy, however, took a brutal turn during a SmackDown episode, where Gowen suffered a severe concussion.
"Laurinaitis Extends Support to Gowen"
Amidst this chaos, Gowen recalls an unsettling episode with WWE's Orlando Jordan, who chastised him for resting in his hotel room.
But the next day, he brought a glimmer of support. John Laurinaitis, the then WWE Head of Talent Relations, contacted Gowen. Laurinaitis' words were candid, "You're currently not in good graces with many, but I'm here to help." But, as Gowen admits, the pivotal juncture that expedited his exit was deeply personal.
Falling deeply in love in Detroit, he found himself at odds with WWE's plans. They envisioned him in Louisville, undergoing the OVW training regimen. But Gowen's heart tethered him to Detroit. This conflict culminated in a fateful meeting at WWE HQ, where the legendary Jim Ross delivered the news of his release.
Gowen's memory of this meeting is bittersweet. "Ross was the epitome of grace," he recollected. The silver lining of this somber meeting was Ross's encouragement. He advised Gowen to hone his craft in the indie circuit and left the doors open for a WWE comeback.
Post-WWE, Gowen showcased his prowess in indie promotions, making notable appearances in TNA and Ring of Honor. He continued to be a mainstay at WrestlePro Alaska, with his most recent match in April 2022.