Zach Gowen was a major part of WWE television for a brief period in 2003. Working alongside the likes of Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Vince McMahon and Brock Lesnar, the only one-legged Superstar in WWE history enjoyed a high-profile run on the SmackDown brand.
However, almost as quickly as he arrived on the scene, Gowen disappeared from view. Here is his story, including what is he is up to these days.
Gowen, who had his left leg amputated when he was just eight years old due to cancer, signed with WWE in February 2003, having impressed during a brief run with TNA (now Impact) Wrestling. WWE reportedly tried to sign the wrong one-legged wrestler initially, mistakenly reaching out to the little-known Florida wrestler Steve Chamberland.
Once WWE had Gowen signed to a deal, though, they wasted little time in debuting him on television.
First appearing as a fan coming out of the crowd on the May 15 episode of SmackDown, Gowen used his prosthetic leg to help Hulk 'Mr America' Hogan fight off 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper and Sean O'Haire.
To be associated on-screen with two legends like Piper and Hogan was a tremendous start for Gowen.
He would officially "win" his WWE contract shortly afterwards when he - alongside Stephanie McMahon - defeated The Big Show in a handicap match.
Gowen would go on to feud with Vince McMahon, losing the first of only two pay-per-view matches he would have with the company to the WWE boss at Vengeance 2003.
In the months that followed, Gowen would be brutally attacked by Brock Lesnar in a number of memorable segments, having his leg broken, as well as being thrown down a flight of stairs.
Revenge over Lesnar was never something Gowen was able to fully seek, though, as he quickly fell down the pecking order on SmackDown. In February 2004, after less than a year with the company, Gowen would be released from his WWE contract.
At just 20 years old, Gowen made the choice to return to education, whilst continuing his wrestling career on the side. Although he would make sporadic appearances on the independent circuit, Gowen's personal life was rapidly in decline.
"My attitude sucked," admitted Gowen of his behavior prior to his release, per Bleacher Report. Following his departure from WWE, Gowen battled substance abuse issues for several years.
Eventually, admitting his problems, Gowen sought help from the WWE Talent Wellness Program, which saw WWE fund his entry into a rehab facility.
Gowen paid tribute to Vince McMahon and the WWE when speaking to Chris Van Vliet in 2019.
"I want to tell my truth and my story and it’s ‘Thank you Vince’. He gave a kid who was on his deathbed who was losing his leg to cancer, 10 years later I’m in the ring with Hulk Hogan and living out my childhood fantasy and inspiring others. He also gave me legs to walk on and 10 years after that, he’s saving my life," said Gowen.
Having successfully recovered from his personal problems, Gowen embraced religion and now works primarily as a motivational speaker for a youth engagement company, using his personal experiences to help others. Gowen is also an advocate for DDP Yoga, which he uses to stay in shape.
Married with three young children, Gowen also occasionally works independent dates, alongside his close friend and fellow disabled wrestler Gregory Iron.
Gowen also hopes to work as a backstage producer for a major promotion in the future, having reached a point in his life where he is happiest helping others.
"I get to be a 36-year old father and now I can affect other people’s lives with what I do in all of my work whether it’s speaking, yoga, wrestling or whatever it is", said Gowen to Chris Van Vliet of his future plans.
Zach Gowen's story continues - and it is in a most positive way.News Now - Sport News