Wrestling News

Former WWE Superstar Knew Release Was Coming As They “Had Heat”

Zach Gowen

Former WWE Superstar Zach Gowen has spoken honestly about his departure from WWE, saying he knew the writing was on the wall as he ‘had heat’ within the company.

Speaking with Alistair McGeorge of Metro UK, the 38-year-old former WWE star discussed his departure from the company in February 2004 after a 9 month run in the company.

According to Gowen, he knew his future in the company looked bleak:

“I definitely saw it coming because I had so much heat in the locker room with the other wrestlers and the office. I didn’t wanna get fired – I didn’t wanna quit! ‘But I was so immature emotionally, not only as a wrestler but as a human being, that I couldn’t handle the gift that was being given to me. I wasn’t equipped, I didn’t have the tools to navigate through that level of success successfully.”

“My identity at the time was wrapped up in being ‘Zach Gowen, WWE Superstar’ so if you take away the ‘WWE Superstar’ for me, what does that make me? That makes me a failure, that makes me not good enough, that makes me a disappointment I’m an addict and I’m an alcoholic. It’ll be something I deal with on a daily basis for the rest of my life, and I didn’t know it at the time.”

Gowen spoke candidly about his issues with drugs and alcohol, as well as losing his leg at the age of 8 due to cancer:

“It’s just crazy to me, full circle, how woven WWE is into the fabric of my life. As a child, losing my leg and then being able to escape into that world saved my life. And then, as a young adult being able to participate and make memories with The Big Show and Brock Lesnar and Hulk Hogan and Vince. And then in my late 20s, Vince McMahon literally saving my life. [laughs] It’s kinda strange, how woven that company and how important that company is to my daily life even at 38 years old. It’s unbelievable.”

It was an email forwarded to Jim Ross, that Gowen credits for getting him the help he needed to get sober:

“Literally within two minutes, I got a phone call from somebody in the office – Jim forwarded that email to somebody else in the wellness department. She called me up and they got me into treatment within three days after. That was February 14th, 2010 – which is the date of my last drink and drug. The foundation of my life started with WWE and their wellness program, and their willingness to pay for my treatment and to reach back to me when I reached out for help – literally within minutes.”

Zach Gowen had a memorable run in WWE with his debut being as a ‘fan’ who came to Mr. America’s [Hulk Hogan] rescue from Roddy Piper and Sean O’Haire. Gowen commented on sharing the ring with such wrestling legends so early in his career:

“Oh man, it was terrifying. To be in that spotlight, the only way I can describe it is completely overwhelming and terrifying – but what an amazing experience!”