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By Ron Stewart on 2011-03-21 08:48:59

The World's ONLY One Legged Pro Wrestling Phenomenon ZACH GOWEN joins Ron "Showtime" Stewart for a special exclusive interview to discuss his start on the MI indie scene, working for TNA & WWE, his favorite & LEAST favorite on-screen moments, dream matches, whether he should have stuck with TNA or not, his work internationally, his involvement with charities, his upcoming autobiography, a possible MOTION PICTURE based on his life, his work as a Hollywood stuntman and SO MUCH MORE!

RON SHOWTIME: First off Zach, thank you for taking the time to chat with me for this special informal and unique interview…

ZACH GOWEN: My pleasure, thanks for the request amigo.

RON: I’ve known you for about 10 years, as we both started working the Detroit indies around the same time in 2001. You’ve been a wrestling fan for almost your entire life, you have since worked for every major pro wrestling organization here in the states, as well as over-seas. You’ve done countless internet, radio and video interviews, you’ve had your share of controversy and you’ve been hit with damn near every question in the book-- so let’s see if we can manage to shoot off some unique questions and have a little fun exclusively for the members and readers of EPW…

To start, I know you’ve always been a WWF/WWE fan going back forever. Going back to your childhood until today-- what was the greatest era of wrestling on television (80’s, Hulkamania, Early 90’s, New Generation, Attitude, etc) and what were your favorite angles, faces and heels from that era?

ZACH: Wow, good question. I don’t know if I can really say… The Monday Night Wars were incredible for me for a couple reasons: 1) It was absolute must-see-tv. I wanted to see what talent was jumping ship, I wanted to see Goldberg kill everyone, I wanted to see Austin beat the crap out of McMahon, the smaller guys were doing incredible stuff, The Rock was being the most entertaining personality ever, etc. 2) Wrestling was HOT. It was cool to go to school on Tuesday mornings and talk with your friends about Nitro and Raw. It was cool to rock a Monday Night Jericho or an NWO shirt. Even my K-Dogg 187 shirt was the whip.

But when I go back and I watch the shows from that era now, it doesn’t really hold up for me. Certain stuff does, but I don’t think the product was as good as I remember. I think my favorite stuff now to watch is NWA from the 80’s. Like, that’s what pro wrestling is to me. They got it right.

RON: You actually became a pro wrestler yourself and caught some major attention. The WWE signed you and literally hotshot you into a program with Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Vince McMahon, etc… You had less than 30 matches on the independent scene and now here you were, heading to the BIG dance. So my question is, What were you thinking as all of this happened so suddenly?

ZACH: I was thinking "I MADE IT" and that it would never go away.

RON: We will get to how that thought-process has changed since then, but first-- After arriving in the WWE, what were some of the things management initially asked you to work on?

ZACH: They suggested that I [should] develop my upper body a little bit and to hit the tanner. I finally did what they wanted me to do 8 years later.

RON: Haha, you certainly did as you're in the best shape I've ever seen you in bro...

Can you tell me your absolute FAVORITE and equally LEAST favorite moments from being a WWE employee? And I don’t mean “The Money” and “Getting Released”, lol. I’m asking about your favorite and least-favorite on-screen moments.

ZACH: Favorite on screen moment was working with Brock at Joe Louis Arena. That was such a rush man. Least favorite was doing a kiss scene with Sable. The whole segment [with Sable] was awkward for me and it really exposed my limited acting ability. Another favorite of mine was cutting a promo on Vince at Madison Square Garden. That was absolutely incredible.

RON: The angle on Smackdown with Brock Lesnar-- he beats you to a bloody pulp (pretty stiff at that) as your mother watched on in the front row . . . followed by tossing you down the arena stairs. How did you feel about that whole storyline? Was your family ok with seeing that? Lastly, how was your relationship with Brock off camera during this?

ZACH: Loved that angle. The company trusted me enough to get Brock over as a bad guy and I feel like I delivered. My family was fine with it, they were just concerned that I might get hurt. My relationship with Brock was very professional and friendly. He is a great guy.

RON: You’ve already said before that you went in not quite ready for what was about to happen. That you were still “green” and young. If you could take back, change or relive ANY part of your time as a WWE employee, what would that be? Or are you the type that doesn’t regret anything?

ZACH: The only thing I would change would be not getting signed so soon. I feel like if I was there now, would deliver beyond everyone’s expectations.

RON: Let’s go back to before you signed with WWE-- You had a tryout at TNA and they wanted to keep you on the roster… In hindsight now, do you think you should have maybe stayed with TNA a little longer before taking the jump to the biggest promotion in the world?

ZACH: No. TNA wasn’t the best place for me to showcase my ability. I’ve had nothing but positive experiences with that company (TNA) and I have many friends who work there, but I think the world’s only one legged professional wrestler needs to be on the biggest stage of them all.

RON: You DO belong on the main stage and I feel that you will get a second-go more sooner than later...

How many other countries have you wrestled in? Any notable matches or opponents outside of the states that really stand out for you?

ZACH: Let’s see… Canada, Japan, Mexico, all of Europe pretty much. I loved working for All-Japan. I teamed with The Great Muta every night on the tour which was incredible. I love their style and fans. All-Japan treated me very well and I’d love to go back and work for them soon.

NOTE FROM RON: This interview was conducted before this past week's tragic Japan earthquake & tsunami, which is why we didn't discuss the situation

RON: What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you during international travels (before, during or after the show)?

ZACH: I almost got arrested and deported from Japan a few times. I had some craziness in Europe. Nothing I really want to get into or relive to be honest!

RON: Fair enough and understandable. lol. What has been your ALL-TIME favorite match and favorite opponent throughout your career? What show was it?

ZACH: Favorite opponent is Jimmy Jacobs. Let me speak on him for a second. This dude has no business being a professional wrestler. He’s completely undersized and nobody would accuse him of being athletic. Yet, somehow, he’s been making a living in the wrestling business for the past 6 years. He has more heart and passion and drive than anyone I know and that totally inspires me. His mind is very sharp and he has the heart of a lion.

RON: I would surely agree with you about Jimmy. He has truly grown into a solid (and sometimes UNDER-RATED!) superstar. If you could put yourself into ANY “Dream Match” vs. ANY wrestling superstar or legend (living or deceased) for ANY promotion, what would it be?

ZACH: I’m trying to think of someone that would absolutely compliment my work. I need someone who’s a great bad guy, who knows how to control the tempo, who’s not afraid of looking foolish/bad because it’s for the greater good, someone who isn’t a mark…. You know what? I’m thinking Tully Blanchard is the guy. Randy Savage too! You know what’s so funny? Those guys are N8 Mattson’s idols and he (N8) is in my top 3 favorite guys to work with. And he possesses all of those qualities!

RON: You are now not only a pro wrestling icon, but you also make great contributions to charities of several types. Care to tell us about some of the work you’re involved with?

ZACH: I do volunteer work for Mott Children’s Hospital, Immerman Angel 1 on 1 Cancer Support Network, and the Ann Arbor Community. I do these things for selfish reasons. It’s a great way for me to get out of my own head and it’s very rewarding.

RON: You’ve also become somewhat of a Hollywood movie star recently. Please tell us about some of the film projects that you have been working on.

ZACH: Last spring I ran into an old friend who’s now a very famous stuntman. He got me hooked up with the right people and since then I’ve done stunts on "War Flowers" with Christina Ricci and "Harold and Kumar 3". I've got a zombie movie in March (doing stunt work).

RON: Give me at least ONE good story from the set of Harold & Kumar 3. I love those movies and it’s pretty damn cool that you got to be a part of the trilogy, so you’ve gotta share a good story with us. lol

ZACH: I love those movies too. Kal Penn was super cool and nice to everyone. I was only there for 1 day and it was all business, no crazy stories. Except Thomas Lennon’s character’s BABY getting high on cocaine, I think it will be a funny scene.

RON: There is a Zach Gowen autobiography coming out soon. Care to share any details on when it will be released and what subjects we can look forward to reading about? Are we gonna get lots of the good never-before-heard stuff?

ZACH: Oh yeah, mos def. It’s not so much your typical ‘wrestling book’. Wrestling is the main theme in my life. For example, I used wrestling as an escape when I was going through my troubles in childhood, wrestling brought me notoriety and success at a young age but definitely contributed to the darkest period of my life. Then through wrestling, I was given a second chance at life and led to the golden road of recovery. Basically, it’s my life story in which wrestling is the thread that holds it all together, but I don’t focus a tremendous amount of time on the subject, if that makes any sense.

RON: What about a Zach Gowen true-life MOVIE? I personally think it would make for a great film with a terrific story. Have you ever discussed the possibility with any of your Hollywood connections?

ZACH: Yes. The goal is to use the book to generate interest in getting a film version of the story. But it all depends on how well the book does and if the right people read it and take interest in it. A lot of factors.

RON: Aside from yourself, obviously, which of today’s younger wrestlers do you personally see being the next huge superstars of tomorrow? In other words, who do YOU personally like watching?

ZACH: I like Rich Swann from the east coast. The first time I met him he said, “Nice to meet you Zach. I was a HUGE fan of yours when I was growing up”. Way to make a dude feel old, bro. In the early 2000’s, you had Sabin, Shelley, Jacobs, and Truth ripping it up everywhere and getting themselves noticed. I feel like the CLASH guys are doing well (CLASH indie wrestling in MI). They are being innovative and new and not being scared to try something different. I think you have to have that fearless outlook to make yourselves noticed.

RON: You have grown so much as a talent and as an amazing person since working there, so a lot of your fans wonder if would you like to return to WWE for a more proper run-- IF they made you a good offer? - And if so, who would you most like to work with?

ZACH: I dunno man. At this moment, I’m completely content on where I am and what I’m doing. My traveling is easy and I’m doing some great stuff outside of wrestling. WWE right now is the best it’s been in a long time, so many great guys. I’d love to work with CM Punk. I really look up to him as a performer.

RON: When you got signed to the WWE, you had to have been overwhelmed meeting Vince McMahon for the first time. What was it like first having Vince McMahon for a boss, then shortly thereafter getting the chance to main event a PPV match WRESTLING against Mr. McMahon? Explain what a head trip that must have been.

ZACH: I don’t think I met Vince until the first day of TV I did. I met Vince, Hogan, and Piper at the same time. It was an absolute trip, I couldn’t stop smiling.

RON: You’ve worked all over the world throughout your career, so what would be your opinion on the current state of the business and what’s your take on WWE and TNA's current product? **Anything you would change if you were given control of the entire industry for 1 year?

ZACH: WWE is firing on all cylinders right now, as they work toward WrestleMania. TNA confuses me. I think the Jeff Jarrett stuff is really great. Kurt Angle’s an absolute beast. Beer Money and the Machine Guns are great. They have a very talented locker room. If I was in charge for a year, I would probably go insane. It would be a huge headache. I think the key is to be entertaining, bottom line. Whether you’re a high flyer, a bad ass, a fat guy, a good looking girl, a great wrestler, etc… whatever, I think fans just want to be entertained.

RON: Thanks again Zach. Always a good time talking to you and the members of EPW appreciate your time as well.

ZACH: Follow me on twitter @ZachGowen!

RON: As well as following Zach on Twitter, fans can also become a part of our family-friendly pro wrestling news & discussion forum, @ ELITE PRO WRESTLING:

If you enjoy you can check out the AD-FREE PWInsider Elite section, which features exclusive audio updates, news, our critically acclaimed podcasts, interviews and more by clicking here!

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