World Wrestling Entertainment today announced an end to its collaboration with one-legged SmackDown! Wrestler Zach Gowen. In a press release on wwe.com it was announced that the decision was made yesterday after a meeting between Gowen and Jim Ross "by mutual agreement". No other reasons for the separation were given.
Gowen, whose leg was amputated as a child, made his debut in the SmackDown! Broadcasts last year at the age of 19 in the WWE, after previously being "Tenacious Z" in the TNA through unusual moves and actions (for a one-legged friend) had caused a stir. Despite his severe disability, he was determined to realize his dream career as a professional wrestler. The WWE gave him this chance in May 2003, when he was first involved in the feud between the Hulkster and Vince McMahon as a "Hulk Hogan" fan. When "Mr. America (= Hogan)" was fired from McMahon in the storyline, as in reality, the original feud resulted in an argument between Zach Gowen and the "Evil Owner" of the WWE. For many weeks in the summer of 2003, this story was to dominate the SmackDown! Broadcasts, peppered by many attacks by McMahon against the disabled man, often regarded by the public as tasteless, which culminated in a rather bloody match between the opponents at the Vengeance PPV. Even after that, he continued to get a lot of TV time compared to other wrestlers. General Manger Stephanie McMahon took Gowen's side as the feud progressed and tried (with modest success) as an interviewer to get Zach over to the fans. After his heel turn in the summer, WWE Champion Brock Lesnar was allowed to abuse the youngster in a special way, when he first broke his healthy leg on TV, only to throw him down a staircase in a psychological manner in a wheelchair shortly afterwards.
Even after this incident, Gowen's WWE story should not end there. After his comeback, he got a mini-storyline against Matt Hardy. At the SmackDown! -Only PPV No Mercy last October, Gowen was able to celebrate the greatest success of his wrestling career so far:
In a single match, he defeated the ex-cruiserweight champion via pinfall. His last TV appearance followed just three days later. In the SmackDown! Tapings after No Mercy, he suffered a concussion after the finisher of the two Japanese wrestlers Akio and Sakoda. After that incident, he was never seen on the WWE Thursday show on TV again.
According to unnamed sources of the Wrestling Observer, the dismissal announced today is mainly due to massive locker room problems, as Gowan would have made himself very unpopular with many wrestlers during his ascent. Many active people therefore had great problems lying down for a "one-legged" person.
Jim Ross leaves a back door for Gowen to return to the WWE anyway. Due to his very young age (20 years), a renewed commitment in the next few years cannot be ruled out, according to Ross on wwe.com.
The press release can be read under the following link:
Mark Henry faces a month-long injury hiatus. As it became known today, the RAW superstar will have an operation on his shoulder at Dr. James Andrews undergo.
During the day, wwe.com reported his match against Chris Benoit from last Monday as the reason for the injury. According to information from the Wrestling Observer, however, Henry has been struggling with shoulder problems for a long time, so the report is probably a "storyline" - Explanation acts that could still be played out in a comeback Henrys. The former Olympic champion had only returned to the WWE last summer alongside Teddy Long and had recently received a minor push.