Thanks to something that the queen of WNW Kendra Bunyon posted on Facebook I was able to find out about a new DVD titled Finding Zach Gowen. You all remember Zach Gowen right? He was the one legged wrestler who worked for WWE back in 2003. Zach Gowen has one of wrestling's most inspirational stories because no one would ever have imagined a one legged wrestler would have become such a worldwide sensation. He has overcome so much adversity inside and outside of the ring but no one has really heard Zach's story directly from him and the people who lived through it. This DVD gives us the chance to discover more about Zach Gowen as a person and hear his inspirational yet sometimes dark and troubling story first hand.
Right off the bat I don't want to give too much away about the DVD because I want people to purchase a copy to support Zach and support the makers of this fine project, but I will touch on details to give you a feel for what to expect from it. Zach talked about his early years as a young child with an alcoholic father who abused his mother. He left the family when Zach was 4 years old meaning that Gowen never had a father figure in his life to look up to, something that I get the feeling and impression from the way Zach spoke really shaped his life for a number of years. Zach also talked about how he first discovered wrestling while he was at his grandmothers and what seeing the product as a young child meant to him.
We then got onto how young Zach first realized something wasn't right with his leg but time after time doctors would dismiss the problem until a freak accident while he was out bowling with friends would finally help doctors discover a shocking truth; At just 8 years old Zach Gowen was diagnosed with cancer. Not only did he have to face the prospect of dealing with such a deadly disease but Zach had to face up to life being a one legged child, something that we can only imagine having to deal with, but it was something Zach had to adjust to and deal with in his own way. I could feel the raw emotion from both he and his mother as they talked about the journey to finding out about his cancer and the after effects the amputation caused him to feel.
Zach talks about the first time that he truly fell in love with wrestling in 1992 when he watched the 1992 Royal Rumble where he saw Ric Flair win the WWE Championship and how for the first time since his amputation Zach felt normal. This led him to use professional wrestling as an escape from the way he was feeling following the trauma he had been dealing with. He even named that some of his favorite wrestlers were Warrior, Warlord, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan. From there we hear about the event that Zach witnessed in August 1996 that bought him to the conclusion that he wanted to become a professional wrestler and hear about when Zach began his training at the House of Truth wrestling academy, owned by Truth Martini, at age 17. Zach mentioned that he felt comfortable in the ring and he finally felt like he found peace in his life.
I learnt that his first ever match was against Truth Martini, a match that is on the bonus disc of the DVD for those who want to see a fresh, young Gowen in the ring. Zach also tells us about how there were veterans in the business who discouraged him from following his dream because they felt he didn't have a place in wrestling. For me I think it's clear that these veterans felt threatened by the fact he was unique given his look and style and that he was going to be a draw big money. We also hear about how Zach went to TNA and wrestled a dark match with Truth Martini that had the crowd so hyped up it had TNA officials worried it would overshadow their Pay Per View that night. Zach was offered a TNA contract that night, but in a bizarre twist he ended up signing with the WWE, something even Zach never thought could possibly happen.
This DVD gave an insight from Zach about his first night on the road in WWE that saw him debut with Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper. Zack spoke highly of how helpful Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan and Roddy Piper were to him in the early stages of his arrival. We hear about Zach's first story line which was to kiss Vince McMahon's ass to get a contract and how he then went on to face Big Show, someone Zack was a huge fan of, where he was able to pick up his first victory. Zach talks about the reaction he received being so overwhelming because his story seems to connect with so many people that he forgot to celebrate and act surprised. We also get to hear about the not so good side of Zach's WWE journey and what he did that caused him to garner tremendous levels of heat in the locker room, as well as the events that led up to his eventual release from WWE.
It was at this point Zach began a roller coaster battle with drugs and alcohol. You can hear him describe himself as angry and bitter and just out to burn bridges following his release from WWE. Zach admits he didn't realize how bad his battle with drugs and alcohol became and he eventually turned to them to regain the feeling he discovered from first getting into a wrestling ring. Wrestling took a back seat to the demons that gripped him and he got to a point where he couldn't even go to a show without being tanked up on a cocktail of drugs and alcohol. Hearing the story from his close friend Jimmy Jacobs about them going backstage at a show and there being a whiteboard where wrestlers would write down what pills they were looking to take really summed up for me how bad Zach's problem was becoming. Jimmy Jacobs and Zach's trainer Truth Martini, who became emotional and admitted to supplying Zach with Vicodin following an injury to himself, talk about Gowen's battle and how concerned they were for him.
We hear from Zach about the fateful camping trip that finally made him realize he needed to get clean following the experience of feelings of withdrawal because he had no access to pills and how he finally saw he had a problem. You will hear about Zach's struggle with recovery and how Zach sought solace by moving in with Truth Martini, where he would be on Truth's couch in intense pain going through the withdrawal. We hear about the battles Zach had with constant relapses and how in 2010 he started taking stronger and stronger stuff to the point where friends believed Zach was close to death.
Then comes the story that made Zach wake up and realize he had a problem; The story of how he took a job as a pizza delivery guy just to make enough money to buy drugs and one night delivered to a house in Detroit where he was held up at gunpoint, which saw Zach hit a low point because when he was able to escape he felt calm because he had drugs stored in his shoes to take away the edge. Luckily Zach finally realized he needed to clean up and he talks about his personal struggle to admit to his mum and family what he had become from the abuse and that he had become like his father. His mum suggested he contact WWE and he went into their drug rehabilitation program and this is what first taught him how to be a man and deal with issues in his life to give him the foundation to live a normal and drug free life.
You will hear stories about Zach's time in the WWE sponsored rehab and how Zach not only dealt with this, but how Zach made some spiritual discoveries that helped him on his path to recovery. I feel his recovery has allowed him to appreciate life again and luckily he has never relapsed in over three and a half years, despite the fact he admits he has struggled at times being near those situations where access is easier and most likely tempting. Zach realizes he is still a work in progress with his recovery and he will never be able to give up on his recovery. It's just an all round feel good moment to hear how Zach came out the other end of a very long, dark and destructive path.
Today Zach continues to wrestle independently for companies such as JCW based in Detroit. He talks about how he is now going round schools giving talks about his life and his recovery to share his story so that others learn from the journey he experienced. He's even managed to become a stunt man since his recovery. He is now due to marry his long term girlfriend and has a child and I just think that it is so amazing how much Zach has turned his life around. The big thing is Zach is now happy and he talks about how his life has totally changed and how the challenges he has overcome that have changed him as a person.
Finding Zach Gowen is the inspirational story of a young kids dream to become a professional wrestler and to overcome the odds. It is a tale of never giving up on what you want to achieve. This is Zach Gowen's story, featuring the good, the bad, and in some cases the down right ugly situations he found himself facing. This DVD goes through everything from his childhood growing up to his run in WWE, all the way through to his darkest moments through the battles with his personal demons, and back out the other end when he overcame the odds again and turned his life around. This DVD features interviews with personal friends like Jimmy Jacobs, Rhino, Paul London, and Truth Martini, all who lived through the stories we hear throughout this DVD. I cannot recommend this DVD more highly to anyone who wants to hear a story of one kids struggle to overcome the odds and come out the other end of it all a man.
For more information on purchasing the DVD check out this link here
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