During a recent episode of his weekly ‘The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy’ podcast, the former Mattitude leader recalled his 2003 storyline on ‘SmackDown!’ with one legged wrestler Zach Gowen.
Here’s what Matt Hardy said:
“It would be a different deal today. I mean, there was some stuff that I was asked to do that felt uncomfortable, but Zach was always cool with everything.
I had a blast working with Zach. He was a really cool, nice guy. I think he was in a really weird spot because he achieved so much success so quickly and some of it went to his head.
I think some people there started noticing and I think that was part of his downfall, I don’t know. Also, he ended up having some addiction issues as well.
I love talking to him nowadays. We keep in contact over social media, and we talk. He’s still doing stuff. He’s great, has a great family, kids, and I love to see it.
We definitely relate on that level. Working with him, there were times when they really wanted to hit hard about, ‘Oh, he’s missing a limb’.
One thing that was so weird, I worked with him on house shows for a few loops, and you would pick him up for a body slam and your arm would slip off his nub.
It was very strange and very different.
Michael Hayes said, one of the most wise, intellectual things I’ve ever heard before, and at first when he said it, I was like ‘Man, that’s kind of disrespectful’, but the more I thought about it and let it sink in, I think he was correct.
He said, ‘I just told them, this guy should be a heel. He should be a heel manager. That’s where we should put him’.
He said ‘Because I’m gonna tell you, when you watch this guy with one leg out there wrestling these people that are normal, bad-a$$ killers, it’s uncomfortable. It’s uncomfortable to watch someone who’s handicapped in the ring with them like that’.
He said ‘It’s hard to kind of get behind’, and there were times when I was wrestling him, and I could feel that uncomfortableness in the crowd, for sure.
The more I thought about that, like if they would have made him arrogant, like he was a big deal, and turned him heel, I think that would have 100% worked.”
Zach Gowen had his left leg amputated at the young age of 8 and became the only one-legged professional wrestler to ever make it to the WWE.
He wrestled for them between May and October of 2003, but also had a few matches for Total Nonstop Action! (TNA) in 2003, 2005 & 2006.
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