In a new interview, Impact Wrestling’s Zema Ion talked about a wide range of topics.
Ring Rust Radio: For fans who may not be aware, a few years ago you had a health scare. How are you feeling now, and did that impact your outlook on getting back into the ring?
DJ Z: It was just crazy. I was not sure for about five or six months whether or not I had cancer. When your alone with your thoughts, when you’re unsure, it’s scary. It changes your perspective and your outlook on life. I wasn’t sure how much longer I had to live. I thought if I had cancer, I might have a year or two then I will probably die. It definitely impacted me in many ways inside if wrestling and outside of it too. I thought to myself what did I want to accomplish still in my life? Music was a really big thing that I wanted to learn and get trained at.
I took a lot of time when I was on the injured list and dove into that passion to try and learn it since I didn’t know how much more time I had to live. I remember having a nearly maxed out credit card, and I told myself, “you know what, let’s just buy some music productions software”. I didn’t have the money to do it so I maxed out my card completely. I got the software because that’s how bad I wanted to learn it. Just like with wrestling, I was sitting there and not sure if I ever would wrestle again.
It was depressing and made me appreciate and love wrestling even more. Then when I got healthy again, I was able to come back to wrestling with a reinvigorated passion for it. I was just grateful to be able to do it again when I wasn’t sure I ever would. I’m thankful that I am healthy today and cancer free.
Ring Rust Radio: You have spent several years with the company and have seen a lot of change in that time. How confident are you in the future of Impact Wrestling and have you or other wrestlers been impacted by some of the negative rumors about the company’s television deal?
DJ Z: I think what sucks is that fans seem to be very concerned with these inner workings of TNA when there is a great show we are putting out every Wednesday. The show itself is taking a backseat to the controversy and negative reports out there. Don’t worry about that, just watch the show and enjoy it. Wresting is interesting because it’s not like you have passionate fans of TV shows like the Walking Dead being super concerned about the behind the scenes of the series.
Only in pro-wrestling, do you get fans that are so interested in the behind the scenes aspect as much as the stuff you see on TV. It’s interesting in that way but I think it sucks since the show is really strong right now. We have a lot of hungry wrestlers giving it their all every week and there should be more emphasis on that instead of the behind the scenes stuff.
Ring Rust Radio: TNA has undergone a lot of changes recently and one of the biggest seems to be that much of the talent is permitted to take independent bookings around the scheduled tapings. You yourself have worked some shows for AIW. What you think that type of flexibility says about TNA, and how do you think it might impact outside talent’s interest in working for the company?
DJ Z: I think it’s cool that we have the freedom to take these bookings when we are not doing TNA stuff. This was a different situation where last year we were super busy with live events and I had no time to do any independent shows. This year, there aren’t live events, so I have the freedom to take these independent bookings. It’s cool because there is a different kind of pressure and creative outlet for me when I work an independent show versus a TNA TV show. I get to wrestle talent I’m not familiar with and see different trends in different places.
I think it’s cool to help keep your mind sharp and I enjoy to wrestle the independents and see different parts of the world. Being able to do more independent booking allowed me to do different shows in England, Japan, Mexico, and Russia. It’s cool to travel, see other parts of the world, meet new people, and have those experiences. At the same time, I do wish there were more live TNA events and hopefully we will get back to that point somewhere down the line.