Even if rumour has been running rampant for 2 months now, WWE confirmed today Superstar Michael Paris, better known as former Impact Wrestling DJZ or Zema Ion, “one of the world’s top high-flying Superstars” has come to the WWE Performance Center and reported for training this week.
To quote WWE, “A professional grappler for nearly 15 years, Paris specializes in dynamic, top-rope offence, and has put many competitors away with moves like the 450 Splash and the 630 Splash. He has experience wrestling internationally, including in Mexico, Japan and the United Kingdom. Paris has also captured dozens of championships on his journey to WWE, such as the International Wrestling Cartel’s Super Indy Championship, a title formerly held by the likes of AJ Styles, Johnny Gargano, Adam Cole and Corey Graves. Paris’ signing comes on the heels of several other high-profile acquisitions.”
Paris, 32, first began training to become a pro wrestler in Pittsburgh in 2003, before debuting for Black Diamond Wrestling as Shiima Xion. It wasn’t long before he became a regular one of Pennsylvania’s top indie promotions, International Wrestling Cartel (IWC), that same year, where he has competed for the duration of his entire 15-year career. He’s a former 2x IWC Super Indy Champion, 2x IWC World Heavyweight Champion and 2x IWC Tag Team Champion.
In 2005, he entered the CHIKARA Young Lions Cup, which granted him further exposure, as he began to work more Midwest and East Coast promotions like Ohio’s Absolute Intense Wrestling (AIW), Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), Chicago’s All American Wrestling (AAW) and Dragon Gate USA, as well as international stints with AAA and Desastre Total Ultraviolento (DTU) in Mexico and DDT Pro in Japan. In 2009, he made the semi-finals of the CZW Best of the Best tournament.
In 2011, he debuted with IMPACT (then TNA) as Zema Ion, and within his first year was X-Division Champion. His athleticism and aerialist moves fit in perfectly with Impact Wrestling X-Division and he was featured regularly. In 2014, he adopted a DJ gimmick, changing his name to DJ Z.
In May 2013, he had a benign tumour in his bladder removed, which had been discovered during an emergency appendectomy. On April 5, 2017, Paris suffered a second “colon-related health scare” after a 450° splash from Laredo Kid during a match for The Crash promotion in Mexico City caused a ruptured colon and internal bleeding, forcing him into emergency surgery.
Doctors gave him a 20% chance of having the use of a colostomy bag for the rest of his life. The surgery was successful and he returned to the ring two months later at an International Wrestling Cartel show, losing to Adam Cole. Paris suffered recurrent panic attacks from concern “about the worst that can happen” after this injury.
In early 2018, he formed a new tag team, Z & E, with Andrew Everett, and captured the IMPACT World Tag Team titles, but the tandem was short lived. Later that summer, Andrew Everett left Impact Wrestling, followed by year’s end by DJ Z himself. Last year, he made his first appearance in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla‘s Battle of Los Angeles tournament.
All pics courtesy of WWE and Impact Wrestling.