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Where Does Zema Ion Rank Among the Top Heels in IMPACT Wrestling?

One year ago, Zema Ion and Austin Aries were just Indy wrestlers looking to catch their big break. That big break came in the form of TNA’s X-Division Showcase Tournament.

In an attempt to beef up the X-Division, TNA scanned through the Indy scenes in search of top quality X-Division wrestlers. They brought in Austin Aries, Low Ki, Jack Evans, Tony Nese, Zema Ion, Jimmy Rave and many more.

The winner of the tournament would receive a grand prize: an IMPACT Wrestling contract. Austin Aries would exit Destination X with a surefire IMPACT contract and the other eleven participants’ futures were up in the air.

Zema Ion was one of few X-Division wrestlers that impressed IMPACT officials enough to give him a contract even in defeat.

Aries would quickly rise to the top of the X-Division and reigned supreme as X-Division Champion for nearly 300 long days. Ion would struggle to stay afloat within the X-Division and, it pains me to say, his breakout moment came when he broke Jesse Sorensen’s neck.

TNA would use this in Zema Ion’s favor as a way of garnering heat from the crowd. As Aries became the most popular man in the X-Division, Ion quickly became the least popular man in the X-Division. The two eventually faced off going into TNA Victory Road where the self-proclaimed “Greatest Man That Ever Lived” would walk out victorious.

Aries would continue his reign of dominance, eventually fighting guys out of the X-Division such as Bully Ray and Samoa Joe. Meanwhile, it seemed like Zema Ion vanished from the scene in TNA.

Slowly moving into the one-year anniversary of earning their respective contracts, both men had the chance of reaching gold. For Aries, he’d challenge Bobby Roode for the World Heavyweight Championship at Destination X. For Ion, he’d enter a tournament for the X-Division Championship.

Both guys, one year after earning their contracts at Destination X, left as champions. Aries, the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion, and Ion, the new TNA X-Division Champion.

This, however, is an article about the lesser known guy. This is an article about Zema Ion.

Shortly after the Ultimate X match ended, Ion was interviewed by Christy Hemme. Ion claimed to not only become the X-Division Champion, but the “Prettiest X-Division Champion” ever. He would go onto dedicate his championship victory to the man who’s neck he broke just six months ago, Jesse Sorensen. This would make Ion look like a bigger scumbag than when he broke Sorensen’s neck in the first place.

Zema Ion, whether you like it or not, has been the top heel in the X-Division for quite some time now. Granted, he didn’t get to showcase it because the champ, Austin Aries, was moving onto bigger and better things.

The Sorensen-Against All Odds incident is what made Ion the most hated man in the X-Division. But, where does Zema Ion rank among the heels within IMPACT Wrestling?

Sure we have Bully Ray, Bobby Roode and Daniels as the top three heels in TNA. Then, there are the guys like Crimson, Zema Ion, Gunner, Kid Kash, Magnus, Robbie E and Rob Terry.

Gunner and Kash have missed a significant amount of TV time to be even considered in the league of the Bully Rays and Bobby Roodes. People tend to look at Robbie E and Rob Terry more as jokes than legitimate heels. And Magnus only recently returned to IMPACT as a heel. Before then, he was a babyface tag team wrestler with Samoa Joe.

And surely, none of the guys listed above have done anything as bad as break another man’s neck. Zema Ion nearly ended Sorensen’s career and is using that to elevate himself.

What I’m trying to say is that Zema Ion is basically the fourth top heel in TNA behind Bully Ray, Bobby Roode and Daniels (fifth if you want to count Kazarian with Daniels).

I believe, if given the TV time, Zema Ion can prove why he’s one of the top heels. With rumors of Dutt, King and Andrews getting contracts, it looks as if TNA is placing more emphasis on the X-Division. And with more emphasis on the division, that surely means more TV time for them, right? Zema Ion has the ability to be a great heel in the X-Division. The more the crowd sees of this guy, the more they hate him.

He barely even has to touch a microphone because fans already know he’s the man behind Sorensen’s injury.

If Zema Ion is given a fair amount of TV time on IMPACT, I feel like he can prove why he deserves to be considered one of the elite heels within IMPACT Wrestling.

About Charlie Groenewegen

TNA Writer For Three Years Now. Written here since the beginning. Once witnessed a lobster commit suicide. Undefeated in lucha libre, but only in a dream I had. Above all else, an enigma.
  • Wigsf3

    He’s a got a hook, the can of hairspray. You gotta give him that. It’s no vaporizer of Arrogance, but it’s something.

    • Charlie G

      Yeah, at that spray gets him a good amount of heat when used in a match. Especially like we seen at Destination X.

  • SiD

    Zema Ion is the real god damn deal. 

    • Charlie G

      Yes he is.

      • SiD


  • JacobStachowiak

    Very good article. Obviously inspired by Destination X and Ryan’s constant tweets about him. Gonna do one about him myself soon.

    • Charlie G

      Thank you. Obviously inspired by Destination X and I agreed with Ryan’s constant (Like, 100) tweets about him. That last promo & confrontation with Jesse Sorensen made me wonder where Zema might fit in amongst top heels.

      I’m looking forward to your article about Ion.

  • Brett Chandler

    What a pretty article, Charlie. I’ve liked Ion since he turned heel.

    • Charlie G

      It’s only pretty because Zema Ion, I know… I hope Zema Ion gets more TV time in coming weeks, especially since he just became X Division Champion.

  • JacobStachowiak

    That promo after he won (the one that i’m disappointed Judas didn’t pay attention to) won me over. So dickish, but he got the heat so can’t argue with success. 

    • Charlie G

      Yeah, that promo is what did it at the end. What a douchebag… It clearly worked though.

  • Judas Thundersteel

    I was so tuned out at Zema Ion winning the X-Division championship, that I didn’t even bother to listen to his promo. I only noted the fans chanting “transition,” because that’s what Ion’s possibly going to set up as, a transitional champion. However, reading this article, calmer now than the moment at Destination X, there’s really nothing to do about it, and I will accept it. Moreso if this means he wrestles King, Dutt, and Andrews. One problem with Ion heading to a new title reign is how he’d be a champion of nobody. With all due respect to Austin Aries, for a while he was just that, champion of nobody. Conflicts with Samoa Joe and Bully Ray would hide that very well, and now he’s on top of the world. Ion goes in with a good amount of heat as a result of the Sorensen issue. The true test from him and creative, is sustaining it for a couple months, because  Sorensen will not come back in the ring until another 6+ months. A very long title reign would be risky, so I’d like to see him switch it up with the guys rumored to get a contract with TNA. This puts the whole division on notice, the fertile ground is developed, Ion gets the title towards the end of Sorensen’s rehab period, and thus by the time he wrestles Sorensen, he wouldn’t be a champion of nobody. Nor would he be the guy that had too long a title reign and didn’t have the chops to make it worthwhile, unlike Bobby Roode for example. He’d be the guy who as scratched around the X-Division, is the champion, is battle tested, and is ready to face a returning Jesse Sorensen.

    Simply put, Zema Ion has to be booked well and with intricate hands doing the job. As far as where Ion ranks up. After Destination X, it’s valid to put him in 5th place, as yes, I’m counting Kazarian in the pair rankings with Daniels. Ion also has to, I guess, keep acting like a dick to the fans. I wouldn’t try and use Sorensen’s name too much, it would come off as cheap heat. To map out the future: Ion holds the title for a good 3 or so months, loses it to say Dutt. The feud there can have Sorensen mentions, such as Dutt wanting to win the title for Sorensen, or just to shut Ion up for talking about his supposed “inspiration” in Sorensen. Dutt holds the title for a short period of time, drops it back to Ion, or do a bit of a hot potato with say Kenny King, to Andrews, to Ion. Whatever the case, Ion has the title as it’s officially 2013. He holds it until Sorensen comes back. Whether or not my plan or anyone else’s works isn’t the point. The idea is that Ion should be able to get a push and to use his talents well enough to warrant it. All that considered, I’ll be fine. I think I overreacted to Sorensen’s talk of trying Option C. No. Just no.

    Ion’s got some good in ring ability, has personality, and that will all work for him hopefully. At least it’s not Flip Casanova!

    • Charlie G

      I can imagine Ion having a short, transitional type reign. Possibly setting up Sonjay Dutt to have a decent reign, only to win it back just in time for Sorensen’s return. Like what Louie said on the podcast, I think Sonjay was initially supposed to win Ultimate X.

      Yeah, he’s gotta act like a dick to fans but keep his use of Sorensen very, very limited. I agree with your plan. Hot potato in this case would be okay because all the guys are talented and we’ve seen very long title reigns in TNA so far. 3 championship records have been broken this year.

      I hope Sorensen doesn’t cash in at Destination X. He should, like, realize the prestige, honor, and rich history of the X Division Championship & decide to continue its reign as one of the most prestigious titles TNA ever had or something like that…….

      God, I hate Casanova! Definition of a spot-monkey, right there.

  • MarcMattaliano

    I’m really not sure how I feel about that, a guy getting additional “heel” heat for breaking someone’s neck.

    Even if they spin it to make it look like he did it on purpose in kayfabe, a guy’s performing career almost ended as a result.  If Ion has any sense of propriety, he’ll at least feel some shred of guilt at the end of the day that his image among fans is looking stronger as a result of something like that.  Hopefully, Jesse Sorensen doesn’t mind, too.  I’d hate to hear that these guys genuinely hate each other in real life because Sorensen almost died as a result of Zema Ion.

    Crazy as it sounds, it almost reminds me of Snitsky and Kane causing Lita to miscarry Kane’s baby.  There’s really no way that Lita being impregnated by Kane was in any way real, and I’d like to think most people knew that.  So although a miscarriage is a horrible thing for any woman to go through, I’m betting that most wrestling fans were aware that it was all a game of pretend.

    Here, Sorensen actually broke his neck.  I just looked at the footage on YouTube…maybe it’s hard to say exactly who’s fault it was, but even so…

    I’m not sure I’m okay with that.

    • JacobStachowiak

      I guess you’re not supposed to. This is a disgusting tactic that I’m in love with for some horrible reason. Good can come from bad I guess. Sorensen must have approved of it to further both their careers. I don’t blame them because despite how disgusting it sounds, money can be made from Sorensen’s injury. Regardless of whether Jesse is ready for the spotlight or not, he’ll be pushed to the moon (which I have no problem with). Ion and him will have a big blow out feud (X-division standards of course) and good will indeed come from bad. As kinda sickening as it is….

      Either way, it gets Ion heat and he seems to embrace it well. Good for him.

      • MarcMattaliano

        You’re in love with it because it gets Zema Ion a response. Deep down, when it comes to how TNA does business, you’re a bloodthirsty businessman like Bischoff, who was once willing to do whatever it took to succeed. If TNA suddenly invaded WWE live events and vandalized WWE production trucks, you’d love that, too. If TNA began giving away Smackdown results on their live Thursday shows, and it got less people watching Smackdown and/or more people watching Impact, you’d love that, too.

        And good will only come from bad here if both guys succeed and no one dies. Sorensen breaks his neck again because both he and Ion botch some spot, you can bet TNA will be closing its doors because the lawsuits will be too much for them to handle. I’m not trying to be a tippy-toed little wuss like Justin Watry over on BR, who’s always playing up how important “safety” is, but if this kind of life-threatening injury came out of putting these two together, something inevitably has to give.

        • JacobStachowiak

          Jesus, you act like I want them to rip each other’s guts out and jack off into them. I’m not that fucking nuts. 

          I like WWE too ya know, (the product just blows chunks some of the time like last night). I get fucking depressed when Raw/SD pull in bad ratings. Ya wanna know why? Cause it means less people watch and the business is going down the shitter! So, don’t give me this bullshit about how I want WWE to fail. No, I don’t. I want TNA to succedd and become #1 sure. yes, its what drives me and fans. Do I want them to have a monopoly over the business? FUCK NO! They’d turn into the shittiest wrestling product ever. So, again quit with with this assuming. 

          But yeah, don’t compare me to Bischoff again. Or I’m heading to Jersey or wherever you Itailians live and I will reign down a hell storm of asswhoopery greater than anything you have ever witnessed!

          • MarcMattaliano

            What assuming? I’m sitting here saying that I think it’s pretty bogus for TNA to take a guy’s life and career coming a hair away from really ending into a reason for another guy to get heat, and you’re saying it’s disgusting but you’re okay with it in some sickening way. Maybe you’re not like Bischoff, fine, sorry…but you need to accept what being okay with that really means.

            This isn’t just one of those “ah, let ‘em perform, whatever, who gives a crap” situations. Someone almost died. Both of those guys screwed up big time, and you’re okay with them getting right back into a feud, you just said that. If it were me, I’d want to be assured that they were training and practicing that exact spot, so if they did end up in another feud, they could handle it. But you didn’t say that.

            And fine, you don’t want these companies to gut each other. But come on, I want TNA to succeed in the same way you say you like WWE. Neither one of us really shows it all that well.

          • JacobStachowiak

            Fine. but still I’m going to Jersey to kick your ass. 

          • Charlie G

            Didn’t Owen Hart get “cheap” heel heat for accidentally breaking Austin’s neck?

            He had the “Owen Hart 3:16/I Just Broke Your Neck” t-shirt and all that… Austin got back and beat Hart for the Intercontinental Championship….

          • MarcMattaliano

            Wow, pretty good! Aren’t you around 18 or something? Even I’d forgotten about that, pretty impressive, ;-)

            See, ironically…I don’t have as much problem with that instance, because back then, so much more was possible. Owen Hart hadn’t fallen from the rafters and died, for instance. Wrestling was still considered very much “real” at that point. These days, most wrestling fans know the dangers. They know that the performers in the ring are telling a story more than they’re actually competing. They know that the moves they see are fantastic, and yet still very dangerous. They know the punches and kicks are pulled, and yet, they take most of them seriously as if they weren’t.
            Back in Owen and Austin’s day, people still considered a jumping piledriver to be par for the course. Jerry Lawler’s signature move, if I’m not mistaken, was a similar form of piledriver. Yet, these days, such moves are pretty much banned because of what they can do to a victim’s body and career. Promos and matches are booked are often put together with those sensitivities in mind.

            Zema Ion did a fairly standard flip off the rope onto Sorensen on the floor. It wasn’t so much a purposeful attempt to break his neck, but it happened. So far, I haven’t seen much of him, so to hear he’s getting heel heat for such a move, again, I’m not sure how to feel about that. If he’s trying to spin it like he did it on purpose, like Owen Hart did to Austin…to me, that’s like a golfer smacking a golf ball and hitting some bystander or audience member in the forehead and sending them into a coma and claiming they did it on purpose.

            Golf isn’t exactly hitting balls randomly, but to think someone has that level of aim is more like celebrating an accident that couldn’t be planned than taking formal aim at such a small target and having serious intent.
            A piledriver is way more likely to break someone’s neck than a flip off the ropes, can we agree on that? :-)

          • Charlie G

            Yeah, I see what you mean. With a piledriver, there’s always that risk. With a flip, that risk is more rare than a piledriver but still there.

            Good example being that Golf thing you mentioned. I thought it was funny…. Golfer nailing a guy standing across the green in the face, haha

  • Ryan Frye

    I said this on Twitter the other day, and I still stand by what I said; Zema Ion isn’t at fault for breaking Jesse Sorenson’s neck. Jesse Sorenson is.

    Zema did a moonsalt from the second or third rope, and he didn’t visibly botch the move. Sorenson did. He was too close to Zema. If he moves a little farther out this doesn’t happen. Zema can’t adjust in midair or move the turnbuckle.

    So hate the guy all you want, but he really isn’t the guy to blame for Sorenson’s broken neck, and he seems like a pretty good wrestler to me.

    IMPACT is smart for doing what they’re doing with him, though. He’s getting mega-heat, especially for a X-Division wrestler.

    Good job, Charlie. I am disappointed you didn’t mention either his mother is a male order bride or his umm…. five minutes with a prostitute in a foreign country. 

    The worthless knowledge Art of Wrestling gives you at it’s finest, in case you’re wondering how I know this.   

    • Jack S.

      Actually Sorenson was too far away from Ion, If Sorenson was closer Ion would have landed on him with his belly not his legs. And it is Ions fault for not judging how far away Sorenson was?

      • Ryan Frye

        Wait a minute… Yeah, he was too far away, my mistake. Still yet, it’s Sorenson’s fault. He should judge if he’s the right distance away. 

        • Charlie G

          Sorensen should’ve judged the distance because Ion had his back turned and was, basically, in mid-move at the time.

    • Charlie G

      Oh yeah. I’m not trying to say Sorensen’s broken neck was 100% Ion’s fault. I mean, Ion did look like he could’ve gotten a better jump off the turnbuckle, but Sorensen was also pretty far from Ion during the spot.

      I think Sorensen could’ve actually been closer. I mean, he took a knee to the head from the move when, typically, Ion’s ribcage usually lands on the guy’s shoulder.

      He’s gotten massive heat from it. Thanks, Ryan. I wasn’t sure how his mom being a male order bride really garners him further heat, though haha. I saw an interview he did the day of Destination X and he really admires his mom for being one.