DJZ spoke about his comeback from two major injuries in 2017, and said he started the year slowly, but soon returned to form:
Well, 2017 is when I had my near-death experience with my injury and I bounced back from that. I ended 2017 getting injured again, rupturing four discs in my neck, so I actually started 2018 injured once again. I came back in February, and obviously you come back from injuries and you’re not going to have total confidence—you’re not going to be wrestling at your highest level when you come back from injury—it takes time.
It was a slow start in the beginning, but as we got around to the summer and fall the confidence came back, the quality of my work came back. Here we are ending the year on a high note, having some great matches and I’m feeling good.
When I look back on the year I had and some of these matches, I think that might be the biggest one that I had. I put the most pressure on myself for that match; the way I viewed it is I’m wrestling arguably the greatest Cruiserweight wrestler in WWE. He’s one of their top guys, he’s on Smackdown doing big things, so to wrestle him it was important to me to look as if I was on the same level. I didn’t want to look a step behind him, a step below him, and I think if you watch the match it looks like we’re definitely on the same level. I proved I can hang with [WWE’s] top cruiserweight.
It’s nice to be able to have that to show people. I can hang with the best wrestlers in the world; I proved it that night, and I can prove it every night, whoever my opponent may be.
Now that he’s officially a free agent, DJZ spoke about his goals moving forward, noting the timing is interesting with everything going on in the world of professional wrestling:
The timing is interesting. I have not been a free agent in seven years; I’ve been under contract with IMPACT since 2011. This will be the first time in seven years that I’m a free agent, and it’s a good time to be independent because there are more opportunities than ever. When I signed with IMPACT in 2011, your options were pretty [limited]. Now here I am as a free agent and there’s WWE, IMPACT, Ring Of Honor, New Japan…there’s other stuff that hasn’t even happened yet! There’s more options than ever, so it’s a great time to be a free agent.
What’s exciting is sure, I have these goals—I want to be signed to a contract with another wrestling company, I hope that will happen in 2019—but in the meantime, while all these other top independent stars are getting signed, that’s opening spots on the independent scene for people like me to rise to the occasion. I look at it right now as 2019 entering the top of the independents. In my opinion—and I think most people would agree—I’m one of the top guys on the independent scene, I’m in that conversation anyway. It’s a good spot to be in as we enter the new year.