Missed Opportunities: EC3
It’s impossible to count the amount of times a company like WWE has dropped the ball as it pertains to various storylines, defining moments, and specific characters. Understandably, there are so many different possibilities and avenues to explore that it can even become difficult to blame a company or promotion like WWE for missing out on an excellent opportunity. However some of these mistakes and lost possibilities are so alarming or perfect that they actually require the voices of us, the fans, to speak our opinions and air our grievances whenever and wherever possible. What follows is Jerk The Curtain’s first installment of Missed Opportunities.
For this first post, we’ll be looking at the nephew of TNA President Dixie Carter, Ethan Carter III (often referred to simply as EC3). Since arriving in TNA, EC3 has made a giant impact, quickly cementing himself as not only one of the most entertaining performers in the company but also one of the biggest focal points of Impact Wrestling. Ethan Carter III has remained undefeated by pinfall or submission in TNA since his debut back in October of 2013. Although he is currently signed to TNA, EC3 also had a not so memorable run in the WWE as Derrick Bateman.
While he was signed to WWE as Derrick Bateman, he first performed in their developmental territories Ohio Valley Wrestling (from 2007-2008) and Florida Championship Wrestling (from 2009-2012) before eventually being announced for season four of NXT. Just to clarify, at that time NXT was not even remotely close to what it is today. From 2010 to 2012, NXT was actually a show that was similar to the format of Tough Enough. It saw various individuals from WWE’s developmental territory (known as rookies) each teamed up with a member of the WWE’s main roster (known as pros) and had them compete for a spot on the main roster. The fourth season of NXT saw Bateman paired with Daniel Bryan. Bateman would end up being one of the final three but was ultimately eliminated.
Bateman would return to WWE programming midway through the fifth season of NXT entitled NXT Redemption. On the show, he would again have Daniel Bryan as his pro but would eventually sever the relationship due to his behavior. Bateman would go on to have a few forgettable feuds with Titus O’Neil and with Johnny Curtis (who later became Fandango) before he was released in May of 2013.
EC3 would make his TNA debut on Octber 20th, 2013, at Bound For Glory by defeating a jobber named Norv Fernum. Four days later, during his first appearance on Impact, he would defeat another jobber named Dewey Barnes. This trend of squash matches with enhancement talent would continue until the November 21st edition of Impact where he’d emerge victorious against Shark Boy. EC3 would grow more and more arrogant as he picked up these inevitable victories. Then on the January 2nd, 2014, Impact Wrestling Genesis episode he faced his greatest opposition to date in facing Sting. Fortunately for EC3, he would end up winning the match thanks to the help of his allies Rockstar Spud and Magnus (who was the guest referee for the contest). From here, Ethan Carter III would go after another TNA Legend in the Olympic Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle. Carter went to great lengths to injure Angle, attacking him on multiple occasions including at Angle’s TNA Hall of Fame ceremony. The two were booked for a match at Lockdown that year but Angle was actually pulled due to injuries sustained during the attack. Although angle would return in May, he would lose his match against EC3 after re-injuring his knee.
Following his feud with Angle, EC3 found himself embroiled in a feud with Bully Ray, constantly trying at all costs to thwart Bully Ray’s mission to put his aunt Dixie Carter through a table. The two ended up fighting in a Texas Death Match at Slammiversary which EC3 ultimately won with the help of Rockstar Spud and Dixie Carter. He found himself hiring Rhino as an insurance policy to ensure Bully Ray would never putt Dixie through a table and ended up blaming him after Bully Ray succeeded. ECW would fight Rhino the next week and get himself disqualified by repeatedly attacking him with a steel chair.
After weeks of tension between the two, Rockstar Spud slapped EC3. This resulted in Carter subsequently firing Spud from his position as Chief of Staff and the the two parting ways. This would also lead to EC3 revealing his new bodyguard, Tyrus (formerly known as Brodus Clay in WWE). Dixe Carter announced that Ethan Carter III had resigned with TNA on December 31st, 2014.
The WWE is a well oiled machine, they are constantly bringing in tons of new talented performers, using those that work for them, and cutting those that don’t. In the case of EC3, the WWE really missed out on developing and utilizing a very underrated performer. There’s always the possibility that he was restricted by the Derrick Bateman gimmick, the original NXT brand, or the creative team, but regardless, EC3 has truly found himself in TNA. He’s established himself as one of the most entertaining stars in the entire company and his high profile matches and innate ability to interact with the crowd only serve as a testament to his hard work and ability to take advantage of being given an opportunity to shine. At the end of the day, EC3’s success is ultimately the WWE’s loss and their missed opportunity.