Born and raised in Ohio, Ethan Carter III is a standout pro wrestler, whose father has a best burger in Cleveland.
The Miz also hails from Ohio...and has made quite a mark in the pro wrestling field...and his dad has a best sub in the region.
Wrestlers. Sandwiches. Ohio.
Must be something in the water. #OhioRiver
Never miss a local story.
Ohio, especially Cleveland, is home to more pro wrestling talent: i.e. Abyss, Dean Ambrose, Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke, Johnny Gargano, Chris Hero, Madison Rayne, Dolph Ziggler and even the pride of Lima...Zachary Wentz...oh, and Al Snow.
“Cleveland has sprouted off some pretty good talent,” EC3 noted. “Al Snow’s from Lima, so that doesn’t count for Cleveland.”
EC3 continued: “Gargano, Ziggler, Miz, myself, and a few others I’m probably leaving out, we’ve all had different paths to wrestling success. Miz came from MTV, and he always loved wrestling. Ziggler was an accomplished amateur and loved wrestling. Gargano was a guy from the independents who caught fire at the right time and was in the right place at the right time in NXT.
“Myself, I was on the indie scene. My goal was never to be an indie standout. My goal was always to be signed by a television wrestling company. So I went a different route, paying my way to go to OVW and finding myself at an FCW tryout. A lot of different avenues. A lot of different talents. All success, and one thing in common. Cleveland, and that’s pretty cool.”
What’s also cool to them is their Cleveland Cavaliers playing in the NBA Finals three consecutive seasons (winning it all in the 2015-16 campaign) and the Cleveland Indians making it to the MLB World Series last season.
This interview was conducted during the NBA Finals (Cavaliers/Warriors series).
“Obviously, Cleveland is in my heart, my soul, in my bones, in brain, but this Warriors team looks too damn good,” EC3 said. “You stack the deck. You make a super team. You’re going to get a super result. The NBA needs a little bit of parody, and that’s coming from a Cleveland fan, who has a Big Three...Cavs in six.”
Golden State won in five, but there’s always next year...and last year.
“I was definitely a huge Cleveland sports fan growing up and still am,” EC3 said. “Some of my greatest memories and some of my worst memories are tied to Cleveland sports. More so the worst, but in the case of the Cavs winning the finals last year, that was great. It was a very euphoric feeling, and rarely do I get emotional over the accomplishment of somebody else who I don’t know, but Cleveland winning that, it was a raucous time. It was an emotional outburst. City streets were lined with people. For the first time that I’ve ever seen in Cleveland, everyone was happy. It was such a jovial atmosphere. Everybody was bonding together in fun, in euphoria, in relief and happiness, and it was pretty cool.”
EC3 grew up a fan of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, and his favorite players were Sandy Alomar Jr., Jim Thome and Albert Belle.
Albert Belle? Hence, the heel tendencies of EC3.
“My personal favorite was Albert Belle,” EC3 noted. “I liked Albert Belle a lot, because he was not only the meanest slugger in the game, but he was also just a standoff, di*^ish man, and I couldn’t help but appreciate the level of a**h#^%idity he brought to it. Sometimes sports, sports entertainment, need people like that, because, well, be yourself. Why not.”
As for the Cavaliers, EC3’s favs were Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Mark Price.
“Those guys just couldn’t get past Jordan, which was a shame,” EC3 said. “As for the Browns, a big Bernie Kosar fan.”
Kosar, a quarterback, starred collegiately at The U.
Speaking of Miami, in 1997, the Marlins beat the Indians in seven games to win the MLB World Series. In the deciding game, Indians reliever Jose Mesa blew the save as the Marlins tied the game in the bottom of the ninth inning and then won in extra innings.
“You got to bring that up,” EC3 said. “The Marlins are in the league four years, and they’re winning a World Series, while Cleveland has been suffering for years to win a title. Stupid Jose Mesa to come in and couldn’t close the deal. Yea, bring that up. I love talking about that.
“I watched my father, who I’ve never seen upset or depressed, watch that game. He’s the biggest Indians fan I know. I remember that game happening, and I was young enough where it sucked, but it wasn’t like earth shattering, low blow, death blow to me, but my dad, I saw his face sink. He never said a word. He just disappeared into his room. He eventually came out. Just heartbroken. Yea, so, I’m glad you guys enjoyed that World Series that you probably didn’t even care about.”
Better days ahead for sure for EC3, his father and the city of Cleveland.
“I’m very fortunate to have my dad in my life. He raised me right,” EC3 said. “You would expect him to be some sort of rich, influential stockbroker, perhaps, or some sort of yuppy snob, but, in fact, he’s a blue collar guy. He worked hard and saved enough money to open up his own business.”
EC3’s dad, Michael, is an owner of Kirtland City Tavern in Northeast Ohio.
EC3 said: “When I go to the Kirtland City Tavern in Cleveland, Ohio, EC3 prepares a perfectly portioned amount of beef with no bun, throw some bacon on there, blue cheese crumbled and a nice side order of double broccoli.”
That sounds good.
Even better, Kirtland City Tavern has twice won best burger in Cleveland for “The KCT Burger,” an All-American cheese burger.
Popular spots. Who hasn’t been to Kirtland City Tavern or Mr. Hero?
Miz’s dad, George, operates Mr. Hero sub shop with several locations throughout Ohio.
“I’ve been to plenty of Mr. Hero’s, but I don’t believe I’ve been to Mr. Mizanin’s Mr. Hero,” EC3 said. “From what I’ve heard, the scuttlebutt on the street, the Roman Burger there, top notch.”
EC3 is top notch, too, making a huge name for himself with Impact Wrestling. The 34-year-old spent several years with WWE developmental from Ohio Valley Wrestling to Florida Championship Wrestling and then NXT. He was mentored on WWE TV by Daniel Bryan.
EC3 debuted on the indies in 2002 in Cleveland. He signed with WWE in 2007, assigned to Ohio Valley Wrestling in Louisville, Ky. That continued in 2009 with Florida Championship Wrestling in Tampa where he became Derrick Bateman and then NXT from 2010 until 2013.
Several months after being released from WWE, he joined TNA Impact Wrestling. It didn’t take long for him to make an impact, competing against the best in the company. He is a two-time TNA World Champion, beating Kurt Angle on July 1, 2015 on Impact Wrestling and Matt Hardy on Jan. 5, 2016 on the first episode of Impact Wrestling on Pop TV.
“For so long in the industry, it hadn’t paid off, but I stuck with it,” EC3 said. “One thing Dr. Tom [Prichard] told me, ‘You never take yourself out of the game.’
Prichard, a veteran wrestling talent, was one of the top trainers at FCW in Tampa.
EC3 continued: “There definitely been times I’ve been injured. Knees torn up, back busted, fired. I’ve been through some business hell to get where I am. So to look back at some of the things I have accomplished. I think going through the bad stuff has desensitized me to a point where I can appreciate what I have done and have accomplished, but it still leaves me wanting a lot more. Through that hunger and that angst is the only way to continue to evolve and be better.
“It’s like [actor] Tim Robbins in ‘[The] Shawshank [Redemption],’ you got to climb through a mile of #^+* to see the other side, and I’ve climbed through some #^+*, and I’ll probably climb through some more, but at the end of the day, accomplishing what I want will make it all worth it.”
Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary XV, celebrating the 15th anniversary of the company, is Sunday, July 2 on pay-per-view from Universal Studios Orlando.
“Fifteen years, whether it was TNA or now Impact Wrestling, it’s been around 15 years,” EC3 said. “There have been some good times, and there have been some bad times, but the one thing I can be appreciative for and be thankful for is that it gave me an opportunity to hone my craft and become one of the top professional wrestlers in the world.”
Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine ranked him No.20 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2016.
EC3 will battle another standout wrestler Cowboy James Storm in a strap match at Slammiversary XV.
“At Slammiversary, you will see myself, EC3, one of the top wrestlers in the world, the best guy here, the best guy there, the best guy anywhere, take on James Storm in a strap match.
“Everything I’ve done to him has never been personal. It’s been solely because I needed to lash out...and truly show who I am. It’s unfortunate for him that he has been sort of the canvas that I am painting my masterpiece on, but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and for those tuning into Slammiversary, I’m not going to tell you that it’s going to be a great match or an epic contest. It’s going to be an ass kicking. It’s going to be a drubbing. It’s going to be brutal. He’s going to be broken, beaten and nothing more than an old beer truck by the time I am done with him. Then, I will move on, move forward, where I belong, and he will be left in the refuse and dust of the past, where he belongs.”
5 More Minutes
Impact Wrestling is currently under the Anthem Sports & Entertainment banner. EC3 has been with the company since the Dixie Carter days, the Billy Corgan era and now the return of the originator Jeff Jarrett.
EC3 said: “With new management, I’m confident in who I am and what I do and how I do it and how I get it done, and if you give me the direction to go, that’s all you need to do, because I’ll take it from there and knock it out of the park as much as I can.
“Sometimes there will be mis-steps. Sometimes there will be failures, but that’s the only way you learn. With the new management, it hasn’t always been perfect, but I’ve learned from a couple of mistakes, and I’m fully confident in what I’m doing and who I’m doing it to and where I’m going, and I think they know they’ve got a stud on their hands. So I’m not too worried about that.”
When the company is going through changes or issues or questions, how do you stay motivated, not get too down and just keep going?
“You have to look at it from the fact that you have no control over that aspect of the business,” he said. “The motivation comes from within yourself to motivate yourself to be the very best person you can be, be the very best wrestler you can be, be the very best at whatever you try to do.”
EC3 played baseball, basketball and football growing up in Willoughby, Ohio.
“In high school [South High School] I became obsessed with [pro] wrestling, and here I am now,” he said.
“I was a fan through my youth, but I wasn’t the biggest fan. In high school, it all came together, because some of my other friends were really into it, and I really fell into the characters who were on TV. I liked it, and then I started to love it...I became obsessed with it...I was catching up and trading tapes and really getting into it.
“I kind of kept it a secret, because I was kind of the cool kid in high school, too, so I had to keep those friends in line. I had a dual personality in high school -- one was the cool athlete, funny dude, and the other was the borderline weirdo wrestling fan.”
EC3 played baseball and football in high school.
“Our high school wasn’t a sports’ powerhouse, and I wasn’t super motivated to play,” he said. “I regret that, looking back, because I was fairly decent, but I wasn’t very motivated in high school, unfortunately.”
After graduating South High School, EC3 was more concerned in finding a pro wrestling school than a college.
“I stayed close to home for college, and somebody opened a wrestling school close to me, and that’s how I got my start.”
EC3 plans to obtain a college degree.
“Any young wrestler who asks me for advice of what to do, I say, ‘Have a back-up plan,’” he said. “That’s not necessarily going to a four-year institute, because of the student loan debt, but you still need something else to do, because the opportunity to make money out of [pro wrestling] isn’t guaranteed, and it’s few and far between.”
EC3’s grandfather served in the U.S. Navy and played a role in the famous D-Day invasion, which was June 6, 1944 during World War II.
EC3 recalled: “He was peppering the beach with artillery to prepare those great men to storm the beach.”
D-Day was the Alliedinvasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.
Being from Ohio, near Cleveland, and a Cleveland Indians fan, EC3 loves the 1989 sports comedy classic movie “Major League.”
“I lived ‘Major League’ every day of my life,” EC3 said. “I continually quote it. I watch it every opening day. Not only is it one of the greatest comedies of all time, it’s one of the greatest movies of all time, and it’s probably one of the greatest sports stories ever told.”
It’s a comedy about the Cleveland Indians, starring Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, Wesley Snipes, Rene Russo, Bob Uecker and Charlie Sheen.
- Slammiversary XV Card
7:30 p.m. EST Sunday, July 2
At the Impact Zone at Universal Studios Orlando
Available on pay-per-view and FITE TV
AAA stars El Hijo del Fantasma and Drago vs. NOAH stars Naomichi Marufuji and Taiji Ishimori vs. CRASH stars Garza Jr. and Laredo Kid vs. Impact Wrestling tag champs Latin American Xchange (LAX) in a four-way tag for the titles
- Slammiversary XV, Impact Wrestling in Orlando
Impact Wrestling will be at Universal Studios Orlando in July.
Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary XV is live on pay-per-view at 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday, July 2 from Universal Studios Orlando. Then, Impact Wrestling TV tapings are July 3-6 also at Universal Studios Orlando.
See Lashley, Alberto El Patron, Cody, Rosemary, EC3, The Blue Print Matt Morgan, Cowboy James Storm, Scott Steiner, Madison Rayne, Moose, Bram, Trevor Lee, Allie, Robbie E, Jessie Godderz, Ava Storie, Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards, Brandi Rhodes, Rockstar Spud, Abyss, ODB, and LAX with Miami’s Diamante and Konnan and more.
Admission to the shows at Universal Studios is free.
Special VIP Experience and Travel Packages, which include fan interaction, available.
For more info on the VIP Experience and Travel Packages, click HERE.
- Impact Wrestling on Pop
Impact Wrestling, under the Anthem Sports & Entertainment banner, is 8 p.m. ET Thursdays on Pop TV.
It is also available on GameTV in Canada and Fight Network.
- Pro Wrestling On The Web
YouTube jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)