TNA Impact Wrestling is embarking on a big week in celebration of its 13th year in operation.
The festivities kick off with a live edition of Impact Wrestling: Full Metal Mayhem 9 p.m. EST Wednesday, on Destination America. Then it is Slammiversary featuring the return of the King of the Mountain match 8 p.m. EST Sunday, June 28 from Universal Studios Orlando.
The icing on the anniversary cake is when TNA world champion Kurt Angle defends the gold against Ethan Carter III during a special Bell to Bell edition of Impact Wrestling 9 p.m. EST Wednesday, July 1 on Destination America.
Angle is an Olympic gold medalist and a well-regarded veteran of the industry. EC3 is an emerging star who has taken down legends and icons, including the champ himself, on his undefeated path to the gold. The two combatants spent time answering questions from media from around the world heading into the historic few days coming up. Hearing their answers, one would ascertain they have a mutual respect for one another, as well as a passion for the company they work for.
For Angle, it’s about being loyal and appreciative for TNA. This played a role in why he decided to resign with the organization. He says he doesn’t plan on lacing up the boots at least for another two years. Angle is a TNA Hall of Famer, but is someone who can still go with the best of them.
“I had a tremendous career in WWE,” he said. “I’ve had an even better career in TNA and really believe it has a lot to do with the talent that I’ve gotten to wrestle. AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Sting, Jeff Jarrett, Bobby Roode, Bobby Lashley. These are great athletes that I probably wouldn’t have gotten to wrestle, if I would have stayed in WWE. My experience in my seventh year wrestling, when I started in TNA, was when the light bulb went off in my head.
“I just had better matches. I just had a better career. That’s hard for me to say because I had a pretty damn good career in WWE. I just felt like I meshed better with the talent in TNA. I just felt they had tremendous talent since I’ve been there. They continue to groom talent, even with the likes of EC3, who I consider one of the best wrestlers today. He is undefeated. He showed he can hang with the big boys. I feel like someday he will be the champion. I just don’t feel it will be any time soon.”
EC3 agreed with everything the champ said, aside from that last part. The onscreen nephew of TNA president Dixie Carter also came from WWE, but his stint with the company stopped before it really started. From the moment he made his debut at Bound for Glory almost two years ago, EC3 has been motivated to make a proverbial impact in TNA. He has succeeded thus far.
“If you watched last week of Impact and heard the litany of names I mentioned Kurt Angle has defeated, stemming from WWE and Impact. He is the best wrestler ever,” he said. “His resume speaks for that. Whether it was in WWE in TNA, he has improved with time. As for myself, I think the big difference is one place didn’t give me an opportunity as much and another place is letting me run with the ball. You’re seeing the result of that now.”
Angle is happy to work with EC3. It’s someone he says talked up to creative last year as someone the company can build around. The one thing about this match is it wasn’t just thrown together, but has a story to it. Angle was taken out by EC3 on television last year. This is Angle’s chance at revenge and the challenger’s night to prove EC3 is everything he says he is.
“I think it has been built tremendously well,” Angle said. “I never expected when I came back from knees surgery to win the title so suddenly. Watching EC3 go through the talent and knocking every person down and defeating them. I knew he would eventually be the guy to beat, for me to beat. I did have the match with him before. I had a knee injury at the time, and EC3 did the right thing and took advantage of it. Now I’m 100 percent healthy. I think if this match occurred sooner, I don’t think it would be the right time. If it was any later, I don’t’ think it would be the right time. I really believe Ethan and I could have match of the year. We are going to put on a great performance and see who the best man is July 1 at bell to bell.”
EC3’s campaign for a championship match has been gaining momentum since the first quarter of 2015. Will the pro wrestling politician follow through on his promises?
“I think it’s a rare occurrence in this industry to have the ability to have something magically build and progress over enough time where people really are invested in it. A lot of times people are thrown things in the wind quickly, whether to pop a number or buy rate. Gone is the days storylines progress to an apex that fits it. I’m pretty fortunate and excited to be in this moment with Kurt as world heavyweight champion.
“We did wrestle prior, and I did take out his knee. I will tell you what, but I’m going to eat a little humble pie here. Kurt Angle kicked my a—that entire match. I’m lucky to have escaped with a victory -- if it wasn’t for his knee tearing in the middle of the match. That was a year ago. I’m a year better, year stronger, year wiser, year more handsome. I’m ready for this moment that has built and will culminate at Bell To Bell.”
- Visit www.ImpactWrestling.com for full details on everything TNA.
- Follow EC3 on Twitter @EthanCarterTNA.
- Follow Kurt Angle on Twitter @RealKurtAngle.
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- TNA in Orlando
TNA Impact Wrestling returns to Universal Studios Orlando for the Slammiversary pay-per-view and free TV tapings in June.
TNA wrestlers like @fightbobby, @RobbieEImpact, @TheEricYoung, @AustinAries, @TherealAbyss, @KennyKingPb2, @MandrewsTNA, @BramTNA, @RealKurtAngle and @The305MVP and TNA Knockouts like @TheTarynTerrell, @gailkimITSME, @RealBrookeAdams and @MRayneTNA and some special guests will be in Orlando June 24-28 for an action-packed, five-day event filmed at Universal Studios Orlando Soundstage 20.
The Slammiversary pay-per-view, celebrating the 13th anniversary of TNA Wrestling, wraps up the five-day outing.
TNA at Universal Studios Orlando
7 p.m. Wednesday, June 24 (live taped TNA Impact Wrestling)
7 p.m. Thursday, June 25
7 p.m. Friday, June 26
7 p.m. Saturday, June 27
8 p.m. Sunday, June 28 (Slammiversary PPV)
- TNA Impact Wrestling is 9 p.m. EST Wednesdays on Destination America.
- Visit http://www.impactwrestling.com/
- Pro Wrestling On the Web