Within a matter of months, Ethan Carter III emerged as one of TNA Impact Wrestling’s brightest young stars.
The student of the game was tested against legends like Sting, Kurt Angle and Bully Ray, passing with flying colors. EC3 believes morale is high coming off some of the best TV the company has created in some time.
“It’s pro wrestling, so there are always change being made,” Carter said to promote Impact’s recent move to 9 p.m. EST Wednesdays on Spike TV.
“It’s hard to focus on other people when you have so much to worry about yourself. I know right now we have a solid locker room comprised of some young faces and seasoned veterans giving it a 110 percent.”
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Despite the positive steps TNA has taken, there are still detractors out there who voice their opinions online. The onscreen nephew of the promotion’s president, Dixie Carter, isn’t fazed by the negativity in cyberspace.
“From the standpoint that people who claim to love something so much would have such angst towards it sometimes, that’s what I don’t understand,” he said. “They don’t enjoy it so much. That’s what bothers me. The talent or people in production or creative or even people who set up the ring, they put so much effort into putting on shows for entertainment, and there are people who have such unnecessary hatred for it online. I feel like that’s a vocal minority. The fans that come out and came to New York City were excited for what we’ve been doing. We can’t think about the negatives, but think about the positives. The positives are we were out there killing it.”
Carter has never been short on confidence, a trait needed to succeed in such a competitive business. After spending years in WWE’s developmental system the talent was let go in 2013. By the final quarter of the year, he not only found himself on the TNA roster, but in a prominent role right out of the gates. He made his big debut at Bound for Glory, the promotion’s biggest event of the year.
“It’s interesting to be closely affiliated with your boss,” Carter said. “It’s really great because she is really open to ideas and suggestions. She actually asks for input sometimes. She asks where we think our characters are going. She takes it all in, so it was a lot of fun with her. Plus if you’re doing a good job next to the boss, that doesn’t hurt either.”
Along with his sidekick Rockstar Spud, the Carter family became an onscreen force on television. EC3 believes the collaborative effort exuded good chemistry. The trio was the unit fans loved to hate.
“I will give Dixie Carter all the credit in the world for being able to cut a promo in front of such a vile, screaming audience where you can’t be able to hear yourself think,” Carter said. “To be able to go out there and say her piece with a smile on her face, I think she did awesome…You can tell later on she was having a lot of fun doing it and enjoying it. When TV is good it’s because everyone making the TV is having fun. I think she really sunk into that role, in New York City specifically and didn’t mind being the villain.”
A few weeks ago the longstanding rivalry between Bully Ray and the Carter family reached its climax. The Manhattan Center came alive with TNA chants as Ray powerbombed his boss through a table from the top rope. EC3 saw it as a turning point.
“I can give her all the accolades in the world to her for being able to tell this story and have a conclusion,” Carter said. “It’s a story that had a beginning, middle and end with peaks and valleys and a pay off that is very memorable. To take that risk and be a martyr for your cause and your company, it’s speaks volumes for the person. She broke her back, for real. I think for me, I will be going forward on my own, perhaps with Spud. As far as her as an onscreen character, I think it’s a good time to take that away and give it time to breathe. Then when it means the most, you bring her back when necessary.”
Carter’s work with Spud was among the most entertaining parts of the show. The Ohio native remembers watching the colorful European on television before they became a team.
“As a pro wrestler watching TV I thought, ‘Man, I hate that guy,’” Carter said. “I’m not looking at it as a character, but there was something about that guy I hate. Then I met him the first time and he was already fully in-tuned to this chief of staff character to Dixie Carter. He had this ridiculous suit on. With the way he walked and talked, he was the living embodiment of creativity. This person was a complete asset.
“I think immediately after talking back-and-forth we knew we had something special. We both have kind of similar thoughts on wrestling. We both know our parts. We both have the same goal of being as successful as possible. He has the same goal as I do of becoming world champion. There are different ways for it to happen, but I fully believe he can do it because I know how driven and dedicated he is. He knows his character, and takes advantage of that no matter how small, medium or big. He is out there stealing scenes. He eats it up.”
Carter bonded with Spud after the cameras have stopped rolling.
“He would annoy people in real life and in public,” Carter said. “I would stick up for him because although he annoys me, he is my brother and not yours. So I would fight for him and then punch him in the face too. He is a great friend. Traveling and getting to know him, he’s loyal and dedicated.”
EC3 took the ball and ran with it. He knew he would do whatever it took to have his persona resonate with the audience. With his designer duds and arrogant mannerisms and impressive physique, the physically gifted athlete has an innate star quality about him.
“When this was presented to me, I instantly clicked with it,” Carter said. “Not only can I do this character the way you see it, but I can take this character and create my own extension of it and ride it to the top.”
Carter’s main event caliber opponents so far read like a pro wrestling hall of fame wing. He believes working with Ray helped fans see a different side of him.
“The match we had a Slammiversary I took some hellacious punishment and showed not only the world that I can do it, but also the guy in the ring,” he said. “It was one of my favorite matches. I think it really set me up to earn the respect from him and wrestling-related people.”
He also speaks highly of Sting, who has begun working on WWE projects.
“I think it’s long overdue,” Carter said. “I wish the best to him. I hope he gets a send-off worthy of the legendary status he has deservedly received. It was awesome to be able to work with him. I learned so much from being in the ring with him, just in segments we are verbally sparring. Being in there with him, I got a sense of what being a superstar is as far as a reaction when he came out. He came out, and you can almost feel this icon is ingrained in a fan’s subconscious.”
Carter understands how people can attribute his drive in TNA partially stemming from the way his WWE run came to a close. He never got the chance to reach his full potential there. At the same time he says he has been completely driven with a desire and passion for his profession since day one.
“The things I had to go through and adverse situations I had to overcome that have gone under the radar,” he said. “My motivation is to be the absolute best with the opportunities I’ve been given. Don’t kick yourself out of the game because your opportunity will come. It came for me in TNA. Sometimes you don’t know where it’s going to come from, but everything I did prior to that was a lesson. I learned so much, both in the ring and behind the scenes in WWE. It helped get me where I am today.”
Carter is making moves in his career, and TNA is making changes of its own. He is looking forward to the future.
“For my personal benefit, I think TNA on Wednesdays is great because there is nothing on to watch on Wednesday nights. Thursday has the NFL coming back. NBA always has big games on Thursdays and those kind of hit us a bit, so why not take the risk of moving to Wednesday nights. Plus the risks we have taken the last few months have paid off. The numbers have shown it. As a company, I think we are in a 100 percent great place and keep moving forward.”
Follow Ethan Carter III on Twitter @EthanCarterTNA
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