Throughout the course of the scripted professional wrestling history books there are always superstars/wrestlers coming onto television trying to make a name for themselves. We sit back as wrestling fans and await the next debut of some person. Having someone or a tag team debut it always an interesting and cool experience. The majority of the wrestling fans never seen this person or tag team before. They closely watch the television to see what this new person has to offer. As days, weeks, and months go by we see the growth and development of this person or tag team. Once the person wins a championship it gives us a great feeling. Deep down inside, we understand that we watched this person grow from a no name to someone who actually means something on the show. It is just like when we watch our kid finally walk or ride a bike or graduate high school. It’s that feeling of satisfaction and sticking through it all to see the reward.
The latest new star in TNA Wrestling is Ethan Carter III, or EC3. His real name is Michael Hunter and is 30 years old. Before signing with TNA Wrestling, he had a WWE developmental contract. He signed with WWE in 2006 where he wrestled on an episode of Heat. He also appeared on an episode of Raw. He is most known for his time on NXT. He wrestled under the name Derrick Bateman. He was in the fourth and fifth season of the show. However, WWE released him in 2013. It is obvious what happened after that. TNA Wrestling knew about the releasing and signed Michael. Then came the hype videos.
Videos started airing on Impact Wrestling revealing a character named Ethan. As weeks went on, we seen the back of the head of Ethan to his full name being revealed – Ethan Carter III. He made his TNA Wrestling debut at Bound for Glory in a controversial fashion. He defeated a jobber named Norv Fernum. Many quickly attacked the match for multiple reasons. One, it was at TNA’s biggest pay-per-view of the year. This new guy came onto the show and wrestled a nobody. How can he get a spot while Kenny King, who won the X-Division Championship earlier this year and became a huge threat in the division, was not in one single segment on the PPV? Others criticized the match because it was not a quick job. Norv showcased some of his moves and actually gave Ethan a challenge. In other words, Ethan didn’t look like a huge threat in his first match. Either way, people digress.
Ethan Carter III appeared on the episode after Impact Wrestling where he defeated another jobber named Dewey Barnes. It had the same feel and the same result. Dewey gave Ethan a little run for his money but the end result was Ethan getting the pin. Ethan went on to have several more matches since then with the same people. It became apparent what TNA wanted to do with him.
People wrote to me ever since Ethan Carter III made his debut and they said they think Ethan is “boring”. People also stated that Ethan is not getting a great reaction. Before you send me another complaint about how Ethan is doing, let me give you a little insight on what TNA is trying to accomplish.
Let me make it clear that I see two things TNA is trying to accomplish with Ethan Carter III. One thing they are trying to accomplish, and I think it is coming across well on television, is having him be the spoiled nephew of Dixie Carter. We seen Dixie in several videos from their #Impact365 initiative to videos on Impact wrestling where she gives her thoughts on Ethan’s career so far. Not only is she playing up the whole “tough competition” situation, but she also is making these matches for Ethan. Saying Ethan hasn’t had any competition yet is what they want you to say. They are playing to you. They want you to hate on Ethan.
The other thing they are trying to accomplish is the classic superstar build. I find it really funny when people write to me saying, “This has been done before.” Yes, people actually write that to me. The fact of the matter is, everything you see right now in the wrestling business has been done before (except for some examples which I will pinpoint in another article sometime soon). Anyway, saying building a character like this has been done before shows the lack of knowledge people have for this business. This, Ethan Carter III’s push, is what every new talent should go through. Personally, the best way to grow and develop a new star and to give the newbie match time. Feed them stars and slowly push him. First give the person a little string bean jobber. Let them fight for several minutes and then have the new talent win. Keep that going for several weeks and then give the person a little better name. This is where Shark Boy came in. After Ethan fought Dewey and Norv for several weeks, he finally fought a different talent. Shark Boy was never TNA World Champion. In fact, he is a gimmick type character for comedic relief. They fed him to Ethan. Ethan continues to grow and develop. The main key is that they are doing it…. SLOWLY!
There are some very classic examples to bring up when you want to talk about building talent. The first example is Goldberg. When he debuted in WCW, he faced Hugh Morrus, or otherwise known as Bill DeMott. Bill is a veteran in the business, but he was never WCW World Champion. It was a nice start for Goldberg considering how fast they pushed him. While they pushed him quickly, the main focus around his push was his matches. He continued to win and win. He was undefeated when he challenged for the WCW World Championship. He then continued until he lost. However, he racked up 173 victories before his loss. The same thing can be said about Samoa Joe in TNA Wrestling. Samoa Joe had an 18 month undefeated streak where he never lost a match via pinfall or submission. Samoa Joe became one of the biggest threats in company history with the amazing catch phrase, “Joe is gonna kill you!” However, not all pushes are so wonderful. The classic example is Ryback in WWE.
The Ryback character made the debut on WWE television on April 6th, 2012. He wrestled a little jobber named Danny Lerman. After that quick victory, he continued to wrestle jobbers in single matches and then handicap matches. Ryback continued on the role of victories as he defeated Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks. He went on and beat the Intercontinental Champion The Miz in a non-title match in September. However, the push didn’t stop there. He went right to the top of the ladder and went after CM Punk, the WWE Champion, at the time. He had a feud with Punk but lost every single title match he was in. He was then taken out by The Shield on multiple occasions. That didn’t stop WWE though. They kept him at the top while racking up the losses. The thought of debuting a character in April and then making the character confront the biggest champion in the company in September is too good to be true. When a new star comes into the television scene, they sure don’t want to be labeled as, “The next Ryback.”
Ethan Carter III continues his rise of success. He debuted at Bound for Glory in a match lasting several minutes. He continues to be undefeated to this day. He is given time on Impact Wrestling each week with a match and a short promo. As the growth and development continues, the reaction of the heel character from the fans continues to grow as well. Wrestling fans, and wrestling companies, need to learn patience. Everyone wants a quick turnaround. Everyone wants everything so fast right now, but that just can’t be done. The slowest and most time consuming character development can sometimes have the greatest reward.
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