When I was a young kid my Mum would always stress that when I was wrong I had to admit to it. Granted it took me a few years to grasp this concept but here I am now, somewhat an adult, admitting that I was 100% wrong. When Ethan Carter III (EC3) made his debut at last years Bound For Glory (BFG) I rolled my eyes thinking that another ex WWE cast off was appearing in TNA. But from the very beginning EC3 started changing my opinion by becoming one of TNA’s best all round acts to the point where now it seems inevitable that he will at some point be world champion.
Indeed when watching NXT, where he was known as Derrick Bateman, it seemed only a matter of time before he would make the jump to the main roster. Young and having the look that those in Stamford desire everything seemed set, but as in wrestling, with no real explanation Bateman was released and it turned out to be TNA’s gain.
Debuting as EC3, the story line nephew of Dixie Carter, at Bound For Glory 2013, Carter made short work in a squash match with Norv Fernum. Far more interestingly was the super confident character he portrayed which was tailor made to him. Continuing by squashing jobbers it wasn’t until December 12th Impact where Carter, who was confronted by Sting , took a huge step up in competition. Showing supreme self belief in a feud with an Icon was proof that TNA was right to invest its time in EC3 and this culminated in a match between the pair at the Impact Genesis special which EC3 won after outside interference.
Realizing they had struck gold with the young Carter, TNA moved him into a feud with Kurt Angle, which included an attack on Angle’s knee which was to lead to a match at Lockdown. That match was scrapped after EC3 again attacked Angle’s knee at the March 7th Impact and instead Bobby Lashley answered EC3′s open challenge at the PPV which ended in a no contest. A small TV feud with Jeff Hardy’s alter ego Willow kept Carter Busy until Angle could return to resume their feud. That return happened at Sacrifice in a tag match which lead to the long awaited Angle vs Carter match on the May 8th Impact. In the match Angle, allegedly, re-injured his knee which Carter capitalized on to pick up the win. That Carter was allowed to pin Angle relatively cleanly was a huge sign that TNA had big plans for Carter.
These plans were unveiled when Carter was injected into the story line between Bully Ray and Dixie Carter. So the story went Bully had vowed to put Dixie through a table and Carter was defending his Auntie. Taking in a brutal Texas Death match at Slammiversary Carter again showed his versatility this time going toe to toe with the hardcore esq Bully and came out with the win after some help from Dixie and Rockstar Spud.
As has well been documented on this site, Dixie went through the table at the New York taping’s and will no doubt leave Carter moving onto a fresh feud, which looks to be Rhino. That feud will present a new challenge for Carter as he may well have to be the leader in the matches. Granted Rhino is the veteran between the 2 but Carter is further up the card in TNA.
That placement on the card is squarely down the Carter’s hard work since making his debut. He has shown an adaptability no matter what situation placed upon him. Be it tangling with legends like Sting or Kurt Angle, hardcore matches with Bully Ray, playing second fiddle to Magnus or doubling up with Spud, Carter has always shined brightly.
Indeed his tandem act with Spud has, at times, been one of the best things in TNA. Both play their part to perfection and have allowed themselves to be the comedic focal point of segments whilst Carter has always maintained his serious edge. Being able to balance comedy and serious is an art form so few wrestlers can manage and yet Carter seems to have taken to it with ease.
Carter, of course, has a lot more to offer than just comedy or varying matches. Sporting a washboard stomach and looks that women find appealing Carter could well be the face on which TNA builds its branding. For a long time now fans have pointed out that TNA have never promoted someone in the same vein in which WWE aggressively promotes Cena. Essentially Carter could be the face of the company as it were, hes young, has marketable looks, can talk eloquently and while he may have been in NXT, he is not stigmatized with the ex WWE or Indy guy label that so many in TNA have been branded with.
Carter stands out on his own and with Dixie, one has to guess, taking a sabbatical now is yet another opportunity for Carter to step forward and fill another spot. This time as the crowd antagonist that Dixie played so well. The question is will Carter rise to the challenge? If history has taught us anything its that TNA can bank on EC3 to produce the good.
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