Chris King takes a look at the tumultuous run for EC3 since returning to WWE, and how it can still be repaired.
EC3 is a tremendously talented wrestler; he has a great look with a ripped body he also possesses impeccable mic skills and can deliver a promo as no one else can. Unfortunately for him; he’s never been utilized to his highest potential in WWE, he’s been regulated to the mid-card division as an enhancement talent. He’s wrestled for many promotions throughout his seventeen-year career and still is stuck in the same position since he left in 2013.
He began wrestling for several promotions in the Ohio region; he made his debut for Pro Wrestling Ohio in 2002 where he feuded with Josh Prohibition and former NXT champion Johnny Gargano. In 2003, he would answer a tryout dark match for WWE’s “Heat” prior to Monday Night Raw under the persona “Mike Hunter” and lost to Rodney Mack. On August 26th edition of Raw EC3 would appear in a backstage role; depicting a police officer for Shane McMahon, who was arresting D-Generation X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels).
In 2007 Hunter debuted in Ohio Valley Wrestling (the developmental territory for up and coming WWE superstars); similar to his lackluster run currently he would round up a slew of losses, to Tony Braddock, Mike Mondo and competed in a gauntlet match, to get a title shot for MVP’s United States Championship in a losing effort. Later that year Hunter performed for Firestorm Pro Wrestling on their inaugural show titled “Destroy, Erase, Improve,” where he participated in a nine-month six-man round-robin tournament.
The culmination of the tournament occurred on September 12, 2008 at “Something to Die For,” where he became the inaugural Firestorm Pro Heavyweight Champion, he vacated the championship to head over to yet another WWE developmental territory; now coined as Florida Championship Wrestling that would morph into the juggernaut, known as NXT in 2011 that we’ve come to love. After losing to Drew McIntyre in his debut he altered his name to “Derrick Bateman” on February 19, 2009. During his tenure Bateman only claimed one championship; in 2010 alongside Johnny Curtis in a triple-threat match to capture the FCW Tag-team Championships.
In 2010 FCW talent competed on a seasonal weekly program as rookies; to become the next “breakout star” with the aid of WWE Pros from Raw and SmackDown. Bateman would be a participant in the fourth and fifth season which amounted to nothing, on May 17, 2013, he was released from his contract. Once again faced with disappointment he went back to the drawing board; what he didn’t know was this was a blessing in disguise.
EC3 Is Born In Total Nonstop Action/IMPACT Wrestling
In August 2013, Baterman wrestled one dark match in a losing effort to Jay Bradley for Impact Wrestling tv tapings in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. In late September TNA began airing vignettes hyping a new star named Ethan, that have joined the fold. He was deemed the spoiled nephew of TNA Owner Dixie Carter. He debuted at Bound for Glory pay-per-view as a heel; and began destroying jobbers over the next few months Norv Fernman, Shark Boy, and even TNA official Earl Hebner.
EC3 would stay in the company throughout 2018; battling some of the greatest superstars in the history of professional wrestling, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley, Drew Galloway (McIntyre), and Sting to name a few. He became a two-time TNA Heavyweight Champion and a Grand Impact Champion before being released on January 13, 2018.
EC3 Makes An Impact In NXT/WWE
At NXT Takeover: Philadelphia, EC3 is spotted in the front row and has officially signed with WWE.
On May 2, 2018, he made his official television debut after General Manager William Regal’s “huge” announcement of the North American Championship. EC3 being the entitled individual he is, expected Regal to award him the new championship. Championships we’re not just “handed” in NXT, so he would have to earn it at NXT Takeover: New Orleans.
EC3 vs. Adam Cole vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Ricochet battle in a six-man Ladder Match to become the inaugural champion; all six competitors beat the holy hell out of each other in one of the wildest and high-octane action-packed ladder matches I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. Cole would prevail with the North American championship, and EC3 would transition into a feud with Dream.
The feud kick-started as Dream and EC3 joined forces to clash with Ricochet and Aleister Black in day two of the 2018 United Kingdom Championship Tournament; in the middle of the contest Dream walked out on his tag partner, and ever since then the two “egocentric” superstars have been at each other’s throats. Two would face-off at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV, both men vying for the spotlight at the company’s biggest platform. Dream come up with the victory that would continue his ascension in NXT. A few weeks later EC3 would return to television and be accused of attacking then-NXT champion Black by Sullivan. His final matches in the black and gold brand would occur in October; as he lost the contest with Sullivan. He then went on to defeat Cole on October 24th, after his victory “The Undisputed Era” delivered a post-match beatdown injuring his knee. On January 9, 2019, Cole would defeat him in his final match in NXT.
EC3 would make his main roster debut; after weeks of consistent backstage footage of admiring himself in the mirror, as a guest on “A Moment of Bliss” where he was portrayed as a babyface. He was quickly interrupted by Dean Ambrose who had one foot out the door and was challenged to a match. EC3 defeated him in under two minutes; the next week Ambrose returned the favor and used a small package to gain the victory.
After that, he was demoted to “Main Event” a smaller television show. Recently he has been seen chasing after the Brand-new 24/7 Championship since it’s inception on May 20th. Along with other enhancement talents including Eric Young, “The Good Brothers” (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows), and many others. Talk about blatant disrespect, how does one with such charisma and talent get used so poorly in the largest wrestling promotion all over the world?
Moxley and Jericho Talk EC3
On May 28, 2019, Jon Moxley (formerly Dean Ambrose), the newest signee for AEW, was a guest on Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho; where he discussed a plethora of topics, one of the questions that was asked by Jericho if Moxley felt like WWE purposely attempted to bury him on his way out?
“Well… so after that they did the weird press release, then they put me against EC3, debuting from NXT. Great talent, a great friend of mine, excited to work with him. They have EC3 come in as a babyface, defeat me in two minutes. I dunno if this is before or after the press release, uh… it’s at like the same time. The crowd does not like this, because it’s transparent what’s happening and this is not a… this is not good for EC3, because now he’s gonna get the backlash.
So it was an unfair position for him to be put in. So we get to that weekend, I’m working with EC3 on house shows, now I’m the biggest babyface on the show. I’m a heel, I’m thumbing him in the eye, I’m making fun of the town, it doesn’t matter, they’re…Jericho: Because you’re the bigger name and you’re the underdog now.Mox: Yeah, they’re violently rejecting him as a babyface and they’re cheering the hell out of me. It’s got nothing to do with him, it’s like an anti-WWE…”
After listening to Moxley’s comments on the situation, EC3 had a response: “Thank you. The feeling is mutual. Good Luck.”
On this past Monday’s Raw EC3 was trapped in a cramped elevator along with others with the four-time 24/7 champion R-Truth for practically the whole show; and he was entertaining as hell, however, on Tuesday morning sent out a cryptic tweet: “Our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past.”
The Rebuilding Process
First things first: EC3 needs to get the hell away from the WWE 24/7 Championship (it means absolutely nothing). He needs to become a wild-card and perform on both Raw and SmackDown Live. The best spot for him at the moment would be; challenging for either the Intercontinental or United States Championship.
So the WWE Universe can get a fresh look at him in a new light; they need to go back to the well and begin with some backstage promos, so he can remind the fans who he is and what he’s about and for the love of God let him talk. The WWE Universe would love to see him as the cocky and arrogant heel he played in TNA and giving him some creative freedom couldn’t hurt him worse than he is currently. After having a successful run with either mid-card championship he could easily challenge Seth Rollins and Kofi Kingston to prove he’s better and better representation for the title.
If they play their cards right and start giving him the right opportunities with the right superstars that aren’t going to kill his momentum; as WWE did with Ambrose, EC3 had the ability to be one of the best talents to sign with WWE in quite some time. I don’t see him winning the next Men’s Royal Rumble Match but I can picture him with either the Universal or WWE Championship by the middle of next year. At some point WWE has to wake up and save their talent; before they all leave and follow in the footsteps of Ambrose, who is already achieving so much success in NJPW and AEW!