Impact Wrestling makes its return to pay per view on Sunday, July 2 for Slammiversary. EC3, who wrestles Impact veteran James Storm on the card, offered a unique reason to watch the show:
“Tune into Slammiversary to watch me brutally assault another human being,” said EC3. “I’m going to kick James Storm’s ass on pay per view.”
The 34-year-old EC3 is in the midst of a career transition with Impact. Not only has he reasserted himself as one of the company’s top villains, but he is also working with an entirely new ownership and management, led by Impact Wrestling president Jeff Jarrett.
“A new set of eyes on the future of my career isn’t as daunting a challenge as tearing my ACL twice, being fired from my dream job, or reinventing myself,” said EC3, who was released by WWE in May of 2013 before having the chance to succeed in the most powerful wrestling conglomerate in the world. “This industry has thrown nothing but challenges at me, but I’m going to let my work ethic show how I approach the business.”
Away from Impact Wrestling cameras, EC3 is Willoughby, Ohio-raised Michael Hutter. He is cordial and thoughtful, yet underestimate his work ethic at your own peril. Although his current character is named EC3, which stood for Ethan Carter III and was the storyline nephew of then-TNA owner Dixie Carter, the venom behind his character is organic. WWE’s slight, along with Impact now championing its new slogan, “Make Impact Great Again”, have allowed EC3 to creatively express his frustrations. When he wrestles Storm–who will be inducted into the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame–at Slammiversary, he’s fighting the notion that anyone else is better than him in pro wrestling, including Storm’s longtime tag team partner, NXT champion Bobby Roode.
“I remember the subtle insults and indignities every time I train and each day that I work,” said EC3, who sports one of the better physiques in the business. “There is no one quite like me in this business, and I am out to prove that.”
Some of the best work of EC3’s career took place over the past two years in a feud with “Big Money” Matt Hardy, who then transformed into the everlasting “Broken” Matt Hardy. Although Hardy and Impact continue to wrestle over the trademark of the “Broken” gimmick, EC3 misses Hardy’s calming presence in the locker room.
“I miss him dearly,” said EC3. “I’m very happy for what he and the nefarious Brother Nero are accomplishing.
“Matt Hardy was like the Matthew McConaghey to my Woody Harrelson in True Detective or the Bill the Butcher to my Amsterdam Vallon from Gangs of New York. The time we spent together really helped me grow, and we bounced a lot of weird and crazy ideas off each other. Maybe I’ll see him again some day.”
Wrestling is a collaborative, collective process, and EC3 has worked programs with Sting, Kurt Angle, and the Hardys. The lessons learned from working with those legends are considerable, permitting that a person is willing to listen.
“Osmosis definitely takes part, but to quote a weird Matt Hardy/Broken phrase, you have to be a vessel to allow the osmosis to take place,” said EC3. “I am the combination of the people I worked with.
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“Dr. Tom Prichard, who was running [WWE developmental territory] FCW when I was there, explained that a great way to find yourself as a wrestler is to take what you love from your five favorite wrestlers and make that into a new entity. When you have guys like Sting, Kurt Angle, and the Hardys willing to show you the way, it’s a great help. I learned from it and seized it.”
EC3 noted that the opportunity to work with a longtime Impact star in James Storm is merely a steppingstone to fulfilling his ultimate game plan, which is regaining the Impact Wrestling world title.
"It’s not personal for me with Storm,” said EC3. “I’m doing what is necessary to make a statement. The new Impact regime came in, immediately hearkening to the glory days of the past and completely negating all my effort and drive from the prior regime. Looking down on my body of work is the worst insult one can do to me, so hearing ‘Make Impact Great Again’ is an insult to everything I’ve done. I’m lashing out by kicking James Storm’s ass.”
Despite a run as a popular babyface, EC3 stressed he could not fully embrace the role because it was not real.
“I was asked to go outside my comfort zone and be the friendly face of the company, but that’s not me,” he said. “Now I am focused on the most important entity, and that’s myself. I will make James Storm busted, broken, and beat-down at Slammiversary, and I will go on to accomplish what I seek, which is to become world champion.
“I won’t tell people to buy Slammiversary because Storm and I are going to have a great match, and I won’t lie and say that we’re going have a lot of fun. None of that is going to happen. I’m going to kick his ass. That will make Impact great again.”