EC3 is controlling his narrative after not being able to for two years.
A former TNA World Champion, there was much excitement when EC3 joined the WWE fold in 2018. However, after less than a year in NXT, he was called up to the WWE main roster and barely used, something highlighted by star Jon Moxley. Fresh off a run in WWE himself, Moxley said in his first post-WWE interview that his abrupt, 50-50 program with EC3 wasn't quite what he imagined, and hoped for more.
Still stuck within the grips of a frustrating creative situation, EC3 told Fightful that the comments helped validate some of his internal issues with the booking.
"That helped a lot because I have such a high amount of respect for him and his work. It was, I guess, validation’s a good word. ‘Cause I’m not going to be the guy that’s going to complain on social media. I’m not gonna be the guy that’s gonna whine, bitch and moan about anything. I’m going to try to handle it the best I can or I’m going to do what is necessary to get out of it. I’m going to do what I can myself. But, that helped. So, the people that knew were like, ‘Oh, this makes sense. Yeah, okay.’ I just don’t want people to think I wouldn’t try or that I’d relegate myself to being sub par because I’d never do that. Ever. It’s just not who I am. So, that helped. Yeah. Hat tip, ‘Thank you, brother.’
"At the same time, I can’t put too much in one man’s opinion as much as I respect it. It’s not going to do me any favors here, so I still have to put in the work here with whatever that may be regardless. Whether it matters or not. But, I was willing to try." he said.
Both Ohio-raised, creative minds, it seems as if the two are on the same wavelength as far as wanting to work together. EC3 outright mentioned that he sees an easy transition from their scripted-to-fail WWE run, to a more liberating one outside those walls.
"Seeing that, the mention of that means there’s a wide open facility to tell an amazing story with him down the road that is real, resonates, emotional, has moments. In theory an EC3—deranged, shaved head, psycho boy—whose lost it all can very well blame Jon for everything he experienced because of his deciding to leave the company, of his deciding to talk about me outside of it. If that means we wind up rolling around in glass and barbed wire and throwing each other off things and just beating the living shit out of each other for the entire world to see, hopefully in a packed arena some day, that’s really cool," he stated.
Moxley just finished a highly-regarded story playing off of his non-AEW history with AEW that saw a similar series of events unfold.
Whenever people talk about what EC3 should do next, he hears the AEW mentions. At the time of our interview, he's in Ring of Honor, prepping for a huge match at ROH Final Battle against Jay Briscoe that has since been pulled, but stimulating storytelling seems to fuel him.
"Any time I get super philosophical and maybe creative and artistry and put up a self-created promo or self-created match or all these things, you gotta love the one track mind of a wrestling fan. Because it’s like, let’s see what the comments say. ‘Go to AEW.’ Oh, alright. Why? ‘Fight Jon Moxley.’ Okay, that’s something I’m interested in. ‘Fight MJF.’ As opposed to seeing the art and the creation of it and the in-depth stories, you get that sometimes. I don’t know if it’s dissuading, a little bit, but at the same time if that’s what people want to see, then there’s box office to be made," EC3 told us.
Going back to the future a bit, EC3 beat Moxley, then Dean Ambrose, in just a few minutes on WWE Raw -- what should have been a huge spot for any wrestler. Over the next week, he remembered how things unfolded and eventually downward spiraled.
"At first, I was like, ‘Really?’ That was right after he’s, ‘I’m not coming back, I’m not resigning.’ I’m like, ‘Well, that’s fair. You’re gonna do the favor on the way out.’ But, at the same time, I would like it to mean something and I think down the road it maybe could have led to something, and then there was the one match that lasted a few minutes. It was a roll-up finish. I thought it would progress into something that maybe I could have a star-making moment in a real match against one of the top talents in the industry that he’s on his way out and I’m on the way up. But, it didn’t happen like that. I think why I didn’t go, ‘What the f—‘ is because, ‘Oh, they think you might be better off as a heel.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, of course I am.’ For real. Good. Does that mean I can speak? Can I speak and explain why I’m not a good person? Yeah, but I guess there was some apprehensions because we had matches on the live events, I think they were second on the card, they were good solid matches. I was the ‘protagonist,’ he was the ‘antagonist.’ But, he’s had a seven year run of incredible work that built his name up with a very loyal audience. I was a new guy in yellow trunks with a muscular physique that people were like, ‘I don’t want to see you. Yay him. Boo this new guy.’ That makes sense. I would do the same," EC3 said.
In between the television matches, they worked a three-match house show loop that did not go according the plan, so they had to change it.
"I believe on the third match of that loop we had, we’re in the middle of the match and they’re cheering him, booing me. We kind of called the audible out there li,e, ‘Let me take over as the aggressor and the villain in this scenario and let’s give them what they want. You being cheered.’ We pulled it, did it in the middle of it. That’s calling it on the fly. That’s reading the audience. That’s what pros do. I guess it wasn’t well received by somebody in charge or misconstrued up the chain and the rest is history. But, yeah, it’s still a good match. I just showed why I should be a bad guy in this scenario and he showed, ‘This is why I fight.’ It was cool. The live audience reacted accordingly. Which I think is the point of what we do."
For now, that's the Jon Moxley-EC3 content we have out in the world, with the two sharing plenty of similarities. Another similarity is the adoption and subsequent abandonment of the One Percenter/Dirty Deeds headlock driver. In an interview with Fightful, Jon Moxley said one of the reasons he let go of it was the logistics. So why did EC3 pass on it?
"I kept it in the back pocket. I think I used it once in NXT as a [fal-sie] throwback. But, I think going into the WWE I didn’t want to bring a move that they didn’t let him do. He’s probably already went through this. So, if he’s not using it, there’s a reason he’s not using it/ I can substitute that and find something else down the road. So, that was the only reason. In fact, when I was in there, first coming into NXT they’re like, ‘And then you can do your deal.’’ I’m like, ‘Ah, can I do this deal instead? Because I know it’s going to get taken away eventually. So, why even establish it if we’re not going to run with it?’
You can see our full interview with EC3 at the top of the page, and check out his official website at this link.