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By Mike Johnson on 2020-07-17 18:13:00

On Tuesday June 14th, sat down with EC3 for an in-depth conversation about his WWE run, his release in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovering from a bad concussion, what went wrong, his future and much more.   Here is Part One:

Mike Johnson: Hey, everybody. It's Mike Johnson back in the audio section of It's an interesting week for professional wrestling. Not only are there two live pay-per-views this week being presented by WWE and Impact Wrestling, but this week falls upon 90 days from the week that World Wrestling Entertainment announced that they were going to be cutting back some talent contracts and that they were going to be furloughing some people, and they were going to be stepping into what would be the new reality brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.    Among the incredibly talented performers who unfortunately saw their exit from World Wrestling Entertainment is our guest at this time, Ethan Carter III, a.k.a EC3 who has been nice enough to grace us with his presence for interviews a number of times over the years. Sir, I feel like we've done this before where we kind of sit down and break down what's gone on before in your life and what's to come in the future. It's always an entertaining and fun conversation, but it's probably not a conversation you want to revisit over and over, but that's just kind of the way life has turned the roller coaster in that direction for you.  So before we start, I want to say it is good to talk to you. I hope you are doing well. Are you doing well?

EC3: Define well, Michael. No, seriously.

Mike Johnson: Mentally and emotionally happy?

EC3: Happy is such a vague shout from the stars. There's some satisfaction. Do I know if I'm going to be truly happy? I don't know, but the whole purpose of everything I'm doing is finally freeing myself and allowing myself to find that. If that's coming through the medium of wrestling, then so be it, but you mentioned... We've done this before. There's very few people I trust in this industry to communicate openly my message to people on the internet basically, because I feel there's a lot of hearsay. There's a lot of speculation that's reported as facts. I feel there's a lot of misinformation, and I feel you, Michael, one of the true people with integrity who sort and cite your material and verify. You don't do things for clicks. Then if you're wrong, you hold yourself accountable to it, and you admit it. So I respect what you do, and that's why you're one of the few interviews I've decided to do.

Mike Johnson: Well, I appreciate that and I thank you for that. I do try not to chase the clicks. I try to chase the truth. On the rare occasion where I do trip up, I don't even try to hide the apology. I make the apology a new story and basically embarrass myself. [Laughs]

EC3: [Laughs] Well, I used to be so good at self-deprecating humor, but then I realized it's not beneficial to your overall psyche. I make jokes all the time. "That sucked." No, but you own a mistake, and we all make mistakes. I've made countless mistakes. Owning them is how you become one step closer to becoming free.

Mike Johnson: So the last time -

EC3: Like-minded Michael. Oh, and you called me Ethan Carter. I only have EC3 trademarked.

Mike Johnson: Oh okay. I will edit that EC3. Probably not. [Laughs]

EC3: I'm burying the past, all past. Nostalgia is dead to me.

Mike Johnson:  All right. So let's talk about what led you to this point then. You suffer a concussion working for World Wrestling Entertainment. You end up unable to be cleared. You finally do get cleared, but to the best of my knowledge, but they don't bring you back, and eventually you are released. So we talked about emotional and mental health. What does that sort of... Because you've had injuries in the past. We've talked about it in the past prior to you going to Impact Wrestling for the first time. That was one of the primary reasons why you left WWE initially. So, let's talk about the mental and emotional health that you were in or the state of that while you were dealing with all these issues, the concussion, recovering, and then basically hurrying up and waiting for WWE not to use you. What does that do to you as a performer?

EC3: That's a loaded and diabolically complicated question that I'm going to try to answer to my best... Because you've covered so much, but yeah, when you mentioned mental health, everyone's, in this day and age, rightfully so, bringing attention to mental health and how important that is. It's okay to talk about it if you certain ways, anxiety, depression, even worse. So if anybody gets any inspiration from my story, all the better, but I think it's something everybody feels to a certain level.   So I'm not different than anybody, just at what levels of expense to my overall psyche did it take. I was concussed. I actually was concussed at the NXT Takeover in Brooklyn. We've had a few in the past. We all get them, but that was the first time I didn't know where I was. That was a scary feeling. All of sudden I was in a trainer's room talking to a doctor, and I had no idea how I got there. I remember the first thing they said was, "Do you know what city you're in?" I said, "I don't." Then I was like, "Oh sh**."   So from there, I started the road to recovery, and I did come back. Then in another match on NXT TV, I believe, I was donked to the back of the head and fresh off that one concussion, I had another. That sucked. It sucked real bad, but shortly after that is when I got the call to the main roster, which I was kind of perplexed by. Assumed that I wasn't cleared. I didn't know when I would be.  At the same time, I was coming off as a character. I felt the extent of what this character should have been. I was ready to progress, and I pretty much, I don't want to say pitched this character that I'm doing now, because it's not a character. It's very real life to who I am, but I gave this as a presentation, and then it just, "Nope, next episode." "Okay, cool."   You feel obligated to be prepared. This is going to be what you think is the biggest opportunity of your life. I passed the test. I got back, called up, and then the run was what it was. Somebody caught me a few months later, and I was out again with a concussion. This time, it was very difficult to come back from, because we've talked about injuries in the past, and knees, and my back, and my bicep tear, or pecs tear, body's falling apart. This injury was the most difficult, because in lieu of the physical aspect of it, it was a lot mentally, and having to deal with the brain chemistry and the mental aspect of this concussion and maybe life in general was really difficult and extremely hard to come back from.  I will say they let me see people specifically that work in that field, and I'm thankful for that, because I was able to learn a lot about this. But yeah, took a long time to come back from it, and pass tests, and be ready, and come back, and then come back, and hurry up and wait and fight. Okay. Yeah. Here we are.

Mike Johnson: So there's a lot of followup questions I have. So I'm going to ask this one first, and then I think we'll go backwards. Hurry up and waiting to get released. How does your psyche deal with that? No one wants to get fired. no one wants to get released, right?

EC3: Right.

Mike Johnson: It probably happens to everyone at some point in their life, it's going to happen to everybody, right? Especially in the 21st century. The days of, "I started working somewhere when I was 18 and I retired when I was 65," they don't exist anymore. You don't get the gold watch anymore. It doesn't happen, but it still sucks. So given that you had health issues and you fought to come back and get cleared, and you mentioned brain chemistry, and we'll talk about that in a second, you get yourself right, you get cleared, they opt not to use you, for whatever reason, and then they let you go, so From an emotional standpoint, from a professional standpoint, from a personal standpoint, what does that do to you? Is it, "Great, I can go work somewhere else?" Or do you feel like you failed? Do you feel like WWE failed you? What's that emotional toll like?

EC3: I think there's aspects of every feeling you mentioned involved in that. I will say at this point, realizing who I kind of was as a person, how unhappy I was all the time, how much it wears on me, my ability to be satisfied creating something and working hard towards something, and then when I can't do that, who it makes me become is not the best version of me. So yeah, it sucks, but at the same time, coming back from that injury, I was prepared. Must be realistic from a business perspective. They don't use me, and I just had a couple months where I couldn't even live up to the meager use of me. I understand that from a business point. What do I have to offer besides... You don't know, because they haven't tried, but it makes me expendable, and I'm okay with that. I'm fine with the professional aspect of that.  At the same time, I was realizing how unhappy of a person I was. I was prepared to ask to be released. Everybody does all that shut. They go on social media, and they whine and complain. I never do that, or they would ask, and then post on social media about it. I wouldn't do that. I'd have a direct conversation man to man, let the chips fall where they may.  But at the same time, we're walking into a COVID world. Who knows what's going to happen, especially, what was that? March and April, we had no clue what was going on. The economy gets shut down. I have a job that pays well. My parents own a business, which is being throttled by this shutdown. I know I have to stick it out for as long as possible. So at least something really drastic happened, I could take care of them. But at the same time, if it was business as usual, I probably would have tried to, "Let's do something," or, "I have to go, because I'm not happy." But with the pandemic, I just held on, and business wise, yeah, get rid of me. Bye. That makes sense.  I would say there was, unlike the first time, it was a... I don't want to say, "I'm better off. See you." That's not what I'm trying to say at all, but it wasn't... It didn't hurt my feelings. It relieved me immediately. I finally took a breath and I was like, "This is fine. This will be okay." Granted, we don't know what the rules are going to be or where I'm going to work next, because who knows what's going to happen with entertainment and the world in general, but hey, there's 90 days to figure it out. But at the same time, it was a relief for me.

Interview continues on Page 2!

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