TNA’s Bell to Bell broadcast was a culmination of a year and a half build of a brand new wrestling character. Ethan Carter III cemented his legacy in the wrestling industry by defeating Kurt Angle, one of the best pro wrestlers, for the TNA Heavyweight championship. Thus proving that TNA has the capability to create stars.
For the longest time, TNA had been compared to WCW, and not in the sense of the “edge of your seat” content, but for all the negative aspects. Much like WCW, TNA has been in the business of trying to pick up WWE talents to create a buzz for their promotion. And while that may have worked when Kurt Angle crossed the line in 2005, it also caused a negative effect that TNA were desperate to create stars and didn’t know how.
Then came former WWE developmental talent Derrick Bateman under his new name Ethan Carter III. The storylined nephew of TNA President Dixie Carter, the character of EC3 could have gone a number of ways: He could have been a spoiled stuck-up brat who wanted to play wrestler; He could have been a complete joke and jobbed to everyone in the TNA locker room; He also could have had his bodyguard Tyrus do all the physical work and taken all the credit. But that’s not how EC3 went about his character.
Sure, EC3 considered himself privileged as a 1 percenter. But that didn’t stop him from getting into the ring and wrestling each and every single match. And before you knew it, EC3 became undefeated. Which brings us back to TNA’s comparison to WCW because the only star they ever made was Goldberg. That man was undefeated for an astronomical amount of days. But a major difference was that Goldberg had the size and power that made it believable. EC3 does not have the mass to pull off what Goldberg did, but he did have his wrestling ability and Tyrus. While Goldberg was a powerhouse babyface, EC3 was a despicable heel. It works.
In a post-match interview (video below), EC3 mentions that he’s a student of the game. And that was evident a few weeks prior to Bell to Bell, when he praised Angle for all the opponents he had defeated in the past, except for him. That was huge because it provided some credibility going into the match; and ultimately established EC3 as the man after trumping Kurt Angle.
Say what you will about the downfall of TNA, that’s been on the decline for a decade, but the crowning of EC3 felt right. EC3 was a product of TNA that was built and not rushed. This wasn’t like when TNA signed former ECW and WWE Champion Rob Van Dam and had him win the TNA Heavyweight championship a couple of weeks into his signing in an attempt to bring “legitimacy” to the championship. This time around, TNA did it right.
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About the blogger: I love pro wrestling and all of its layers of athleticism and entertainment. I also love to read and write, which is why, hopefully, WrestlingTimesX will come across as different, in a better way, than anything else that you read on the web. My mantra on wrestling, in any state, is to love it then, now, and forever.