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What Went Wrong With EC3?

Victoria Tezangi looks at what went wrong with the second WWE tenure of EC3.

Former original NXT competitor and IMPACT Wrestling World Champion EC3 has been on one heck of a journey throughout his career. 

Returning to the WWE a couple of years back, fans hoped to see the company finally push him as the major star he is. With a fresh start, a big following and impressive track record, EC3 had everything needed to become the next big thing in the WWE.

However, things haven’t quite gone to plan and since making his comeback EC3 has lost his momentum, fans have lost faith in him and the WWE have at this point appeared to have given up on a talent who in many ways ticks all the boxes. But just where did the WWE go wrong? What mistakes were made? And can we see him bounce back?

It was during 2019 that fans saw EC3 make his return to the WWE joining the NXT roster, a decision that to this date remains the best one the WWE have made regarding this incredible talent. The black and gold brand was always sure to be the place for him, considering the type of audience NXT had and the layout of the roster. During his time there EC3 competed in memorable bouts against the likes of Adam Cole and Lars Sullivan, and took part in that epic ladder match to crown the first-ever North American Champion. He truly did have some great showings and fans had a great idea as to what his character had to offer and was all about. However, there were some vital early mistakes made here. 

First of all, his time in NXT was far too short. If the WWE planned a huge main roster push then sure, this would have been a reasonable decision but that wasn’t what we got in the slightest and a huge opportunity was missed. There were some incredible potential angles for EC3 over the black and gold brand and we didn’t see a fraction of what we could and should have. This was a vital time for the WWE to build the character of EC3 even more, allow him to take part in bigger and longer matches and storylines and they really could have pushed him as the next big thing and a main figure on the roster.

While EC3 does make for a fun babyface character as we saw during his short time in NXT, this is a man who is a natural-born heel. There can be no denying that he shines brightest when working as the bad guy and his image, characteristics and persona fit that so perfectly. We know that when given the right direction and storyline EC3 can stand out as one of the best heels in the industry today.

Incredibly convincing and entertaining, the WWE missed a key booking decision here that could have changed the game massively for EC3. In the role of a babyface, everything he does comes across as forced and doesn’t fit who he is as a WWE superstar. It’s likely he would have been a more memorable figure and interesting character in NXT if he had arrived on the scene in the position he works best: a heel.

The first time we saw EC3 on the main roster was during a collision with Dean Ambrose. In the grand scheme of things what’s so interesting here is that these two superstars could have actually worked an incredible rivalry. Their opposing characters and completely different image and personas would have made for a very entertaining angle that would have showcased the very best of EC3 – especially in the role of a heel – and introduced him to the main roster audience perfectly. What we did in fact get was a quick burial for EC3. Ambrose shut him down both on the mic and in the ring and EC3 never really bounced back. This was his first piece of work on the main roster and it set the tone for what was to come.

And what was to come? Not a lot. It didn’t take long at all for EC3 to lose all his momentum and become an afterthought who eventually disappeared completely from our screens. From losing to Rusev to being taken out by Braun Strowman, it became clear quickly that the WWE didn’t see the incredible star quality in him so many fans did. Possessing power, experience, strength and athleticism as well as so much charisma he’s a talent the WWE has seriously dropped the ball with and missed out on a lot.

What they have here is a man that could have played a huge role in the company with a character sure to bring so much to the table. Missed opportunities to showcase his character even more went unnoticed, including potential angles with authority figures, pushing him more as the next big and best heel in the company and pairings that would have changed the game massively. One of the key problems EC3 has faced is timing.

The roster is stacked. Whether it be RAW, Smackdown or even NXT, there is a lot of talent and the simple fact is that when it comes to the main roster there were too many stars the company wanted to push more than EC3 despite him having something different – something we all know works incredibly well. Throughout his time on the main roster, EC3 has fallen to bigger talents including Rusev and Braun Strowman and fell into the background very quickly and lost all his momentum.

What must be noted is the opportunities the WWE had staring them right in the face when it came to EC3. Reuniting him with Drake Maverick should have been at the forefront of the minds of everyone behind the scenes. We all know just how incredibly these two work together – their history and the ability they have to create something very special would have given both these men the chance to truly make a huge impact on the main roster and given them an edge; something totally different to everyone else on the scene.  The two could have created a very exciting and entertaining set up that provided some truly epic and memorable bouts and storylines, not to mention that their pairing could have also resulted in huge singles careers for both men in the WWE. 

EC3 really is an incredible talent, but there has to be a discussion as to whether or not the damage has been done. He has no problems with his character work and in-ring capabilities, but there have been so many mistakes and missed opportunities that it would be extremely difficult to turn things around.

I believe that the only option for him that sees EC3 have a shot becoming a top star in the WWE is by sending him back to NXT. But in a world where wrestling is bigger than ever, is a company outside of the WWE actually where he belongs? 

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You can find the author of this article on Twitter @TezangiVictoria. Thanks for reading!

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