EC3, The yellow brand’s “Top One Percent,” and arguably the most outspoken superstar of the new generation, has a bright future ahead of him. While EC3 may be a new name to the more casual fans, those three letters have lingered on top of the independent wrestling scene for a long time. Fan of his or not, the trouble EC3 has stirred up has bound to have reached you at least once in his career.
Born Michael Hutter, he made an impact in Ohio’s independent scene under his real name before being recruited by one of WWE’s developmental promotions, Ohio Valley Wrestling, in 2007. This lead to him shortening his name, becoming Mike Hutter.
This would not be the first time in his career he would do this. OVW did next to nothing but shine a faint light on Hutter for him to be picked up by WWE’s other promotion, Florida Championship Wrestling. Under the new name of Derrick Bateman, he teamed with Johnny Curtis, better known as WWE superstar Fandango.
They went on to win the FCW Tag Team Championships in a triple threat tag team match against Brodus Clay and Donny Marlow and the reigning champions Los Aviadores. After a three-month reign, the belts were dropped to Wes Brisco and Xavier Woods.
Bateman was given his “big break” with the WWE in the fourth season of NXT, when it was in its former game show-esque format. He was mentored on the show by the leader of the “Yes Movement,” Daniel Bryan. Bateman made it to the final three, but did not win.
He was brought back for the following season for redemption and became more of a villain, causing his mentor to give up on him. After an attempted stint on the main roster, Bateman was taken back to the newly revamped NXT to be given more time to grow. With little to no success at NXT, he was released by WWE and had to find new grounds to stand on.
When 2013 rolled around, Hutter, now a free agent, worked some independent shows before finally finding a new home at TNA Impact. Hutter signed under the name Ethan Carter III, the nephew of then-president Dixie Carter. Even though the Carter name gave him a boost within the company, it was clear that Carter was more fond of the simpler name of EC3.
During his time in TNA, Carter III had memorable feuds with Bobby Lashley, Matt Hardy, and Kurt Angle, winning his first TNA World Heavyweight Championship against Angle on an episode of Impact. This was the beginning of a tide shift in TNA. Carter III became the top heel in the company and had a 101 day title reign before losing it in a triple threat match against Matt Hardy and Drew McIntyre (then going by Drew Galloway), a match in which he wasn’t even pinned.
His second reign might as well not have happened, given it only lasted a handful of days. Carter III defeated Matt Hardy on January 5th, 2016 and dropped it to Hardy on the 19th in a last man standing match.
For the remainder of his time at TNA, Carter III was transitioned into a mid-card wrestler and had a few rivalries with the likes of Mike Bennett, Rockstar Spud, Tyrus, and Drew Galloway. After a brief run with the TNA Grand Championship, Carter was released by TNA.
A mere two weeks after being released from TNA, EC3 made his on screen debut at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia in the crowd. Since then, he has had his first five star match at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans and one of my favorite matches of the night at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn against Velveteen Dream.
EC3 can easily transition from funny to serious in any promo, match, or interview, and his in ring presence speaks for itself. He has proven to be more than capable of carrying an entire company. It is without a doubt that EC3 has indeed evolved from his beginnings in Ohio to the “top one percent” of professional wrestling.
Yet, this is only the start of something bigger on the horizon. I definitely see him as a world champion, leading Raw or SmackDown Live in the future. But as for NXT, given the amazing product that we have received so far, we sure are in for a treat.