– TNA World Heavyweight Champion Ethan Carter III recently spoke with Phoenix New Times to promote Clickjab’s Summer Bash event on July 11th. The full interview is at this link. Below are highlights:
What’s it been like working with Kurt, an Olympic gold medalist and one of the biggest legends in both amateur and pro wrestling?
It’s been the greatest honor of my life to be able to work with that man and do what we did together. It’s not often you get to have the dream match you envisioned when you were 8… a child watching wrestling. If it wasn’t for Kurt Angle, I would’ve never made it this far because I never would have pursued wrestling because he’s the kind of guy… the guy that made me love it. And to have that match with those stakes on the line, it meant the world to me.
Were you disappointed at all that your match with Kurt Angle wasn’t on the Slammiversary pay-per-view and was on the regular Impact TV show?
You know, we’re at a point in the business where, I mean, everything leading up to that match has been perfect in the build for it that I couldn’t be disappointed, per se. The only thing is that the crowd at Slammiversary was so good that I would’ve liked to have that match in front of that crowd, but I think the crowd we had was great as well. So it ended up not really mattering. But we had a very special crowd at Slammiversary, there was a lot of loyals and die-hard that could’ve made that match [better], if it could’ve been made it any better, which it couldn’t have been.
How did it feel to get a shout-out from WWE champ Seth Rollins after your big win?
For him to do that… it was cool, because the way WWE handles social media and tries not to say anything else about any other [wrestling] company. You know, I got a lot of texts from a lot of those guys, but [Seth] went out on social media and said that. That meant a lot to me because we did both go through the [WWE developmental] system together and we have a ton of respect for each other and he’s awesome. It was cool that he went out of his way to do that.
You think about world champions — he’s WWE world heavyweight champion and I’m TNA world champion and I think that banter between the two of us is pretty special from a respect standpoint. It’s between two hard-working professionals who fully respect where each other came from and the work ethic we both have to be represented by our respective companies.
Has winning the TNA world championship been vindication for yourself after getting cut by WWE?
You know, every second of every day I’m motivated by whatever’s happened to me in the past. It’s vindication, in a sense, but my vindication’s coming just being successful with where I am and who I represent. My vindcation came when these people gave me an opportunity and they believed in me, invested in me, and hopefully I paid off for them.
Your undefeated streak is probably the biggest undefeated streak since Goldberg’s back in the ’90s. Do you think TNA has handled your streak better than WCW did with Goldberg?
I think it’s two completely separate entities. Goldberg was a monster babyface who ran through the competition, while EC3 is an entitled, smarmy kind of a jerk who lucked into a lot his [success] but has become battle-tested in the process and has solidified himself. But we’re two different entities. He’s a monster and I’m a champion that doesn’t lose, but there’s been some help along the way. I can hang, but sometimes I choose not to.
Last week, Pro Wrestling Illustrated, even though it’s sort of a kayfabe-oriented publication, announced they were no longer considering the TNA championship to be a “world” title. What’s your reaction to that?
The wrestling business is speculative. If they were a governing body of any sort of promotion in wrestling, maybe it would be something .But to me, that’s just outside noise and does not affect me one bit. If they don’t think I’m a world champion, they could talk to me about it, I can tell them why, and we could respectfully disagree. But, it doesn’t affect my business one bit, it doesn’t affect my paycheck one bit, it doesn’t affect my company one bit, and just as if I said, “PWI isn’t legitimate wrestling journalism,” it would not affect their business, it would not affect their paychecks, it doesn’t affect anything. It’s all opinion based. And everyone’s warranted to their opinion.
There have been a lot of rumors lately about the morale in the TNA locker room being down because of all the supposed uncertainty behind the scenes with the company. What’s your take on those rumors?
Well, my morale’s high as can frickin’ be, isn’t it? Look, a lot of people read into rumors that may come from unwarranted sources. This is all speculation. As far as I know, the people that want to be there are going to be there, they’re in it to win it, and they are motivated, and their morale is where it should be. Morale’s based on what you bring up yourself, and if you have low morale, then maybe you shouldn’t be there. And if your morale’s high and you want to work hard and succeed, then you should.
Of course, their all rumors, because rumors aren’t based in truth. The thing about [TNA], people just tend to believe ’em — unwarranted, unjustified. And that’s fine. I can handle any rumor we have.
Do you think the writing is on the wall for TNA and that its destined to go out of business after September?
No. Why would I think that? We’re internationally in so many markets. Domestically, do I know what the direct future holds? I have a pretty good idea, and I think we’re going to be just fine. But people have been saying this company has been going out of business for 13 years and it continues to go. We’re doing some of our best work now and the people doing it won’t let it fail.
Do you have a backup plan just in case?
Why do I need one? I just said no. TNA isn’t going anywhere.
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