This is one of the biggest wrestling weekends of the year for WWE, and it was just made that much bigger after a former Impact Wrestling world champion returned to the company. There have been a lot of rumors flying around about who could make a surprise return or debut in Sunday’s Royal Rumble, but Saturday brought just as big of an opportunity. Near the end of the night at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, Ethan Carter III officially made his return to WWE.
With two matches left to go, Aleister Black took on Adam Cole in what many expected to be the match of the night, and they weren’t wrong. As recapped by the official website of WWE, the match involved a lot of weapons, a lot of interference, and some excellent wrestling from both superstars which left the fans extremely happy.
After the match was over, though, the camera panned around the crowd and showed many fans cheering and excited about all that was taking place. That is when the camera focused on someone who had their back turned toward the ring, but wrestling fans knew who it was.
Slowly, the man turned around and it was none other than former TNA Impact Wrestling Champion Ethan Carter III, aka EC3.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 28, 2018
Earlier this month, Ethan Carter III finished up his work with Impact Wrestling and officially said his farewells at a TV taping. His contract with the company was set to expire later this year, but the promotion agreed to let him out of it early and that was when the Royal Rumble rumors started up.
Well, it certainly appears as if he has indeed returned to WWE after a number of years away, but it looks like he will begin in NXT before heading to the main roster.
One night after EC3 finished up with Impact Wrestling, Bobby Lashley also said his goodbyes to the fans of the company. It has been rumored that he would be heading back to WWE as well, but he may not be able to appear in the Royal Rumble, as his contract isn’t up until Feb. 1, 2018.
It’s still possible that EC3 could be an entrant in the Royal Rumble, as there are still lots of spots open and NXT superstars have been in them before. Ethan Carter III never had much success in WWE during his first run, but he improved greatly while in Impact Wrestling, and now he has another chance. The rumors have come true and one of the most charismatic superstars returned tonight at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia.