When Impact Wrestling released a teaser advertisement earlier this week for its upcoming Slammiversary pay-per-view, EC3 was just one of many recently released WWE superstars that appeared in brief glimpses toward the end. On Friday afternoon, he took to Twitter to release his own version of the commercial, one that fueled speculation that he may indeed be returning to Impact as the ad suggested.
In a 51-second video, which can be seen below, a hooded figure was shown pouring some whiskey into a mug that read “EC3 2015 for Champ” — seemingly a reference to his past success as a world champion on Impact. Much like in the original ad, the same news reporter appeared on TV to discuss an unnamed wrestling promotion’s decision to release several wrestlers amid the coronavirus pandemic. This was likewise followed by images of various WWE talents who were released in mid-April.
As the initials “EC3” and the name “Ethan Carter III” began flashing on the screen, the mystery man removed the hood he was wearing, revealing himself to the audience as EC3. After smashing the mug against the wall, the 37-year-old wrestler faced the camera, looking on with an intense glare but not saying any words until the video drew to a close.
— I|I essential character I|I (@therealec3) June 5, 2020
As speculated by WrestlingNews.co, it does make some sense for EC3 to return to Impact Wrestling at Slammiversary, where he could bolster the promotion’s roster after a second failed stint in WWE. However, it’s also possible that his take on the Slammiversary ad might have been his way of “[playing] into the rumors” and trying to get people talking in the weeks leading up to the pay-per-view.
Originally introduced to WWE fans in the early 2010s under the ring name Derrick Bateman, EC3 was one of the many wrestlers who got their start as part of NXT‘s original reality game show format. He signed with Impact (then known as TNA) after he was released by WWE in May 2013 and emerged as one of the company’s top-tier talents. While that made him a promising pick-up for WWE upon his 2018 return, his main roster run was almost immediately marred by rumors of backstage heat.
When he was released in April, EC3 was strictly a lower-card wrestler for WWE, one who was seldom used on television and generally utilized as an enhancement talent during his rare in-ring appearances. Like other main roster wrestlers who were also let go at that time, he must adhere to a 90-day noncompete clause that will expire just days before Slammiversary airs on July 18.