EC3 sauntered from the behind the curtain in a fresh suit accompanied by personalized graphics and a brand new entrance song. The actual episode won’t air on the WWE Network for a few weeks, but a few fans in attendance snapped some footage of the big moment.
The stage was set for EC3’s arrival when NXT General Manager, William Regal, unveiled the North American Championship—NXT’s newest trophy. to decide it’s inaugural winner, NXT will use a ladder match at TakeOver: New Orleans. Joining EC3 in the blockbuster match will be Ricochet, Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, Killian Dain, and Adam Cole.
ECW officially made the jump to WWE back in January, and until now, we had no indications as to how he’d be used. The Impact veteran was once with WWE for a brief stint begging in 2010. Adoring the name Derrick Batman, EC3 spent most of his WWE cup of coffee in NXT but a slew of injuries may have cost him a more significant run with the company.
But not only is EC3 making his prodigal return to WWE, but he may be doing with his Ethan Carter III moniker. Thanks to Matt Hardy, Impact Wrestling has loosened its grip on intellectual property and EC3 has legal ownership of his name.
In an interview with Newsweek, the 34-year old discussed his decision-making process when it came to leaving Impact.
"My decision to leave Impact had nothing to with their business or finances and everything with me wanting to challenge myself to something new. Leaving Impact was a very difficult decision as I had six months left on a very lucrative and talent-friendly contract. Anthem lived up to that contract and always treated me with the utmost respect as a businessman and a person," he said.
Impact's decline has been well documented but as EC3 stated, his departure was more about the pursuit to grow as a wrestler, not about running from Impact.
That’s all in the rearview mirror now, as EC3 will look to become the first-ever North American Champion next month.