EC3 On Being NWA National Champion, Handling Ups And Downs Of Wrestling, And What CYN Was Really About (And Where It's Going) - Exclusive

NWA National Champion EC3 continues to redefine the wrestling world through his unwavering commitment to the sport, marked by endless hours of training, masterful strategizing, and a robust drive to succeed. Wrestling Inc.'s Jack Farmer had an engrossing exchange with the wrestling powerhouse, in which EC3 revealed insights into his journey as a champion, his perspective on professional wrestling, and his vision for the future of the industry.

The discussion spanned a range of topics, including EC3's experience working with NWA and Billy Corgan, as well as the essence of his venture 'Control Your Narrative' — a cooperative initiative aimed at guiding the upcoming generation of wrestlers. EC3 also broke major news, announcing the launch of his own wrestling promotion, Exodus Pro, slated to be based in Cleveland. The promotion's inaugural event has already been scheduled for August 12th. EC3 also delved into the details of the forthcoming NWA show HP Cares for Cooper, scheduled for July 12th, where EC3 will face the significant challenge of defending his National Championship against formidable opponent Jordan Clearwater.

How Things Are Going In The NWA

Jack Farmer: July 8th, you'll be at HP Cares for Cooper, a charity show at Highland Park and July 9th for a double live taping of NWA ... How's it going over at NWA for you?

EC3: Dude, I love it, because I'm awesome and I rule ... There's this theory, creative freedom for wrestlers. That's not a thing that ever should be granted, because if wrestlers had creative freedom, "Well, I should go undefeated and be the champ." But I have the ability to interpret like-minded direction and collaborate with who I'm working for to push forward the way I foresee business, and the best way to tell a story is the best way to control narrative — the best way to practice art, in a sense. So for me, NWA is excellent. Billy and I have very like minds. I think he's a very, very, very intelligent person. It's not just because he's a Pisces like me, but he's also a world-famous rock star who has created many brands. So I think he's very smart looking outside the wrestling bubble, in the immediate, for what would be long-term, grasping, accelerated business growth.

So for myself, knowing these things and thinking that kind of way, I love it. Plus, I'm the National Heavyweight Champion, plus I'm probably going to be a world champion. Who knows? Probably pretty soon. And then, plus, if I become a three-time World Heavyweight Champion, I get to finally fulfill my destiny and become the overman that I speak so fondly of. So I love it.

Elevating The NWA National Championship

I don't know if you know this, you're a star in pro wrestling. You're pretty well known. Do you look at your time as the National Champion as a way to show the world who you are in the NWA or do you think this is your chance to elevate the National Championship, if that makes sense to you? How do you view your championship reign as the National Champion?

That was a very poignant question. I think the reign itself, hopefully it is elevated as every person who holds a championship should in some way, shape or form, elevate the championship; make it have value, make it worth fighting for. I think one detriment we have is just like we're not on the cusp of the online narrative and the wrestling fans, they ignore it sometimes. And also filming television in blocks, you don't have that sustained in-your-face consistency I think a championship like that would deserve. That's something that should be defended weekly almost to really bring its value up. Plus, I beat everybody, so I'm very confident that we can run a National Championship match every week and I'd win 52 of them, so that'd be cool by me.

Bringing value to it, it's not just because I have had some success and some championship reigns myself, but each person that has the opportunity to compete for and win a championship, the idea is to bring its value up for the next person and for the business as a whole.

When It's Time To Evolve

You have that show coming up on July 9th right after that July 8th show where you're going to be filming, so people can check that out. I think those are going to be some good shows. But you mentioned, the NWA Worlds Championship...I saw, in a previous interview, you talked about how you felt that being the NWA World's Champion is a fitting way to reach your next form, the next iteration of who you are. You're always growing and evolving and changing. How do you know when it's time to discard who you've been?

Well, and those very successful ways were offered to me to return to where I did decline, whether it was the right move or not...but it put me on this path, I think you have to trust intuition and I think you have to be a step ahead of what people are expecting in a sense. Also, you look at it [in] different blocks of, "What are the circumstances surrounding myself as a person, but myself as a artist and athlete? What's happening within the world, within pop culture, within the industry itself to evaluate when the time and places to make some sort of changes, whether they're minimal or whether they're drastic?" And I think the version of the EC3, the Essential Character, dark time in my life, it was a dark time in the world. It was misconstrued. There's misinformation.

Obviously, I was a very, very, very big victim of it, that it did fit the motif in a sense. There was a lot of questions that weren't being asked. There was almost this divide taking place and there was one person that was trying to say what he believed was true and whether [it] was loved or whether it was hated, it wasn't necessarily ignored. That time has passed and we're past all that within the world and free of that. Now I'm looking for myself personally, "What is next?" and I think the time is now. I found, through that process, through being a goofy dips**t like Derrick Bateman to being entitled pompous nephew of Dixie Carter to then therefore actually becoming  pretty good and very successful, to becoming a cool ass-kicking machine that I was, to bring that to the WWE and for it to fail miserably. For that to go back to that within the time of the world was in, didn't make sense to me, but something had to change and I think evolution's important, even if it's not the best evolution of your career.

Building Up The NWA

You did mention in an interview ..."I think the NWA is poised and ready and can be built from the ground up."... What would you specifically like to see or what would you like to do to help rebuild the NWA in these words?

To help would be to perform the absolute best, to relentlessly pursue this craft, not only from a talent standpoint, but from a business standpoint, to promote, to collaborate, to create within, to build from the ground up, to having the ability to have somebody like Billy, in a sense a leader and then that somebody I can learn from as I try to form myself into my version of what leadership would be. And I think I've had a few within the industry and credibility is one of them as well. So seeing through his vision and his ideals and knowing that they're like-minded, I don't know if we agree on everything, but I do know that we both look outside the wrestling bubble, the tiny niche that is fallen into to know that outside of that there's millions of people who've fell off and, "Why is that? And what aren't they getting or what is taking their attention away?"

Working With Billy Corgan

What's it actually like working with [Billy Corgan] ...Is he, "Oh, I'm open to suggestions, whatever you want," or is he very much, "I'm the boss. This is my way"?

A little bit of both, I think and not in the negative sense that, "I'm the boss and this is the way it's going to be," but someone that will hear your thoughts and your opinions, collaborate within them. And then it's almost as a talent too, picking which battles are worth fighting and which ones are not worth being the hill to die on. Any time we've had any conversations regarding business or creative, they've always been collaborative and sometimes I can... The thing about really strong, powerful, successful people, is they do have control. So sometimes to get to that and through them, and this is what I tell students and independent prospects at seminars, you almost have to incept your ideas into them, so they think they're theirs, which I'm getting good at.

But no, at the same time, there's always conversation and let the best idea win, but if it comes down to it, and this is what the WWE has and this is I think a thing that lacks across the board in other companies is love it or hate it, they have one final voice who decides. Everybody adheres to it or they are gone.

So if it comes down to, at least there's a direction, at least there's somebody that has the final say, whereas Billy would be that as well, but I think other companies like everybody collaborates, but then when ... You can have a great meal, but if you start just mixing different ingredients that don't make sense and you cook it up, it tastes like s***, dude.

So I would say he's a strong leader and he's very open to collaboration ... He loves wrestling. He's a wrestling fan. He sees it through a wrestling fan's eyes sometimes and not so much like a wrestler. So a wrestler can say, "Well, I think these would be the circumstances of this based on the fact if I was competing in this situation," where he might, "Oh yeah, it makes sense. Okay, that's cool."

What Control Your Narrative Was Really About And Where It's Going

A lot of people looked at Control Your Narrative and thought it was a promotion, but it was actually something a bit different than that.

Yeah, you're right, CYN ... The misconceptions are based on the one-dimensional thought of wrestling in general where, "Oh, there's something. They're a promotion that's going to be standard." And what I do think is we fell into that as well because we started getting weird offers and maybe that's a TV deal. "What? That didn't pan out?" or, "We're going to have a live tour because these people are investing." Well, they didn't end up showing up or, "This person going to be in charge." So the idea was for it to never be a promotion and I did let it come off as that it was in a sense that's only after it seemed that everybody thought it was anyways.

As a leader, one thing I respect about leaders is when they take accountability and responsibility, so I can take accountability for all the mistakes and the responsibility, because in the end, they're on me. At the same time, how many talents got crucial experience, renewed passion, renewed names and job offers? A lot of people are back to where ... That's where belong. Control Your Narrative isn't about building you and within this and building that up as much as you finding your path to what makes you happy. And for some of those, that's the top of the food chain, WWE. So we successfully put people back into positions they belong and that's pretty cool. But really it's the younger talent aspect and the ideal of CYN was to be a platform for people to tell their story.

At the end of the day, what I initially sought out to be and what I wanted it to be today... So with the CYN cooperative, we're doing quarterly training. I call it independent reconditioning, but it's trying to make people TV-ready and at the same time make them think outside the box and think within this as an athlete and a businessman and how to truly develop a unique identity that can come from here and go out there and kill it. So that's where I get great pleasures, watching people be able to do that. "Tell your story," people that can realistically have ... It's almost therapy when you do wrestling right, if you're real with it and watching people come out of their shell of who they think they have to be because of fans or their own perceptions of wrestling or what people tell them that initially trained them to who they are supposed to be, which is who they are like bringing up individuality and talents as people and as wrestlers.

What CYN Is Looking For

Are you looking for absolute never-been-in-the-ring-before beginners? Are you looking for people who have maybe been wrestling for a while and looking to polish up?

I want people that have grounded fundamentals and at least basics. Not that... we are going to open up for beginners as I facilitate and outsource that as a staffing measure, but what we're looking for right now is people that have training and want to become, as I said, TV-ready; become who they're supposed to be. Those that know how to ... You think you know how to lock up, but guess what? You really don't like. All these intricacies, teaching very, very, very minuscule little things, we start at the beginning. We've been here three weeks and I don't want to slap myself on the back and put myself over, but holy s**t, I'm a great coach, I'm a great trainer. I'm not going to lie to you.

Because the amount of progress these talents, these prospects have made, I literally almost, if I didn't get my tear ducts removed, I would have cried after yesterday and seeing how their work has increased and improved.

Managing Ups and Downs In Sports and Entertainment

Sports and entertainment is the kind of industry where you have a lot of things happen that aren't personal, but they absolutely feel personal ... You manage to keep a very cool head in a world where it's very easy to take things personally. How do you manage the emotions in those situations or mentally how you keep track of that?

I'm glad you saw that because one thing about the one dimensional and thought patterns of a lot of people is like somebody gets released from the WWE and everything they do is complaining about being released. Whereas I go create something completely, "Oh, I was just whining about getting fired," and no, you're going to make the entertainment interesting by parlaying like fourth walls a little bit with things like that, but I would have fired me. Global pandemic, we have a guy coming back off of a serious brain concussion that we were doing nothing with and that probably for whatever reason — a lot of things are out of your control — but for whatever reason was unliked by the boss within that time. He didn't say the right thing maybe. Somebody else left the company, and because that guy left the company, the boss is insane enough to think he has to punish somebody he's worked with.

I don't know, maybe that happened —it did — but I would've fired me too. Because as a business, it makes sense and it wasn't personal. The first time, I used it personal to drive me to be great and to have that vendetta and that anger and that chip on the shoulder, not to throw shade at them as much as to push me forward, to make a statement, to make a point. And I'm always right, but I'm like, "If I do this right, they're going to call me back."

And they did. Cool. So I proved that, but then on the second iteration, it just didn't work out and I think a lot could be attributed... I didn't let them rebuild me, so I wasn't their creation. I came in the similar concept in character and I was already popular to where nobody had a vested interest in my success, more so that I was there and I could be plugged in if and when needed. [I] reevaluated who I was on day one and came back completely different. That would have been an interesting sort of a butterfly effect. Getting called up was a rush call up in the midst of no real foresight or planning. It is what it is.

They take away one of my better assets and the ability to communicate, but I would have fired me too because at that time, that place where the business was, nobody knew what was going to happen. And so when I got fired too, I was in the middle of a yoga session, see the phone call, I'm like, "Ouch, I'm getting fired today. No hard feelings. It's cool. I understand. I know this is probably the worst day of your life because you get to fire 20 people, but I'm okay with it. All right. Maybe I'll see you down the road."

New Promotion Exodus Pro

July 8th, you're putting your NWA National Championship on the line against Jordan Clearwater at HP Cares for Cooper. And again, there'll be NWA Power tapings on July 9th. Promote the show baby. What can people expect from this one? Jordan Clearwater, no slouch, by the way.

He's an excellent prospect. Unfortunately, he's walking into the goat of the day, I guess you can say.

I'm on a hell-bound crazy path to become this overman. And to do that, I would have to probably defend my championship, so I can probably cash it in at the hundred-day mark and then challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship. It's not like I just gave away my plan, but I did. So he's a hell of a talent, really looking forward to his future. If he probably came to the CYN Cooperative, he probably stepped his game up 5, 10, 15%. But in light of that, he's very good and I look forward to that match. July 9th TV Power is going to lead us into NWA 75 in St. Louis Chase. Excited to see what transpires.

Earlier, you mentioned you can't wait to see some of the people that come to the CYN co-op and what they have to offer. I do want to use this time to announce that we will be launching a promotion. CYN is not a promotion, but we will be launching a promotion within the Cleveland area. It's going to be called Exodus Pro. And an exodus, if you do not know, is a journey. So that journey will come to Cleveland. It'll be August 12th. I will obviously be on the show. I'm going to fill it out with a card of the students. I'm going to fill it out with a couple names. But what I'm really interested in is that, the day before, I want to have an open forum for any trained wrestler that wants an opportunity to take that journey, to invest in themself, to come in for a full day of CYN Cooperative training. And I want to pick, I don't know, 10 to 12 people out of that lot and find them on this show because it could be a high-end product.

We're going to have high-end production. We're going to have high-end music. We have a beautiful building that, if we can build the right culture here, it could be something very special and something wrestling fans around the world will come visit as a mecca. So CYN, we put the cult in culture. Yeah, for more information, follow me on @therealec3 and @controlyournarrative and that will be coming. So 8/12 Exodus Pro will debut and we will talk about that. Let's go-

Where You Can Find More EC3

August 12 Exodus, everyone's got to check that out. Also July ... You're a busy guy. No wonder you say you're sore all the time.

Wrestle every day, then I train every day and then I created a fitness app, I have to be a stupid social media influencer, which is a nightmare. What else do I do? I'm writing books. I'm writing books. I'm writing the how-to guide for the aspiring professional wrestler, which will become available probably around mid to late August. I'm going to probably announce an online, training program. So I wrote a book. It's insane. People think, I'm ... They're like, "Why are you writing for wrestling? You should be writing for real books," and I'm like, "Well, maybe I will." So in addition-

Hey, it's still a real book. Come on now

But like, "You should be David Goggins," and I'm like, "Well, I will be that."

Great chatting with you. Again, I know you're busy, so I'll let you go. EC3, thank you so much for your time.

Thank you, brother. I'm following you now, so I can make sure. If you got me in three or four weeks, I would love to do that.