As noted, NXT's EC3 was recently a guest on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness. Among many other things, EC3 talked about getting his start in WWE's developmental system and his eventual release from WWE.
EC3 recalled that he first came to WWE's attention after attending a pro wrestling training seminar conducted by hardcore legend Tommy Dreamer.
"I started pretty humbly on the indies." EC3 said, "my independent training was pretty good. I wasn't ripped off or exploited. I got a pretty good learning experience from that. I kind of did local indies. I was never like the supposed guy who hit as many towns for $20 and stuff like that, so I had to work to support myself at the time and I worked in the service industry, bartending and waiting tables on the weekends or whenever I had to pick and choose my spots. What got me in the system was meeting Tommy Dreamer at an indie and he did a seminar prior to the show. And that's what kind of… I had a decent look and could work a little bit, athletic."
Through Dreamer, EC3 got work as an extra on WWE TV and even got squashed by Big Vis. Shortly thereafter, EC3 tore his ACL and he fell of WWE's radar. EC3 shared that he went to a paid tryout at FCW just to work his way back to WWE.
"I got a call about being an extra at this one gig, but I was three months out of a six-month recovery for ACL surgery and I said, 'I can't do it,' so I was probably completely written off the system." EC3 remembered, "and, at the same time, somebody, the next person they called from the Cleveland area to do the extra thing, did get signed, Michael Tarver. So I'm like, 'all is lost!' I finally recover enough where I… FCW had a paid tryout, so you had to pay money and get to Tampa, Florida and you'd get a look, but I was so far out of the system, Dreamer wasn't there anymore. Nobody I called, or texted, or emailed returned anything, so I paid $1,000, bought a plane ticket to Tampa, tried out at Steve Kern's FCW, and I got signed out of that. That was about 2009, I believe I started with FCW."
During the podcast, EC3 divulged that he was upset when he was released by WWE in 2013, but it was the best thing that could have happened to him.
"As much as that sucked at the time, it was the best thing that could happen to me for a numerous amount of reasons." EC3 continued, "and, like, what a better time, what a better opportunity than now? I don't believe in, 'ah, everything happens for a reason'. I believe in that in a sense, but the way that everything panned out, played out, worked out, damn, I couldn't be happier or more excited about what's to come and where it's going."
EC3 described his firing as surreal and went on to say that the hardest part of the ordeal was calling his loved ones to tell them he was no longer with WWE. Moreover, the second hardest part of being fired for 'The Top One Percent' was wrestling for $50 in the gym where he was fired.
"It's not like I was surprised, but it was kind of still… or no! I'm trying to equate the shock and what it felt like and, like, you don't know if you're awake or you're dreaming. And, all-of-a-sudden, anything that's drastic, life changing that happens out of nowhere, it was a very bizarre feeling. And the toughest call, it wasn't tough for me, just knowing the industry and knowing how things were lining up, and I can complain and b---h about people in the past or whatever, but at the same time, I could see it from every perspective. But, like, calling my dad to tell him, calling my girlfriend at the time to tell her, like, that was the hardest part." EC3 added, "the second hardest part was the building I got fired in when I got the call was a gym, and then, the very first independent show I did post-firing, in front of 73 people for $50, was in the same building, ironically."
Additionally, EC3 admitted that his complacent attitude was likely the reason WWE fired him.
"'What do I have to do to do this?' 'This, this, and this.' 'Yeah, but…' 'What do you mean, 'yeah but'?' Yeah, but do it or don't." EC3 elaborated, "I mean, we're all guilty, probably, of 'yeah buts' in our lifetime too. 'Yeah buts' are probably what got me fired in the first place. There was a sense of complacency. There was a sense of 'yeah, but, like, you know, I'm not going to get this shot because of this'. And then, yeah, you know what? You get fired, you lose it all, your back's against the wall, you refuse to accept 'no' for an answer. You refuse to let anyone else dictate how you're going to live your life, how you're going to make your living, or what you're going to do. Then you go out and you kill it. You just throw that 'yeah but' away and you go, 'yeah, butts!'"
Yeah butter! If you use any of the quotations from this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness