EC3 Fires First Shot in NXT vs. TNA War at EVOLVE 61
Last night, EVOLVE 61 took place in Queens, NY, and heated words near the end of the night by TNA’s Ethan Carter III and Drew Galloway about WWE’s NXT brand have got the wrestling fandom buzzing. The shoot-style promo cut by EC3 was captured by a fan via Periscope, and can be seen here. First, a little background for those unfamiliar with everything that makes this important. Crossover between promotions has been pretty much nonexistent within the parameters of the WWE for a very long time. Once people got to WWE, they tended to be completely exclusive. Nowadays, especially within the realm of NXT, that mold is being torn apart one competitor at a time. There are plenty of NXT talents that have continued to compete on the independent scene, and it’s gone to the point that WWE now has working relationships with many independent wrestling organizations for their Global Cruiserweight Series set to take place this summer. However, some companies have remained “off limits” for this. Even Ring of Honor had a brief relationship with WWE when CM Punk was on top because of their involvement with the documentary that was made on Punk’s career. The “off limits” promotion has always been TNA Wrestling, also known as IMPACT Wrestling. TNA has been one of the few promotions to keep a consistent television deal and attempt to compete on a weekly basis with WWE, but over the last few years things have seemed to only get worse in TNA. Despite a plethora of talent, poor writing and incredibly poor management of the business itself have all but put them into bankruptcy. Recently, an episode of the WWE Network’s “Edge & Christian Show” featured longtime TNA competitor AJ Styles, who has now made his way to the WWE. In a fun segment called “Will WWE talk about it?”, Edge and Christian have poked fun at topics that remain off limits for WWE programming. At one point, they actually presented an option as “The Company AJ Styles Wrestled For, Between 2002-2014.” The answer was a definitive no on whether or not WWE would ever talk about it. Now, thanks to EVOLVE, those once heavily fortified lines are being crossed. NXT’s Johnny Gargano was involved in a contest near the end of the show and found himself brutally attacked by TNA’s EC3 and Drew Galloway. For those who don’t remember, Galloway was formerly Drew McIntyre within WWE and EC3 also had a stint as Derrick Bateman. Carter’s former persona gets specifically mentioned by Gargano as he responds to Carter’s words. The details are a bit hard to hear due to the quality of the video, but Ethan Carter III goes on to call out NXT for being the “it” thing when he insists that himself and Galloway are a true success story of the indies. As Carter continues to speak, several EVOLVE wrestlers try to make their way to the ring to stop him, only to be taken out by Carter and Galloway. Eventually, Ethan Page and Johnny Gargano are able to flush Carter and Galloway out of the ring, and Gargano takes the microphone. NXT-competitor Johnny Gargano then challenges EC3 and Drew Galloway to step into the ring and face off with them right there, but in classic heel fashion the offer isn’t accepted by the two TNA-competitors. Gargano then challenges both EC3 and Galloway to a tag team match at EVOLVE 62, which takes place in Florida this June. Even more significant about this is that both NXT and TNA have a history of calling Florida their home. EVOLVE’s Ethan Page stepped up to accept the invitation to tag with Gargano against EC3 and Galloway, and now the battle lines have been drawn. Could this be the beginnings of an NXT vs. TNA war? While it’s unlikely we’ll see even the slightest hint at any of this on a televised NXT event, the chances of a once-desired WWE/TNA collision could be on the horizon with EVOLVE. Stay up to date on the latest news with RealSport, and pay attention as EVOLVE 62 rolls into Florida on June 10th.