Get ready for a brand new wrestling show, with an old school feel as NWA presents Samhain Saturday night live from TempleLive at Cleveland Masonic. At least that’s the goal according to the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
EC3 was kind enough to sit down with Cageside Seats ahead of his title defense against Thom Latimer, where he talked about the importance of this PPV for both himself personally and the company itself.
It’s an opportunity for EC3 to make a moment in his hometown and for himself and Latimer to prove to the world just how good they are at what they do. It’s also an important launching point for the NWA, as they harken back to the old territory days, and attempt the perfect marriage between past and present.
Check out our full Q&A with EC3 below:
Disclaimer: The questions themselves have been edited to provide additional information and better fit the written format.
Cageside Seats: Halloween season is always a fun time for professional wrestling. It offers up a little bit of something for everybody. Some promotions are a little more like Beetlejuice, while others are more like The Terrifier. Y’all are promising the most diabolically violent pay-per-view in the 75 year history of the NWA. So for those who are tuning in on Saturday night, it sounds like they’re gonna get more of a Terrifier than they are a Beetlejuice.
EC3: Well, I’ve never seen the Terrifier. Lord knows, I know Beetlejuice like the back of my hand. I would like to hopefully find an in between there. I definitely don’t want people to tune in Saturday, especially the fact that I was selling this pay-per-view to children at a school today, I don’t want them walking into f***ing Saw either.
I think that’s good marketing and it’s in jest. Violent doesn’t mean we’re just gonna trade in headlock takeovers for trash cans, or we’re gonna trade in belly-to-back suplexes for light tubes. I guarantee there’s gonna be a rubber chicken with thumbtacks in it just because, I have an insight with the Brothers of Funstruction. But yeah, violent, diabolical, sure. Buzzwords, cool. But what we really wanna do is push forward our new era, our new direction, and deliver quality content, wrestling, entertainment, physicality with purpose. Storylines that make sense. Characters that you want to see, whether you want to see them win or you want to see them lose. The simplicity and beauty of professional wrestling, hopefully in a nice, tight package.
cSs: I don’t know what your tolerance level for carnage is in movies, but if it’s not high, I don’t suggest watching The Terrifier or the sequel. Just FYI. I do like slasher films, but there’s only a certain level that I can take. And it’s the same with my professional wrestling too. When people start pulling out barbed wire beds, that’s when I know my line is drawing near.
EC3: If we’re doing [barbed wire boards] every Tuesday, it’s stupid. But hypothetically, let’s just say the ‘King of the Death Match’, Matt Cardona, wants to challenge me for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, maybe even post this pay-per-view. And I find it so hilarious that he’s called the ‘King of the Death Match’ that we decide to do what I want to consider the Ultimate Death Match to end all Death Matches. Then maybe we bust it out, because it’s nostalgic and it makes sense. Everything’s fine in moderation. That’s what my sponsor said in 12-Steps.
cSs: Thom Latimer, who you’re gonna be putting the title on the line against Saturday night, this is a guy you have a fair amount of history with. It’s you two in a No Limits Match. You say you’re trying to find that right balance, so how far are you guys willing to take things in this match?
EC3: I think we’re willing to take it as far as anybody possibly, humanly can, because we have the richest prize in the game on the line. But when I talk about no limits, and I think I covered this in one promo, I don’t want the gaga and the gimmicks and the gizmos. We don’t need it. We’re willing to put it all on the line based on the mere fact we’re two physically dominant alphas swinging D’s back and forth. We are. Who is the better man, that day? Who is the better man, overall? And I think within the physicality of the combat, we can portray no limits. Doesn’t mean we need a bunch of dumb s***. We just need 20 to 25 minutes to lay it all out there. Show the world who we are.
Thom Latimer’s one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever wrestled and does not get the credit he deserves. I’m indestructible. I’m an overman. I’m damn near a Demigod. So we’re willing to take it all the way. But one thing I wanted to preface is that this little feud of ours started because of a steel chair. I look at a steel chair in wrestling, it’s kind of your sword so to speak, right? So if we’re harkening back to combat and duals, Middle Ages, a sword is kind of a weapon of honor. It’s a weapon of respect. It’s something we can both be equipped with. If he wants to bring it into play, then by all means bring it into play. But if he doesn’t and wants to settle this as we should, the option is his.
cSs: This is a very dynamic card that’s been put together for NWA: Samhain. Violent J from the Insane Clown Posse, he’s gonna be wrestling his first official match since 2019. I think this is only going to be his fourth match in the last 13 years. Having him involved in the card in this trios match that has him teaming up with the Brothers of Funstruction. That makes all the sense in the World and he’s a nice little addition for those who are gonna tune in on Saturday.
EC3: Violent J loves wrestling and he’s cultivated quite a unique following and fan base, so it’s cool to have him. It’s funny, Violent J is on our flyer. As the Champion, I’m making sure this building sells out. I’m never above doing whatever it takes. And one of these things is I’m going around the town, putting flyers onto things, bringing ‘em into places. And here I am, the World Heavyweight Champion, and someone’s like, ‘Hey, what’s this? Holy s***, is that Violent J?’ I’m like, ‘Yep!’ And he goes, ‘Oh I’m going for sure!’ Good. That’s great!
cSs: I am looking forward to the show, it’s an exciting weekend for NWA. And it’s exciting time for the company as a whole, because Billy Corgan recently announced the revival of the territorial system with NWA Exodus Pro Midwest being revealed as the inaugural affiliate territory. And you’re gonna have a major hand in this, are you not?
EC3: I am. And you know, like everything I’ve been building from the days of [Control Your Narrative] like this is what it was supposed to be. This is what it was supposed to become. So just ‘cause the initials and the named have changed... CYN was never a promotion. It was always a platform for people to tell their story, whether it’s somebody under the radar who wants to be known to the world, or if it’s somebody wants to reinvent themselves. That is what I wanted to create. Now I went through Hell and back based on frivolous lies and insanity.
But regardless, at the end of the day, what it would eventually culminate to is what Exodus is. And that’s almost a feeder system for something bigger. But how do people get noticed? How do people get opportunities? They have to go to places and learn their craft and cultivate their personality. Much like I did with an OVW or an FCW.
So William [Corgan] putting it on the line, kinda reinventing the territories, I wouldn’t say it’s reigniting them because the business has changed so much. Where a territory, we can’t run three to four days a week. It’s not gonna be like that, but it’s the idea of being affiliated and territorial. The business has changed. The content comes out differently. People are noticing people in different and unique ways, and then that’s just giving us a platform to launch people into the stratosphere.
cSs: As you said, the business has changed. You look at the landscape of pro wrestling there’s more talent than there ever has been before. There’s also more of these little pop-up independent promotions than I’ve ever seen before. And while having options is great, it can be kind of hard to stand out. There are also some promotions that talent should probably stay away from. Is the ultimate goal here to be able to expand this network of affiliates and just kind of create like a clear path for the superstars of tomorrow and give them the proper guidance that they truly need?
EC3: Yeah, I think that’s necessary. And it’s kind of where I found myself in the past few years. Hell, I’m the World Heavyweight Champion. I’m at the top of my game, but I can only be this World Heavyweight Champion for another five or eight years, right? So, someday I’m gonna have to pass that proverbial torch. But I do find great fulfillment in helping and guiding. It’s not telling people what to do. It’s giving my insights and opinion and hopefully it’s them becoming better versions of themselves, which translates into their work, their character, their presentation, and their effort.
So the network thing, I think you said is very important. Creating a network of like minds, that can provide a clear path. I don’t know if the path will ever be super clear. If there’s notoriety and eyeballs on something we’re doing, it’s coming from everywhere. And then that leaves the door open for anyone to succeed.
cSs: In a world where everything is bigger and better and everything has to be a spectacle. You’ve had plenty of experience on these big shows where every aspect of it has to be this Emmy level, award-winning production and the pyro budgets are bigger than some school districts have in this country. Is there a calming, like old school feel, to getting back to the basics of doing these territory type shows? What’s it been like to just have fun and focus on professional wrestling again?
EC3: With everything you’ve mentioned, we’ve lost focus on simplicity. And simplicity doesn’t mean you’re not working hard and simplicity doesn’t mean you’re not delivering quality and entertainment. But I think by trying to outthink and out budget and out blow things up, we’re losing focus on what is truly the core of this industry. Which is captivating personalities fighting for themselves, for riches, for honor, for these things and these stories that we can tell.
I think each and every promotion, from the top to the bottom, should take a step back and re-evaluate why we’re doing this. Because what we’re doing now has gone so far out there. We’re kind of working within a niche. We talk about everything being bigger and better and maybe to a minority of fans. But I think we’ve also left a lot of fans hanging, who are not clued in as much as you or I. Or the people [reading], watching or listening to this. I use Marvel often as an analogy. I’ve seen Infinity War, but I can go back and watch Iron Man and still love it. But it’s far simpler and it sets the tone for a lot of things that happen. Where I think we’re trying to get to Infinity War way too fast. Where we’re not having Thor one, Captain America, we’re not having Iron Man. We expect people to know things without telling them the things they need to know, mostly who we are and why we are here.
cSs: How much extra oomph does it give you anytime you get to go out and perform in front of your hometown? Like you will Saturday night.
EC3: It’s funny because I’ve wrestled here, whether it’s independent or with WWE. Actually, I had my dark match for TNA when they were still on the road and it was in Cleveland. But I’ve never had a moment in Cleveland. I’ve been able to win world championships. I’ve been in, quote, five star matches. I’ve had great moments, but I’ve never had anything truly resonate where I felt being at home. So this is an opportunity for me to knock that off. So there will be extra oomph.
Also at the same time, EC3 is billed from Boca Raton. I was never pegged as a Cleveland guy. So a lot of people don’t know I’m from here, which I’ve learned recently.
You know the Gargano’s, Ziggler’s and the Miz’s had more of their Cleveland reputation, where I did not, because it wasn’t part of my identity as a wrestler or character. But now that I can finally be who I truly am, I consider Cleveland, Ohio... I’m gonna call it home-based as my entrance town.
cSs: All right, make your final pitch. You’re putting that NWA World Championship on the line in Cleveland this Saturday. Why should people be tuning in to NWA: Samhain?
EC3 [Immediately in character]: You ever seen a grown man die?! Tune in into NWA: Samhain where I kill Thom Latimer!
cSs: And we’re out. I don’t think we can do any better than that.
EC3 [Answering as himself now]: We are on the precipice of a new era. And what I’m a part of and very proud to be a part of, is what we are building within the NWA. And it’s a return to that simplicity, but it’s not giving into, ‘Oh, we’re old school’. We’re using what’s new and evolving it into what works from the past. And I think that’s the missing sauce in wrestling, where we’re not getting it anywhere else. We’re not getting it Monday’s, Tuesday’s, or Wednesday’s.
It’s dopamine hits. It’s porn to an extent. We delayed gratification, earning it, developing characters. A hot young future, that if they follow my lead, can therefore make it. But at the same time, I don’t know, being the forbearer of this company now into where I want it to go and take it. For me personally, that’s gonna be my career calling card. So that’s what I’m excited about.
Thom Latimer, I mean, we’re gonna have a great match and I’m gonna win and it’s cool, but we’re gonna do the business the right way, which I think lacks from time to time. And I think the definition of what a good and a great, or a five star match, has been lost to a very small hive mind. Good, great five star matches come from the emotions involved and the way they make you feel when they’re done.
Will EC3 come through on his promise to “kill” Thom Latimer and retain his NWE World Championship? Tune in to NWA: Samhain Saturday night on FITE to find out. Coverage starts at 8pm ET/ 5pm PT.
Make sure to check out our full conversation with EC3 in the video at the top of the page. You can follow Rick Ucchino on Twitter and subscribe to the Bleav in Pro Wrestling Podcast Channel for more of his work.