Ring Rust Radio: It has now been several months since TNA Impact Wrestling joined Pop TV. How has the locker room embraced the change and what’s the feeling backstage as the company continues to make improvements?
Ethan Carter III: I think the talents been there and the creative has been on point. A lot of the guys that are getting the chance now that might not have before are either new, or I don’t want to say weren’t getting it before, but weren’t embracing the opportunity they had. No one is bigger than the business or bigger than the company. We are all gears in the machine and these guys wanted to be gears so bad that when they got put in the machine, they have been knocking it out. The locker room as it stands right now, the morale is high, everyone is in it together, it’s a team atmosphere and we are very proud of what we are doing. I think that shows in the product. Right now there are no bad eggs per say, no downers, and no frowny faces. Everyone is very excited to go to work and achieve something.
Ring Rust Radio: Impact’s ratings have been on the rise as of late and there seems to be a renewed excitement surrounding the product. As one of the top guys who sees how things operate on a day-to-day basis, what’s one thing you believe TNA is doing really well right now either from a company-wide perspective or in terms of the performers, and what’s one thing you believe needs to improve in order to keep the positive momentum going?
Ethan Carter III: The way numbers are I don’t really know. That’s not something I focus on because I think the second that we make that a primary focus is the second we start losing focus on what we’re doing really well. What I think we are doing great is continuity, character development and stories that are logical and make sense. We are progressing beyond the typical “boo a guy” and “cheer a guy” because they are bad or good. Characters have motivations and reasons for what they do and the talent has the opportunity to embrace that character and make it their own and run with it. I think that’s what we’re doing really well and that’s what we need to continue to focus on. To get better we cannot rest on a laurels or success. We can’t think that people are saying the shows really good now so we can stop. No we can’t. We have to work harder and we have to do better to continue improvement and continue to focus. All rolls up into a nice little package and were off to the races with a pretty good wrestling show, so rock ‘n roll with that.
Ring Rust Radio: The biggest news recently was the retirement of Daniel Bryan. As someone who worked closely with Bryan during your run with WWE, what is your perception of Bryan the man and what are your thoughts on his retirement?
Ethan Carter III: Daniel Bryan the man is one of the best dudes ever. He is the best dude, I don’t know how to describe it. He is the most well-respected wrestler and just the best dude. Can I say best dude again because I will, he is the best dude. It’s very unfortunate to lose a guy especially because we don’t even know if he hit prime with how good he was. Concussions are scary and dangerous, this business is dangerous, and we lost one of our best, if not the best. It’s very sad, but I am very happy because I know that guy will succeed no matter what he does. Hope for him to have a great future which I know he will, and he’s got a hot wife so what can really go wrong? I’ll miss him dearly, but I mean what a legacy he left. A trendsetter who broke down the doors to so many different things; a model of inspiration to anyone who loves wrestling or wanted to be a pro wrestler. Bless him and Godspeed DB.
Ring Rust Radio: Donny mentioned Daniel Bryan’s retirement, but Kurt Angle also announced his retirement from TNA. How has working with Kurt helped you progress in the ring and with your character?
Ethan Carter III: I only got into wrestling because of Kurt Angle. He was my favorite at the time when I was in my early teens and I wanted to do what he did for a living. So he was a guy I was watching and studying, so someday I would have the chance to be able to work with him at a high level for a world title. That was my dream match and I got to have it. So seeing him go sucks, and it really does suck because we all respect him greatly. He’s a cool uncle in the locker room; we love him and were going to miss him. Working with him is a great honor in my life, and not only working with him, but being able to go out there and tell a story of him symbolically passing me the torch. From the things he said to me afterwards and the care he took with me, telling me things, talking business, talking shop, he didn’t need to do any of that and he went out of his way to really help me out and stick up for me. He helped pay the way for me, so to speak. I have nothing but respect, love and admiration for Kurt Angle. I’m going to miss him and especially going to miss because I want to have one more match and I didn’t get to have it so that’s unfortunate.