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EC3’s Road to Redemption Begins in NXT

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NXT Takeover: Philadelphia had numerous heartstopping moments throughout the evening, including the return – or debut depending how you look at it – of EC3.

EC3, who went by Derrick Bateman during this tenure in WWE and Ethan Carter III in TNA, made his return to the company for the first time in five years when he appeared in the audience at Takeover.

Fans cheered as the former TNA World Heavyweight Champion was shown on camera. He wasn’t the only new talent to grace Takeover with his presence – Trevor “Ricochet” Mann and War Machine, who recently signed with WWE and began training at the WWE Performance Center, were in attendance as well. Candice LeRae, who also signed with WWE, was in the crowd and even got involved during the NXT Championship match between Andrade “Cien” Almas and Johnny Gargano.

As EC3’s face filled the big screen and television sets at home, Commentator Mauro Ranallo announced that EC3 signed with NXT. WWE confirmed EC3 had signed with NXT in a story on their website. Some fans speculated as to whether or not EC3 would once again go by the Bateman name, but it appears that is not the case.

After the event, EC3 spoke with ESPN about his return to WWE. “The moment was vindication. The moment was resolution,” he said during the interview. “I feel redeemed.”

EC3 is right in that his return to the WWE umbrella is a redemption for him. He had a four-year run in WWE where he spent pretty much all of it in developmental territories. He had spent a little bit of time in NXT when evolved from the FCW developmental territory before his release.

During the interview, EC3 said his one goal was to get back to WWE.

“With each day that has passed, I’ve had one goal in mind — and that was to be here, in this moment at this time for one purpose. Never once, without a shadow of a doubt, did I ever not believe in myself — believe that I would come back. I came back with vigor and determination. I came back on a mission.”

EC3 has built an impressive body of work over the last five years, which began as him being introduced as Dixie Carter’s spoiled nephew in TNA.

EC3 joins a stacked NXT roster that features a plethora of talent in the main event scene. Although some fans may fear he could get lost in the shuffle, the former TNA Champion has a big opportunity to make waves on the brand. Fans have watched TNA alumni Eric Young, Bobby Roode, Drew McIntyre and Samoa Joe shine in NXT’s main event scene.

He also returns to WWE a more polished product than he was when he left the company. The NXT is not getting Derrick Bateman with a new coat of paint. They are getting a new talent, which brings new possibilities.

Although it’s unlikely WWE will acknowledge him as Dixie Carter’s nephew, he could still play a snobby, spoiled rich heel who could feud with popular everyman characters like Johnny Gargano or Roderick Strong, or even against Aleister Black, who is one of the most over babyfaces in NXT.

If the goal is to get him over as a face, he could face off against heels Lars Sullivan or Adam Cole.

EC3’s road of redemption begins now and all signs point to it being a great one for him.

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Tommaso Ciampa Undergoes Successful Surgery

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NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa has undergone successful neck surgery this past Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama, according to WWE.

Ciampa is expected to miss 3-6 months as he recovers from the surgery.

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Ricochet to be Featured on RAW and SmackDown for Time Being

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NXT superstar Ricochet made his surprising main roster debut last week during RAW and his debut on SmackDown the following night, and at least until after WrestleMania 35, he will be featured on both shows.

“I will be on RAW and SmackDown going forward,” Ricochet said, according to WPSD Local 6. “At least until after ‘Mania. After ‘Mania it’s gonna be one or the other, I’m assuming, I don’t know. But, that’s what I’m assuming. But yes, going forward, I am now an official member of RAW and/or SmackDown.”

In celebration of his ascension to the main roster, over 60 of his friends and family held a surprise party to commemorate the milestone.

“This [surprise party] was beyond amazing, It was awesome, Ricochet recalled.

“I got to see family, friends, people I haven’t seen in a long time. I was honestly surprised when I walked in, this was great. It just makes you happy to see that many people care. Whether it is close friends you have known since you were three years old, or people maybe you have never met, it is just cool that you can inspire so many people. Doesn’t matter where you are from, you can live your dream.”

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? February 18, 2019

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The Good

For Raw, they opened the show by saying that a bunch of NXT superstars will make their debuts on the show. This list included Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black, Tomasso Ciampa, and Ricochet. While Gargano, Ciampa, and Ricochet all made their debuts through tag matches, Aleister Black got his singles debut against Elias. It was a solid match which Black won, and helped establish him as a threat for the future.

For Smackdown, we got to see Ricochet’s singles debut and it was great. He defeated Eric Young in a few minutes. His athleticism and high flying ability is entertaining to watch from start to beginning. Hopefully, he makes his way up to the top quickly because he is one the best things going forward for WWE.

The Bad

For Raw, the segment between Lacey Evans and Heavy Machinery felt like a waste of time. During an interview with Heavy Machinery, Evans came out, walked up and down the entrance aisle, then made Heavy Machinery do it. They did so and then the segment ended. This literally felt like WWE just threw that in there to kill time for their show.

For Smackdown, while we finally got to see Asuka on Smackdown since the Royal Rumble, we still have yet to see R-Truth for the past few weeks. It really feels like WWE just flat out doesn’t care about the United States Championship at all.

The Final Verdict

With Elimination Chamber done and Fastlane the next PPV up, WWE needed to ramp the focus to that. With the sudden announcement of NXT superstars making their debuts this week, there was some confusion within WWE’s storytelling. For example, Bobby Lashley for some reason helped out Baron Corbin in his match against Braun Strowman at Elimination Chamber. But, when it came to Corbin’s tables match against Strowman to start Raw, he was nowhere to be found. With that said, I will have to say that Smackdown had the better show this week too. We got build up for Fastlane main event as well as other matches on that PPV. While Raw, still is trying to figure out what to do for that show.

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