Written Date: 3/14/21
Spud v. EC3 by: the essential character
Inspired by @daily.ec3source post.
“I hate this guy!” I said to someone I once had relations with while watching TNA Impact.
I was tuning in to see my dear friend Trent? (#HPM), upon his first TV appearance since his release. Trent was competing in a triple threat match against someone I forget at this writing and someone I would not only never forget, but come to love like a brother.
Now being within the business, we understand that certain people are there to create certain reactions. The character portrayed isn’t always an indication of the performer behind the character. A viewer was supposed to hate Spud, but I wasn’t hating him as a spectator. I was hating him as a man. There was something about him, obnoxious in both face and attire. Grating in voice in cadence. Appalling to my senses in attire and presentation. Little did I know, I was feeling the exact emotion Spud was seeking to achieve.
“Something about him... pisses me off.” I said.
Spud is that good at his job.
When I arrived in Impact as the totally real nephew of Dixie Carter, we immediately began working together amongst a faction called Dixieland. My initial disdain was quickly halted because we shared a bond that signifies we would have a “like mind” in how we approach our business.
We spent time training under Rip Rogers.
Together we both understood business before ego. The little things matter. Fundamentals, story telling, and making everything mean something. We lived by a Ripism that “if you’re going to be a heel, BE A F*CKING HEEL.”
A fast friendship emerged both on screen and behind the scenes. We gravitated toward each other. We “talked shop” constantly. We arrived early, we stayed late, and we watched EVERYTHING. We took great pride in the creativity we exhibited (and the freedom provided) to run roughshod over any promo, segment, or match we had. Dude even began following me to the gym.
We were inseparable. Hell, we still are.
As the time was coming for ec3 to transition into a more prominent roll, to becoming a “top guy,” and to be prepared to take on one of the greatest wrestlers to ever live, a change was required. A significant evolution had to take place. A sacrifice had to be made.
We had to break up.
Without research, I don’t recall what led to our dissolution, but I did know the culmination was going to take place in his home land, an hour from his birthplace, Wembley Arena in London.
With how TV was shot, we had weeks of television shot over a few days in Orlando before the UK Tour which would encompass 6 weeks of television over 3 nights.
Knowing that my opportunity to be who and what I wanted to be was on the horizon, I trained. Hard. I trained so hard that in the midst of training at Hard Nocks South, I tore my bicep off the bone. Just popped right off. I remember telling my trainer Rob MacIntyrie when he asked what happened, “I feel like my bicep just tore.”
Rob took one look at it and said “uhh, you did.”
The bicep rolled up my arm, and looked like it retracted to the top off my shoulder. There it was, a muscle, just unattached. An horrendous mess. Hanging there all Willy Nilly. As with usual my initial reaction to any injury was “how long till I can come back?” My second was “what happens to my match with Spud?”
The clock was ticking as the tour was only a few weeks away, and the timing required for surgery and healing to be even close to ready was three months minimum. It required surgery, but I contemplated not having it, and living the rest of my life with a goofy ass looking arm (a vanity death sentence for a #dementednarcissist like me.)
On a pure chance and coincidence, a spot opened up with renown surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, and to have the best in the world available to fix this, immediately, it was difficult to pass up. I made the decision to rush there, have the surgery, and then make another difficult decision.
When to have the match?
In theory, we could’ve pushed the match to the next taping loop in Orlando, and use the UK tour to continually build the feud. I’d have more time to heal, far less risk of reinjury, and still get to where we were both going. But I knew, deep down, the experience that we can both have, in the UK, in front of his fans, his friends, his families, it was too perfect of a story (win or lose) to not have it in that place. In that moment. Another decision was made.
I’m going to England to f*ck up my best friend.
What made this all so special and so satisfying for Spud and I was that it was never supposed to happen. It was supposed to be a clean break, we both move on. But we fought for it. We fought for it as hard as we fought each other. We had an unexplainable unique dynamic together that truly resonated with fans, and ourselves. As lovers of this industry, it was our first real feeling of what brought us both into the business. Emotion.
It was also as self-made as any feud could be. We crafted every interaction. We brought in our real life friend Jeremy Borash. He did a dive. HE SACRIFICED HIS HEAD OF HAIR FOR US. We poured our souls out on every promo. I loved everything we said to each other. It was impassioned and real. We took from everything that inspired us. Spud called me dick nose. I head butted him so hard we may have both concussed ourselves. We borrowed from Last Action Hero. Spud, myself, Jeremy, Impact’s fans, everyone involved felt what we were doing, and it is that rare thing in wrestling that happens only so often.
Spud donned the colors of England’s World Cup winning football team. He knew the fans would began singing the national anthem if he stood center ring with arms behind his back. The production did not and right before they hit my music I grabbed a hand and said “WAIT.”
He was right. The fans sang.
I entered the arena, and felt the energy. For the first time in a career of near hits and many misses, it was the feeling I’ve always sought. What I’ve always wanted. What we’ve always wanted.
Together we built something. Together we will finish it.
The story had been set and the match is taking place. It didn’t and shouldn’t be anything other than what it was. Simple. Elegant. Brutal.
This not about moves, this is about emotion.
I was tentative, apprehensive a bit due to the very real fact my bicep may tear. Spud guided me through.
I clotheslined him so hard he had enough energy to tell me “F*ck mate, we already got their money.”
I made my disadvantage an advantage and buried a metal arm brace into his forehead.
He bled. He bled for us. Our story, but most importantly he bled for me.
In the midst of a thorough ass kicking, he caught me with a “Stunner” out of nowhere, something he had no desire to do. He covered. 1...2...OHHH. I was right.
His ass was kicked more. His blood flowed like the river Thames. (This sounded real cool in my head.)
He took a beating. He never quit. He refused to give up. And he found new life.
He came back with an animalistic ferocity. Spud was the lion, the tiger, and the gazelle, I once told him he was, all in one. Spud brought every bit of rage and fury one could bring upon a brother who committed the ultimate sin. Betrayal.
Spud had me on the ropes and prepared to deliver his final blow. Only by happenstance was I able to avoid his maneuver and once again use my disadvantage in a sinister, yet legal way. One perfect shot from a metal brace to an already open wound.
Spud was defeated physically, but not spiritually. We both knew it was over, but in a moment where his blood soaked face stared defiantly into my, I had not only realized the error of my ways, the destruction of our sacred bond, but the immense respect I had for this man.
I delivered the kill shot. Mercifully, I ended the match.
What followed next was a moment of reaction, in real time, in our very real reality that just transpired live and on screen.
I spoke from the heart.
Every word I said, I meant. Spud deserves respect. He fights for those he loves, and himself. Spud has everything to be proud of. His mother and father in attendance should be beaming with pride over the man they have raised. Spud is one of, if not the most, committed, professional, passionate people I have encountered in my entire tenure in this industry. He deserves and has earned the best. Spud was my mate, my best friend, and my brother. I love him.
Then I shaved that f*ckers head.
In the afterglow of that match, it was a feeling I’ll never replicate, I wouldn’t know how. It was a perfect moment for me, and hopefully for him. We did everything we could to tell our story, our way, and hopefully delivered a climactic finish worthy. We Controlled The Narrative.
Side note: We did not see each other after the match. I had to prepare for something (that never happened) and he had to get patched up to GO BACK OUT THERE (where I believe he won the XDivision championship.)
I took a shower, my best dudes blood circling the drain like I’m in the movie Psycho. It was just euphoric feeling, can’t stress it enough. As I left the shower, wearing nothing but a towel, down the hallway, there Spud was. Fresh off his win, looking like the Spirit of 76.
We made eye contact. Silence. And then almost simultaneously we both smiled and laughed. We literally lived the scene from Die Hard where Bruce Willis finally meets Reginal Vel Johnson as they together thwarted Hans Gruber and his goons.
A climactic finish neither of us will ever forget.