Next weekend, while most of the notable talent on the American pro wrestling scene (and a lot of names from elsewhere, as well) will be in Dallas for WrestleMania weekend, TNA’s Ethan Carter III was set to go to England for bookings with both Southside Wrestling and Preston City Wrestling. The promoters of the two groups are friends and generally split the transportation costs of international talent, so they tend to share each other’s outside names. Today, via nearly identical statements from both Southside and PCW that were posted on their respective websites, it was announced that TNA has pulled EC3 from both dates, telling PCW that ”Unfortunately nothing can be done. This is a network commitment and something he had no control over.”
As of this writing, it’s unclear exactly what kind of “network commitment for Pop TV (or perhaps an international partner like Sony Six in India) came up. The same goes for why it necessitated EC3 being pulled from his WrestleMania weekend bookings on eight days’ notice. The Southside statement said that they were told EC3 was needed to do “media work.”
Being that the show is WrestleMania weekend and just about every suitable replacement you can think of is already booked in Dallas on at least one of the many area independent shows, this is a much more difficult to solve problem than even a normal short notice pull-out for an international guest star. In his statement, PCW wonder Steven Fludder noted this issue, but promised the fans that “I have worked hard to secure somebody and subject to him finding his passport we may have another guest from the USA.” The other international fly-ins who are booked on the show (Ken Anderson , Cedric Alexander , Angelico , Eddie Kingston, and Jade) are still appearing.
This is the second time in the last several months that TNA has pulled EC3 from UK bookings on short notice, the previous occasion being so he could go do promotional work for TNA’s tour of China. You may remember that TNA’s tour of China ended up never happening. At PWInsider.com, Mike Johnson explained that according to his TNA sources, the latest cancellation was complicated by EC3 being booked directly instead of through the TNA office. Apparently, TNA took the stance that there was nothing they could really do, whereas they tried to make the situation right when James Storm (who must be booked through TNA per the terms of his new contract) had to be pulled for similar reasons this week.
Of course, just because TNA felt no obligation to help PCW and Southside doesn’t mean they couldn’t have tried to find out who was available this week that would be a suitable replacement for EC3. That said, as Dave Meltzer noted at F4WOnline.com, the most suitable replacements under TNA contract are already booked. The Hardys and Drew Galloway will be in Dallas. Bobby Lashley will be in Mexico, but that’s on Wednesday so he might be able to be freed up.