Through no fault of his own, The Top One Percent has basically been buried by management from the moment he arrived on the Raw. The early vignettes hyping up his debut in December 2018 generated excitement among fans, but it was all downhill once he was shown spraying himself with a water bottle backstage during a show.
As if that wasn't bad enough, he was apparently incapable of speaking for the first few months of his main-roster run. For weeks, he was featured in several segments alongside other enhancement talent without uttering a single word.
Despite having a gift of gab, EC3 hasn't been able to cut many, if any, real promos on WWE TV. Rather, he's been cast off as a joke and utilized as a punching bag more often than not.
The closest he came to being taken seriously as a star on the rise was when he scored an upset victory over Dean Ambrose in his in-ring debut on Raw back in February. Of course, that was when Ambrose was killing time ahead of his contract expiring and was already on a losing streak, so EC3's win largely meant nothing.
It didn't help that WWE essentially turned Ambrose babyface by breaking the news that he wasn't interested in re-signing with them, causing crowds to not care about EC3 and instead choosing to side with the departing Lunatic Fringe.
That was the beginning of the end for EC3 in WWE. Once Ambrose avenged his loss to EC3 the next week on Raw, the former Impact World champion was relegated to wrestling on Main Event, the ultimate purgatory.
The 2019 Superstar Shake-up would have been the perfect time to ship him over to SmackDown Live for a fresh start with Drake Maverick (with whom he has history from IMPACT). Apparently, the idea for Maverick to manage him was abandoned after their one-off pairing for a SmackDown dark match in April went nowhere.
EC3 stayed put on Raw and was viciously attacked by Braun Strowman his first night as an official member of Team Red's roster. Although he held the 24/7 Championship on Raw recently (albeit briefly), it doesn't look like EC3 will be getting his just due any time soon in WWE.
For starters, there's way too much talent on Raw right now for EC3 to be considered a priority. Cesaro and Bobby Roode are also waiting in the wings for a proper push, and they're arguably higher up on the pecking order than he is.
The Wild Card Rule doesn't help matters, either, with an abundance of Superstars from SmackDown taking up television time on Raw week after week. As long as that is in effect, EC3 will largely be limited to showcasing his skills on the show most viewers aren't aware still exists (a.k.a. Main Event).
Even if Executive Director of Raw Paul Heyman were interested in suddenly reviving EC3's career, it would take a lot for fans to view him as anything more than an undercard competitor after all the damage he's endured so far this year.
The biggest mistake WWE made with NXT was calling him up prematurely with no plan in place. He could have been a game-changer on either brand but ended up floundering because of a poorly defined character and lack of direction. Clearly, they ignored what worked so well for him in IMPACT and NXT.
With Tyler Breeze and Killian Dane returning to their roots in NXT over the last month, perhaps EC3 could follow in their footsteps and head back to the brand he never should have left as soon as he did. Of course, that's easier said than done considering how stockpiled with star power NXT is these days, so anyone hoping for that to happen shouldn't hold their breath.
At this point, it's near-impossible to classify EC3 as anything but a lost cause in WWE. The longer he wastes away, the harder it will be for him to escape obscurity. Unfortunately, the only answer may be for him to leave the promotion and pursue other opportunities the first chance he gets.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.