HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
OWW’s Wrestler of the Week — Adam Pearce
Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, profiles the Scrap Daddy, who regained his NWA World Heavyweight championship by forcing Brent Albright to submit to an Arm Breaker.
A solid start
Adam Pearce began his wrestling training at the age of 16. He worked his first match just one month before his 18th birthday. Adam worked the independent circuit in and around his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Adam also did a run in a short-lived Florida promotion, WXO. During his time in Florida, he came to the attention of road agents of the WWF. They used Adam several times between 1997 and 1999, basically as a jobber. He went by the name of Adam O’Brien.
Back to the Indies
After his two year run with the WWF, Adam returned to the independent circuit, full-time. He became a stand-out in the mid-America territories. During this time, he began a long-running feud with C.M. Punk. Pearce would eventually defeat Punk in a Loser Leave Town match. Punk would then head to Ring of Honor. Pearce would join him there, later on.
Pearce used his time in the indies to learn from some of the biggest stars in the industry, past and present. including Samoa Joe, Frankie “KAZ” Kazarian, “Diamond” Dallas Page, Jimmy Snuka, and more. Pearce also took bookings in Mexico. It was in Mexico that he became friends with Nicho El Millionario (Psicosis). They would later form a stable in the NWA with Karl Anderson and Joey Ryan.
After Mexico, Pearce worked the California markets to gain further training. He would feud with just about everyone on the California rosters. In the Spring of 2005, Adam began working ROH shows done in unison with local promotions. He battled Austin Aries (Starr) over the ROH title. Eventually, Pearce would officially joined Ring of Honor.
Respect and Honor
After a few matches, Ring of Honor courted Pearce to become their next big star. Pearce had mixed success during his run in ROH. He was part of some of the biggest angles in the company, at that time. He came up on the losing end more often than the winning side. One of Adam’s biggest feuds during this time was against Sean “X-Pac” Waltman. The feud would re-ignite, numerous times, over the next three years.
Pearce also joined two major factions during his run in ROH. He was hand-picked as a member of Team Prazak. They battled Roderick Strong‘s Team Strong. Team Prazak was composed of Pearce, Samoa Joe, American Dragon (Bryan Danielson), Austin Aries and Jimmy Rave. Dave Prazak served as the team’s leader. They would eventually fall before the Strong team. Adam was also chosen to serve as a member of Team ROH in the battles between ROH and rival promotion, Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW). Pearce faired quite well in these matches, beating some of the best CZW had to offer. Pearce also kept himself fresh by taking numerous bookings for small independents during the two years in ROH. Eventually, Adam Pearce would be chosen to temporarily replace Jim Cornette as the presiding official for ROH. Cornette needed time off to have an old knee injury tended to (possibly the injury suffered during a Scaffold Match back in the 80’s). Pearce was given the title of Deputy Commissioner. He did his best to make life difficult for his enemies during his time as D-C.
NWA and ROH
The NWA began to promote highly in the Las Vegas market. Big VIsion, the company that produced the WSX promotion for MTV, wanted to create a “new” promotion to replace the failed WSX. Pearce was approached by the top people in NWA to join the re-born organization. The NWA was never a dead entity, but it had slipped from the national spotlight after leaving both WCW and TNA. Pearce agreed to work for the NWA, but wanted to continue his career in ROH. All parties came to an agreement where Pearce’s talent would be shared.
Pearce began to appear on Build-up shows for the new NWA program, which would air on the Dish Network’s ColoursTV channel. In fact, Pearce was the very first person to appear on NWA Wrestling Showcase (2008). Pearce would become the top man in ROH during this time. Pearce feuded with Colt Cabana, Sean Waltman and quite a few others in ROH, as he continued to work for the NWA. Pearce’s first NWA gold was winning the NWA Heritage championship. He would eventually drop that belt to Sean Waltman.
During the summer of 2007, the NWA began a tournament to determine the new NWA World champion. The championship had been in limbo since the split between TNA and NWA. Pearce would beat Aaron Aguilera and Chad Parham to advance to the semi-finals of the NWA tournament. American Dragon Bryan Danielson defeated Pearce in the semi-finals. The finals were set: Danielson v Brent Albright. Due to an injury, Danielson was unable to compete in the finals. Pearce was given the opportunity to step in and replace Danielson. Oddly enough, Danielson would still play a significant role in deciding the new NWA champion. Durig the battle between Pearce and Albright, the ref on record was knocked out. Danielson, serving as Special Guest Enforcer, took over. Pearce and Albright became tangled after a suplex. Danielson counted the three count, but it was not clear who had won the title. Danielson shocked the Puerto Rican crowd when he handed the belt to Pearce.
Pearce would hold the NWA World championship for 11 months and 1 day (9/1/2007-8/2/2008). During those 11 months, he defended the title against newcomeers like Alkatraz and Sean Denny, as well as veterans like Albright and Sean Waltman. During this time, Pearce had three different managers/assistants. Pearce had utilized the services of Shane Hagadorn as both a manager and tag team partner. Shane would return in the summer of 2008 to form a successful tandem with Adam under the banner of Sweet and Sour, Inc. The leader of that group was Adam’s second manager, Larry Sweeney. During his appearances on the NWA Showcase, Adam also used rotund manager C. Edward Vanderpyle. It was under Vanderpyle’s leadership that Pearce joined Karl Anderson, Joey Ryan and Nicho el Millionario as The Elite (unofficial stable name). Ryan and Anderson, the Real American Heroes, held the NWA World tag belts.
The Elite would begin to fall apart in the spring of 2008. Ryan and Anderson would lose their tag belts to rivals, Los Luchas (Zokre & Phoenix Star). Anderson would then leave the area to refocus in Japan. Pearce would be upset in several non-title matches during the spring and summer of 2008. On August 2, 2008, Brent Albright, the man Pearce beat for the NWA strap, would force Pearce to submit and thus lose his beloved title. Their feud had reached new heights of brutality. During one match prior to the title change, Albright was disqualified for repeatedly striking Pearce in the head with stiff knee shots. In another match, Pearce was disqualified for throwing a fireball in Albright’s face.
Back on top
Over the next month, Adam Pearce, now fully-aligned with Sweet and Sour Inc., would continue to brutalize Albright. Several attacks by Pearce injured the arm of Albright. The two men squared off in a rematch at the Ring of Honor PPV taping held on Saturday, September 20, 2008. The match was held in the Alhambra Arena aka the old ECW arena or Viking Hall. Pearce focused all his energy on the injured arm of Albright and finally forced him to submit to an Arm Bar Submission. That victory catapulted “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce back to the top of one of the oldest wrestling organizations in the US.
“Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce has worked his way from independent stardom to becoming the leader of the pack in the NWA. He is also a top star in Ring of Honor and may eventually look to unify the belts. Pearce is an energizing force in wrestling that could help bring both the NWA and ROH up to levels equal to TNA, perhaps even close to the WWE. He is charismatic and talented. He is a throwback to the Old School tradition of wrestling. He is already being compared with Jack Brisco, The Funks and Harley Race. His name will likely enter the history books as one of the best NWA champions of all time. It is my honor to award this week’s OWW Wrestler of the Week award to the new NWA World champion, “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce.