Early days with the World Wrestling Entertainment
Pearce’s first appearance on WWE programming goes back to 1997. When teaming with Rod Bell to take on the Nation of Domination (Crush and Savio Vega) on March 31st, 1997. When in the Midwest, Pearce would work enhancement matches with the WWE. With his next match being against Tiger Ali Singh on August 23rd, 1997, for WWF Shotgun Saturday Night.
Pearce would find success on the Independents in early 2000. By 2003 he was working as the UPW Heavyweight Champion, a WWE developmental promotion. He would then move on to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla where he’d become their world champion. Later he would win the NWA Heritage Championship. That title is still recognized by Championship Wrestling from Hollywood as the Heritage Championship. In the mid-2000s, Pearce would reach high levels of success with Ring of Honor both in front and behind the camera.
From Coach to the Authority
Pearce had several coaching experiences with WWE. Pearce joined the Performance Center full-time in 2015. From there Pearce made the transition from Coach to Agent and Producer. As a producer, he would help coordinate talent for their matches. Pearce would mold future WWE Superstars, although he was never in the main event of a WWE Pay-Per-View.
Five Times Pearce defended his Worlds Heavyweight Title against a Future WWE Superstar
He spent 1078 days as Worlds Heavyweight Champion. Through five reigns, Pearce defended the title a total of 87 times. Pearce faced some of the best free agents in professional wrestling as champion. Pearce defended his title against several future WWE Superstars.
- Seven years passed between title defenses in Pennsylvania. On January 19th, 2008, “Scrap Iron” traveled to McKeepsort, Pennsylvania. Appearing at PWX Genesis to face Corey Graves. Graves wrestled under the name Sterling James Keenan. This match featured on Grave’s podcast After the Bell. Pearce’s first reign as Worlds Heavyweight Champion started when TNA and NWA split. After the delineation, the NWA, it was up to Pearce to face the biggest names representing the NWA and Graves was one of them. Pearce would win the match, but Graves would debut with WWE Development in August 2011.
- Known to WWE Fans as RETRIBUTION’s Slapjack, Shane Thorne (fka Shane Haste) is an Australian Native who landed in Southern California as part of the NWA’s association with Western Australia’s Explosive Pro Wrestling. While on his learning excursion, Slapjack had a rare opportunity to wrestle for the NWA Prize. Slapjack has already earned acclaim in his native EPW as their Heavyweight Champion Pearce would keep and Slapjack would debut with the WWE in April of 2016.
- On June 11th as part of Nexus Stable, Daniel Bryan choked out the ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie. The WWE fired Bryan for being “too violent” when the group ransacked Monday Night Raw and Bryan had a history with Pearce as he defeated Pearce to win a spot in the finals of the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title Tournament, a spot he had to lose, due to a legitimate injury he suffered in Ring of Honor. Now that he was a “free agent” Bryan challenged Pearce for the title at the NWA Legends Fan Fest in Charlotte, North Carolina on August 6th, less than two months after his release. The WWE was quick to hire back the former American Dragon, but not after he would take a loss to Adam Pearce.
- WWE’s Jaxson Ryker was known to NWA Fans as the “Universal Soldier” Phil Shatter. Ryker dominated his area in Georgia with NWA Anarchy and later would rise to regional prominence as the NWA National Champion. His feud with Pearce helped him gain more exposure. The two battled one-on-one four times from February 14th, 2010 to August 6th, 2011 with Pearce never getting a pinfall or submission against Ryker. Ryker defended his National Championship against Pearce while he was between World Title Reigns and Pearce would win his third NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship by defeated Ryker and Blue Demon Jr. Ryker would have limited success with TNA Impact Wrestling and would make his WWE Debut on June 29th, 2017.
- When Adam Cole was introduced as Adam Pearce’s opponent by legendary manager Jim Cornette at Ring Warriors, Cole had already amassed quite the reputation in independent wrestling competing all across the country for top indie promotions like Ring of Honor, Combat Zone Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and more. Pearce would be tested, but in the end it would be his trademark piledriver to put the Young Cole away. Adam Cole would make his WWE debut on September the 14th, 2017 and almost immediately after would join the Undisputed Era.