Adam Pearce has been one of the most dominating NWA World Heavyweight Champions in recent memory. Within a three year period he has already won the biggest prize in this sport three times and has defended the title all over the world and has fought the best wrestlers that have been put in front of him. By hook or by crook he has been able to hold on to the title by any means necessary. However, for Mr. Pearce to be considered one of the all time greatest NWA World Heavyweight Champions he needs to do one thing, defend the NWA World Heavyweight title in Japan.
Make no mistake about it, Pearce has gone to a lot of territories in the NWA not only here in the US, but also to Mexico and Europe. But to be remembered as one of the best ever he needs to take that plane ride over the Pacific Ocean and take on the best that New Japan has to offer. While we don’t bring this up a lot, New Japan is a member of the NWA but probably doesn’t get mentioned a lot because nobody from New Japan has won an NWA title since Tiger Mask IV. With the rich history that the NWA and the world title has in Japan it might be now the time for our World Heavyweight Champion to start making appearances in New Japan and defend the 10 lbs. of gold. So who would be some of the top challengers to his world title if he decides to go to Japan? Well let me give you a list of a couple of people and tell you why.
Togi Makabe. He is the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion and a wrestler no doubt Bruiser Brody would have been proud of if he was still alive today. While Pearce might be a little bit taller and outweigh Makabe by a couple of pounds he would bring a very raw kind of offense to the champion that he has yet to see. Makabe has that style of wrestling that sometimes is too hard to describe and preparing for a match against Makabe one on one can be hard because you never know what he will bring to the table.
Hiroshi Tanahashi. This man has traveled all over the world to Mexico wrestling for CMLL and in the US for TNA, Tanahashi is one of if not the most popular wrestler in Japan today. Tanahashi has also been successful in his career with championships. A former four time holder of the IWGP Heavyweight title he could bring his quickness and wrestling ability to Pearce that could bring some serious trouble to our champion. If Tanahashi is given the chance, he will do literally whatever it takes to win the title.
Shinsuke Nakamura. One of the most dominating champions in recent history, Nakamura has no trouble what so ever taking a title away from whoever the champion maybe. However, he is coming back from an injury and that may slow him down on his quest towards a shot at Adam Pearce. Nakamura and his biggest rival, Tanahashi, are currently the main faces of New Japan and could be carrying the company into the next decade. But for Nakamura to help lead this company through the decade he must get his shot at Pearce and the title. No doubt he will have tricks up his sleeve if given the opportunity at the world title.
Giant Bernard. Now I’m sure this one might surprise some people reading this however this man has just about everything you would want in a wrestler to be champion. A couple of years ago he made it to the finals of a tournament to crown a new IWGP Heavyweight Champion before losing the match. He is currently one half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions along with Karl Anderson, but Bernard is great in whatever situation you put him in. If it’s tag team or singles, Bernard is a major threat to any championship and is certainly a major threat to Adam Pearce and the NWA World Heavyweight title. So will Bernard get his chance? Who knows, it remains to be seen.
Yuji Nagata. Of all the people who could give Adam Pearce a run for there money it is more then likely Nagata. A veteran of the ring he has been to just about every promotion in Japan and has won a title in Japan. But without a doubt his best work has been in New Japan. With a combination of MMA and wrestling skills, Nagata could be the wild card for the chase for the NWA World Heavyweight title. While Pearce may have less experience then Nagata there is no doubt about it that if these two men ever met one on one, you can throw experience out the window and just let them wrestle. The interesting thing about Nagata is that he can either pin you or make you submit which is a lethal combination which would mean that Pearce would have to look out for whatever Nagata brings because if he made one wrong move, it’s all over.
So there are my thoughts on the men who I feel could give Adam Pearce a scare if he decided to go to New Japan with the title. Hopefully one day soon we can see the NWA World Heavyweight Champion make title defenses in a great country in Japan. The question is though, if Adam Pearce did go to New Japan and defend the title, would he make it out with the gold?