Analyzing the Rise of Adam Pearce as the Authority Figure of WWE
Adam Pearce is the most prominent authority figure on WWE television these days, but if you aren't familiar with his background, he might just seem like some random guy the company decided to put in charge.
In reality, though, he is a 25-year veteran of the business who has worked around the world. He is a five-time NWA champion and spent several years working for Ring of Honor.
Most of the people you watch on TV these days have spent some time in the ring with the man affectionately known as "Scrap Iron" because of his toughness.
Over the past year, the 42-year-old has gone from a producer who was breaking up fights backstage to the main decision-maker and the face of WWE management.
Let's take a look at Pearce's background, his current role and why he is so important right now.
He's Been Around for Quite Some Time
Pearce began his wrestling journey as a teenager in 1996 and had his first match shortly before graduating high school. After he was free to pursue pro wrestling as a full-time career, he did just that.
Scrap Iron has worked for several promotions in the U.S. along with companies in Mexico and Japan. His most notable run happened in ROH, but he found most of his success with NWA.
Pearce has held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship five times, as well as a slew of other belts from indie promotions all over the country.
Everybody from Adam Page and Eddie Edwards to Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens have worked with Pearce. He is one of those guys who has helped shape wrestling as we know it today in a way most fans don't realize.
After spending two decades working for smaller companies, Pearce joined WWE in 2015 as a full-time coach for the Performance Center and a producer for NXT.
His Role on TV Was Small at First
At first, Pearce was only involved behind the scenes. He helped train future WWE Superstars and worked with NXT before being promoted to a producer for Raw and SmackDown.
His job as a producer is the same as many of the other veterans we see backstage, but Pearce's role began to gradually expand in 2018.
He regularly appeared to break up fights between Superstars, and every time he would pop up, people who knew him from the indie scene would point him out on Twitter. It almost became a game of "Where's Waldo" to find him every week.
At the time, Pearce was one of many producers who would show up to keep people separated along with Dean Malenko, Jamie Noble and others.
In January 2020, though, Pearce began becoming the go-to authority figure for making matches and settling disputes.
The Lack of Authority Figures Creates an Opportunity
Until a few years ago, WWE almost always had an authority figure for Raw and SmackDown. It was usually two separate people and other than Teddy Long's stretch running the blue brand, most have been heels.
Toward the end of 2019, the company began to move away from this practice. It helped tighten up storytelling, but it also left WWE without a handy way to book matches on the fly.
Superstars were even setting up their own fights at one point, and that made it look like Raw and SmackDown were sailing without a captain. It didn't take long for management to realize it needed a representative who could appear to have authority.
This is where Pearce came in. At first, he was just the messenger telling people what was happening. As his role grew, so did his influence. He is now the sole figure on television who everybody goes to for answers.
He filled a void without knowing it would become a permanent role. The attention he received on social media whenever he popped up likely helped WWE make the decision to give him some power.
How Important Will He Be Moving Forward?
With Pearce now known to millions of fans as the de facto leader in WWE, he has become one of the most important characters in the company.
The reason he has excelled in his role is that WWE has allowed him to be fair and call things right down the middle. He doesn't favor the good guys or the bad guys.
His decision to award The Miz the Money in the Bank contract after John Morrison tried to cash it in for him at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs is just one example of him doing what he thought was right, not what he wanted to do. He even made it clear he would have preferred to laugh at The A-Lister for his misfortune but gave him back the briefcase because it was what he had to do.
Pearce has the background to be respected by both the fans and the Superstars, enough experience to not be intimidated easily and a personality that stands out without outshining those in the ring.
WWE has needed somebody like him for a long time because he can help move storylines along and provide the voice of management that was missing for some time.
As 2021 continues, we will likely see Pearce continue to be a regular fixture on WWE television. As long as he keeps doing his job well, there is a good chance he will be inserted into more storylines as he has been with Owens and Reigns.
He might not have the scream of Vickie Guerrero or the swagger of Teddy Long, but he does have an on-screen presence that has helped him carve out a spot on TV without needing to lace his boots up again. He will continue to be an important part of WWE programming while passing along his knowledge and experience to the current roster and next generation of Superstars.
If you have never seen Pearce wrestle, seek him out on YouTube. There are tons of great matches there with recognizable Superstars from WWE and every other promotion.