WWE official Adam Pearce had a storied career inside the professional wrestling ring before becoming an on-screen executive, including being a 5-time NWA Heavyweight Champion. But why did he retire from in-ring competition?
Pearce addressed this on his Facebook page recently:
The assumption by some fans that injury forced me out of my active wrestling career has been a thing since I stepped away at the end of 2014.
And while I had my fair share of injuries (just like anyone else who ever worked the sort of schedule that I did, by the way), injury had absolutely nothing to do with it.
The truth is that timing, opportunity, and personal circumstance all worked together at the same time to allow a wonderful change to the course of my professional life.
It means that in 2014 at the end of my 19th year of active wrestling, I was emotionally and physically tired. Working for yourself has a great number of advantages, but it’s also very difficult: Building a name reputable and marketable enough to be booked internationally is exhausting. The promotional hustle is exhausting. The networking is exhausting. The travel is exhausting. And I’m not even talking about the actual wrestling itself, or the real life outside of it, both of which can be exhausting. So yeah, I was tired.
But the things that I was exhausted by had given me tremendous experience along the way that afforded me incredible opportunities, the biggest of which was happening during that period of time. Since the end of 2013 in between my bookings, I would periodically fly to the newly opened WWE Performance Center in Orlando to freelance as a coach and trainer, and eventually as a TV and Live Event Producer.
That was all by design. I had taken it upon myself along my two decades to learn how to train/teach, how to book, live event production, and perhaps most valuable of all, how to write and produce wrestling television. I always planned for the day when I wouldn’t be taking bumps, because I love the business and knew that I wanted to be sustainable and reliable and accountable to it long after I was putting on tights and boots.
I planned ahead. I put tools in my toolbox. And WWE gave me the ultimate chance to use them.
I didn’t publicize it then, but I ?had a tryout for WWE in August of 2012. Fun fact, it was the same tryout that Bayley was hired out of. But whereas everyone was there trying out to be a wrestler for WWE, I was not.
Gerry Brisco had long been an advocate of mine, and believed that I could be an asset for the company. He believed in me, not just as a wrestler, but as someone with abilities and experience on on the other side of the camera. He opened the door to my chance to put some of those on display, and he changed my life.
When Bill DeMott extended the opportunity to join WWE full-time on the other side of the camera my way, I jumped at the chance. He changed my life.
I spent a wonderful 11 months at the Performance Center coaching and training the future (which is now, apparently) before I was back on the road full-time, producing TV at the highest level. Four years after that, I was back to performing too…just not in the way that I or anyone that followed my career was used to.
Why? Because that was a tool in my toolbox and I was prepared to use it if circumstance called upon me to do so.
It’s now been almost four years since that call came in.
The point of this rant is simple: I don’t wrestle full-time anymore because 45-year-old me chooses not to. And the fortuitous part of that choice is that 45-year-old me doesn’t have to.
I planned ahead and put tools in the toolbox that I knew I was going to have if I wanted to be a productive member of our industry long after I was done piledriving people and wearing ten pounds of gold.
And my example is a clear one to anybody that wants a lifelong career in our industry: Amass as many skills as you can; learn from everyone you can. There is a lesson in every experience, good and bad, right and wrong. And there is always a reason to put a new tool in your toolbox.
You may never use it…or one day someone very important in your industry might call you and ask you if you can.
And in my experience, it’s always best to be able to answer that question with a resounding yes.
I always love when a superstar is forthcoming about their career and how they got to where they are today. We can all learn something from this story. Props to Adam Pearce for sharing this story!
Get the LATEST RUMORS! Click to sign up for the exclusive Wrestling Rumors daily newsletter.