February 24, 2013
Gary Mehaffy
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An interview with Adam Pearce

Interview conducted Monday, February 19th, 2013.

Youíre currently on the other side of the world in Australia. How has it been as an experience?
- It's always a great time down under. I'm blessed to be able to make this journey time and again and grateful to be able to help the Aussie wrestling community in any way I can.

Before we talk about some of your wrestling career (so far!) itís on record that when you were in your late teens you suffered from Acute Muscular Compartment Syndrome. Can you let everyone know what exactly happened to cause it and do you still have any effects from it today?
- I have no idea what causes it; not certain that there is a "cause" necessarily. I've always looked at it as a birth defect more than anything. Once I had the operation to correct it and went about my rehab and, in effect, learned to walk again, I resumed "life" without any lingering issues.

You were very sporty when you were young, but were you a fan of pro wrestling before you got involved in it?
- I enjoyed pro wrestling, but not to the extent that some did. Unlike many of my contemporaries, I honestly didn't dream of Madison Square Garden or main eventing WrestleMania. I never thought I'd ever end up being in the profession, and certainly not for as long as I have, but I am so very grateful that life has taken me along this path.

Who has been involved in your training over the years?
- I was trained at first by Sonny Rogers and Randy Ricci in Chicago. Then Ace Steel and Danny Dominion at the Steel Domain. I've been fortunate to have had stints at the WCW PowerPlant and New Japan Tokyo Dojo as well. I'd like to think that the "on the job" experience I've acquired has been perhaps even more invaluable. Observing gentlemen like Nick Bockwinkel and JJ Dillon and William Regal, and working alongside men like Jim Cornette, Ric Flair, and Percy Pringle have afforded me opportunities to learn that few ever have.

You have wrestled in all over the world, and continue to do so, in an era where many younger guys breaking into the industry donít have the opportunities to spread their wings just as wide. How vital do you feel that those experiences have been to help make you into the performer you are?
- This goes somewhat hand-in-hand with my previous answer, but I look at the things I've been able to be a part of over the years and I truly appreciate all of them. To be able to travel and work practically everywhere that a performer would want to has allowed me the luxury of experience and the gift to be able to pass that along. My duty is as much to the performance as it is the education of those who will continue to perform.

You had a few tryouts for WCW around the end of the 1990ís/beginning of the 2000ís. How serious do you think that their interest was in you at the time?
- I would assume being offered contracts would speak to the seriousness of their interest. That was an interesting time for me.

Around this time you took several months off from wrestling. What led to you feeling as burnt out as you did?
- Disappointment with my experiences with WCW. The expectations that I had come to possess as a 20-year-old kid were shattered relatively quickly, and my naivety - both in and out of wrestling - forced me to make decisions that a more experienced man may not have made. You were offered a full tour of NJPW in 2005 but turned it down. Why was that and in hindsight does any part of you regret it?
- I turned down several tours in and around that time. My life situation at that point was such that I simply couldn't be away for three weeks at a time. Nothing more, nothing less. I'm happy for the time I was able to spend in Japan for NJPW and happy to have had the opportunities that the company afforded me, but it honestly was a case of "right place, wrong time".

You also joined ROH in 2005. How excited were you to be getting an opportunity there, given the roster that they had at the time?
- Without ROH and the NWA, I truly believe my time in wrestling would have come to pass at that point. Ring of Honor gave me a platform I hadn't had to that point and went on to give me incredible opportunities to learn and grow in our industry. I love Cary Silkin for what he's given me.

In September 2008 it was said that you were leaving ROH due to budgetary issues, but almost exactly a month later you returned to the company replacing Gabe Sapolsky as head booker. What were the circumstances that led to this?
- Cary Silkin wanted change, and he believed me worthy of making those changes. A pretty crazy time for me.

Can you elaborate on what led to you leaving the company in 2010?
- That, my friend, is a tale for the book I'll probably never write. Until that time the exit statement I furnished at that time stands.

Is the door open for you to return there, and do you have any wish to?
- I would never look past an opportunity to return home. I was honored to return last March in Florida.

We have recently seen Jim Cornette be replaced by Hunter Johnston/Delirious as booker. Just how stressful is the responsibility of leading the direction of a company such as ROH?
- The most difficult and thankless job in wrestling. Also one of the most important. There is so much more to the job than simply writing story lines. I loved every second of it.

You have been NWA champion on 5 separate occasions. To todayís casual wrestling fan, the landscape is dominated by WWE then, to a lesser degree, TNA. Where do you see the NWA fitting in to that equation?
- Not certain it does, and I mean no disrespect to the brand. Obviously my time and relationship with the NWA is well documented and one I'll always be grateful for, but within the context if your question 98% of wrestling companies don't fit into the "equation". WWE and TNA are the national brands, and everyone else exists more within their own "bubble" of sorts.

In the 65 years of the current version of the title, you are 7th on the all-time list of NWA champions for combined days holding the belt. How proud are you of that?
- Not certain what you mean about "current version", but my time as NWA champion has come to pretty much come to define me as a performer. Representing the NWA as its champion and taking Sweet Charlotte around the globe has been something I'll always cherish.

There was some controversy surrounding you vacating the title this past October (coincidentally also during a trip to Australia!) as part of your best-of-seven series with Colt. Some people thought it was a work others felt it was a genuine grievance on your part. Would you care to set the record straight?
- SevenLevelsOfHate.com. The documentary will be out sometime this summer.

You have feuded/teamed/helped with the training of several guys who are currently on the WWE or TNA rosters (Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, Chris Hero, Claudio Castagnoli, etc.) but you have never made the move yourself. Two questions: firstly, what interest has there been from either TNA or WWE to hire you?
- I've been lucky to have had different levels of interaction with people in both companies over time. I think it would take a very specific role in order to see me a part of either situation.

Secondly; do you regret that you never got the chance to perform for either of the two companies?
- I never have regrets, though for the sake of accuracy, I performed several times for the then-WWF in the late nineties.

There have been many guys signed from ROH to, in particular, WWE over the last year or two. How damaging do you think this could end up being for ROH as a company?
- It is the nature of our industry. People come and go, move on, move up. Evolve.

At one stage you suggested that you might not really wrestle much past the end of 2012. Youíre still young Ė what does the future hold for you in regards to wrestling?
- Who knows!? I don't envision a time when I'm not involved with wrestling in some fashion.

You have dipped your toes into the acting industry. Is this something that you would like to develop more in the future?
- Certainly! Lots of parallels to what I've experienced in wrestling, and something I find intriguing. Acting, motion capture, I enjoy it all.

Do you have anything that you wish you could go back and change about your career to this point?
- No, I have no regrets. The only thing I may take a look at is the first WCW contract offer I declined.

Conversely, is there anything that you really wish you had the chance to do but havenít yet?
- I'd like to ply my trade in a place with money behind it; test my worth on a bigger stage.

Any closing words for the fans?
- THANK YOU. Without you, people like me would have to get real jobs.

garymehaffy@hotmail.co.uk

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