I recently had the opportunity to speak to NWA Worlds Champion Adam Pearce, who has been spending the better part of 2010 crisscrossing the globe wrestling and defending the NWA Worlds Champion, a title that dates back to 1948 and has been worn around the waist of legendary professional wrestlers like Lou Thez, Ric Flair, Harley Race, Gene Kiniski, Buddy Rogers, and Terry Funk. Pearce’s combined three reigns has ranked him tenth in all time days holding the Legendary 10lbs. of Gold and Leather. In this edition of the 5 Count, we’ll talk to “Scrap Iron” about his tenure in Southern California, traveling across the United States, being the star of a weekly wrestling television show, Mach-1 Wrestling’s Slam and Jam, and his big showdown with arch-nemesis Colt “Boom-Boom” Cabana on Sunday March 6th.
Jay Cal: In the month of February, you were highlighted on three different professional wrestling programs across the North America; NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, Canadian based WFX Wrestling’s Overload, and NWA Mountain State in West Virginia. What does it mean for the National Wrestling Alliance to have the kind of exposure you have been able to provide by wearing that crown in so many different television markets?
Adam Pearce: Its par for the course. Its fulfilling the job duties and the requirements as it was written and as it was expected by the National Wrestling Alliance Champion for decades. And I feel fortunate to be in a position to be able to fulfill those obligations and do the things that my predecessors were expected to do. Some of that fell by the way side as the NWA has had problems and lacked exposure, but at the end of the day and my time is done, my claim to fame in the National Wrestling Alliance and I am not ashamed or being boastful, I know that I did the job as the job is supposed to be done and that feeling is very gratifying
JC: Being a traveling champion “Scrap Iron,” you’ve spent the month of February wrestling back to back consecutive weekends in West Virginia, Hollywood, Oregon, and just wrapped up a four day Tex-Mex tour. For someone who isn’t contracted by the World Wrestling Entertainment or Total Non-Stop Action, that is quite an impressive schedule. How is it dealing with thee long road schedules, being in a different city every night?
AP: That goes hand and hand with what I talked about in terms of Television exposure. That’s something that I’m very fortunate to be in the position where my services are sought after. I think it says a lot about the brand recognition still in North American when ever it revolves around the National Wrestling Alliance and in particular the 10lbs of Gold. It has allowed me to see more places in the planet that I ever would have otherwise. And probably the biggest gift, the biggest by product, for my wrestling journey has been the travel in my wrestling journey. Sometimes it gets tough. I am a home body, a family man. I like to be home with my family, but at this point in my life my resume requires that I get on an airplane a lot more often than not. I got into this business to make money and in make money you have to travel and that’s what I do. I appreciate every single minute of it.
JC: Speaking of NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood and the first 20 episodes were influenced by your booking along with the rest of creative in Hollywood and that show has been well received through out various sources on the internet. The reviews have been mostly positive, but what would you say to your detractors of the show, even here on SoCal UNCENSORED?
AP: Well first I’d say to anyone who has watched the show, whether they like or not thank you for watching. We’re trying to build a business with this and we’re not doing this wrestling television show in vein or just to do it. There is a method to the madness and there is hope in creating a business opportunity, not only for the people who own the promotion or are writing the tv show, or the wrestlers themselves, but for everybody involved, we are slowly building a niche business here in Los Angeles and that’s going to lead to some more opportunities and open some doors for more opportunities and we’re seeing that happen now for being on the air now for 24 weeks or so. We have a much bigger base of operations with in the business community in Los Angeles then we did and the beginning of the run. We are seeing the hard work that everyone is doing paying dividends and we are hoping that will increase as time goes on. To those people that love the show, we’re happy. We are trying to do something as a group that will be positive for pro wrestling and be an alternative to what they are accustomed to watching from WWE, TNA, and ROH and I think we are doing that. For the people who don’t like the show the canned response would be to give the show a chance and I know there are people out there who have watched it and like to be negative for the sake of being negative and to those people I really don’t have a whole lot to say. I live by the mantra that wrestling like every facet of entertainment, music, movies, what have you reviews are all subjective and that means everyone is entitled to their opinion and can like what they want. Just because I don’t like to watch Glee, doesn’t make Glee a bad show necessarily, it just means I don’t like Glee. Perhaps there are going to be fans that NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood isn’t going to be their cup of tea and that’s fine. Having free will and the opportunity to form an opinion is all about. I’d like to invite people to take an extended look at it. It’s a show I am proud of and I’m sure people can pick holes in anything if they want to. I don’t get the sense from talking to other viewers that anyone thinks that by watching our show that it’s something that is going to insult them. It’s pretty straight forward and easy to fall into. I can think of a lot worse ways to spend my time that watching an hour of NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood and I’m really happy to say the response of the program has been along those lines. There have been set backs. Moving the tapings from Orange County at the Galaxy to Hollywood was rough and I think people watching the program could see that our last taping at the Galaxy has a loud rabid crowd to a somewhat timid crowd for the first taping at the Showcase who didn’t know the guys unless they were watching at home weekly. But time has gone by and I’m happy to say that crowd is back up and bigger numbers than we had at the Galaxy and that amounts to success. Anyway you look at it, to go into two different buildings and taking a relatively unknown entity and build a fan base and presence. We wanted this for the Galaxy and now with the Showcase Theater to associate the building with Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. It’s good for the building to say the Showcase Theater, home of NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood and hope that will mean enough for them to attract other acts and types of business for the venue and so far so good. We are happy and grateful for the guys and the viewers at home and that’s what its all about.
JC: Southern California has become somewhat of a hotbed for the NWA, with the affiliated promotions like Mach-1 Wrestling, where you‘ll be wrestling Saturday, SoCal Pro Wrestling, where you’ve defended the title numerous amounts of times, and Empire Wrestling Federation. In general in the Southern California Wrestling scene, with new promotions popping up all the time and some promotions seemingly withstanding the test of time like Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and NWA Pro Wrestling, what are your thoughts on the current scene and what are your thoughts on the promotions in SoCal today.
AP: To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t have much of an opinion of the current SoCal scene. Due to the fact that outside of NWA Hollywood and SoCal Pro my access and my involvement isn’t what it once was. That isn’t to discredit the scene in any way, it just seems to be the fact of the matter that outside of NWA Hollywood, SoCal Pro and from time to time Mach-1 Wrestling, I don’t get out as much as I used to and as a result I don’t see as much of the up and coming guys. The scene used to be very strong and their used to be many websites covering it, from what I understand it isn’t quite the same anymore. Every scene has its ups and downs, every industry goes through and ebb and flow, of course wrestling is no different. No doubt the scene is producing guys, you just don’t hear as much as much about them as you do in the past. I’ve been very appreciative of the Southern California wrestling that I have been involved with through the years going back to UPW, MPW, years ago. Obviously through New Japan Dojo, the Inoki Dojo, NWA Pro Wrestling, and the NWA Affiliates I work with from time to time in SoCal, I wish I was around more, to see more of the guys and to help out. One thing I have always said about SoCal is that there isn’t as many veterans to help the younger guys, definitely not as many as there were in the Midwest where I broke in. From the guys I’ve spoken to who work the SoCal scene say the same things. There is no leadership necessarily from veteran presence, lord knows there are plenty of guys who have come from this area. I just wish I had more time to give back and going forward I will.
JC: A few weeks back you partnered with New Wave Pro Wrestling to host a wrestling seminar, there was speculation about you hosting a seminar out in New Jersey in the near future, of course the seminar you hosted with Mach-1’s Wrestling 101. At the seminar with New Wave, did you see any up and coming talent who looked promising and is there anyone out there you’d like to see who has potential to join NWA Hollywood Roster?
AP: Anytime I do these seminars, it all depends on the level of talent I’ve got. At the New Wave seminar, generally it was beginning talents with a couple guys who have been around for a while. For the most part it was guys who’ve been around for less than a year and in some cases guys who’ve been around for less than six months, it was very much a beginners class. A lot of these seminars I do are like that, I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of these all over the place; Portland, Winnipeg, Philadelphia, as you mentioned Mach-1, which was a real good time and more of an advanced class. I have my ideals of how guys should be trained and I think I have a lot to pass on to people in terms of the experiences I’ve had in the past 15 years and I’m happy to do that. In terms of talent to come into NWA Hollywood, there is a host of talent Nationally that I’m fortunate to be able to travel and see some of these guys, but for financial restraints that is not always possible. What I’d like to see is some of the talent working NWA Hollywood branch out and make a name for themselves in the National sense and the one guy I always bring up is Willie Mack. I think [Mac] is an exemplary talent in a variety of ways and is really only scratching the surface of what he is capable of. He has all the tools to make an impact and finding guys that have an innate charisma, Willie definitely has that. Getting a reaction from the people seems to be easier for Willie than a lot of guys and I think that’s because of his natural ability to be likeable and I think that’ll take him a long way. In addition to being 280lbs and being able to move the way he does and all of that stuff. I think Willie is on the right track.
JC : It is no secret that your days as a rookie started off in the Midwest. During your training you learned from guys like Sonny Rogers, Randy Ricci, Ace Steel, and Danny Dominion before entering the world renowned WCW Powerplant. As a man who has been on both sides of professional wrestling, a wrestlers and booker, what do you look for in a quality wrestler and locally where would you suggest someone new to the business learn his craft?
AP: There is a million things you look for in a wrestler and one of the things I look for is charisma and that innate connection with people because it is so rare to find someone who can just naturally turn it on and have people flock to pay attention them. Naturally when you are producing a television product that is first thing you look for. Secondly, when you are talking about wrestlers individually I want to know where they were trained, how they were trained. I want to make sure they are fundamentally sound. I look for basically the three Fs. When I do a seminar I talk about the Three Fs, fundamentals, facials, and footwork. In any sport and I consider wrestling to be a sport, it all starts out at your foundation and that is your footwork. You need to be at the right place at the right time for the right reason and there is a way to do that. Facials particularly when you are talking about interacting with the crowd and trying to illicit an emotional response. That is all done with your face. Vince McMahon has often found of saying that your face is your money maker, I one hundred million percent subscribe to that theory. I feel like if you have a solid grasp on the fundamentals it makes it very difficult to have bad matches. When you couple all three of those Fs together, you start out with what turns out to be a promising and a lot of times a really good wrestler. In Southern California at one time it seemed like you could get “wrestling training” on any street corner when I first moved out here. But in particular the two places that I like for a couple of different reasons is Southern California are Mach-1’s Wrestling 101 owned by Jon Ian and has turned out some good guys, under the tutelage of Joey Ryan and Johnny Goodtime is going to give you the opportunity to not only learn from professional wrestlers who not only do it, but also work on a weekly event in front of a live crowd, which is something I did have the benefit of when I broke in 95. The training group that I was involved with held events, but it was sporadic maybe like three or four times a year. Where Mach-1 is able to make that training ground, that valuable experience weekly, which I think is real commendable. The other place is the Santino Brothers Wrestling Academy run by Mongol Santino and Joey Kaos, I’ve grown to be very fond of the way they instill discipline and respect into their students. In a lot of ways they run their school in the ways I was trained. If there are perspective wrestlers in California they would do right by going to one of those camps and in a perfect world maybe test out both, to find out which one fits their personality and their budget the right way and then run with it. Definitely those two stand out to me.
JC: Speaking of training, your friend and Standard original, Claudio Castagnoli will be taking part of Mach-1 Wrestling’s Slam and Jam, by defending his PWG World Title against Johnny Goodtime. But before the match, Claudio is hosting a wrestling seminar over the weekend in conjunction with Mach-1 Pro Wrestling and their school Wrestling 101. As a friend and fellow champion what can you say about Claudio and this seminar?
AP: I think Claudio is an exemplary talent regardless of the company he is working for he has gone one thousand percent above and beyond the call of duty for me in Ring of Honor and the NWA. As an opponent, as a partner, a booker to wrestler, wrestler to wrestlers, I can’t say enough good things about Claudio and the way he conducts himself and the way he performs. He is an absolute fitness freak and a model to anybody who wants to get in shape for professional wrestling. Claudio Castagnoli is symbolic and probably has one of the best bodies in this business along with that the mind to go with that. The students taking part of the seminar at Mach-1’s Wrestling 101 are going to learn some invaluable lessons. As I preach to guys, you could be in the ring with people who are better than you, to raise yourself up a notch. Claudio is world renowned for what he is able to do and you are not going to find a more humble guy, so that’s win-win in my book.
JC: This Saturday you continue with your travels when you make your way to Anaheim, to defend your NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship against Ryan Taylor at Mach-1 Wrestling’s Slam Jam. You previously faced Ryan Taylor in the summer in Los Angeles. Since then Taylor has won the MPW Championship and has debuted on NWA’s Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. Stepping into the ring with Ryan Taylor you are already familiar with his style in the ring which is almost completely different from your style in the ring, what are you expecting in this match up and what do you have in store for not only Taylor, but the fans at the American Sports Center?
AP: I have come to expect from Ryan Taylor is what he delivers every night and that’s one hundred percent of what he’s got. He’s a SoCal born guy, a local talent and is starting to turn some heads and make a name for himself. I asked for an opponent that I thought would benefit from being in the ring with the World Champion and as you said I’ve been in the ring before with Ryan and I look forward to this weekends match, seeing what he took away from the last one and testing himself on a different level in a different building and I am very happy to have him on Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. I think he is going to benefit greatly from the exposure and learning from that different type of situation.
JC: Sunday, by decree of the NWA Executive Director Robert K. Trobich, you step into the ring with a man you’ve battled with and against in the ring, a man you nearly eliminated from wrestling, the man that earned this title shot when he outlasted every man in Hollywood at the Invitational Tournament, the man whose face you treated like a marshmallow and tried to roast, I’m talking about Colt Cabana. What should the fans in Hollywood expect when you to face off for that NWA Worlds Championship for a third time?
AP: I’m going to put the giant proverbial nail in the coffin of Colt Cabana. The bottom line is we are talking about something months, this isn’t something that has been cultivated over two weeks; this is something that has been building over months and months. Bob Trobich in his esteem and dignity and wisdom and all his glory wants to make this match. The problem with that is that he is putting Colt Cabana exactly where Colt Cabana doesn’t need to be and once again, that is in harms way. There is nothing subverse about the way I have approached Colt Cabana, I’ve done everything I could do physically take him and make him a non-factor in the National Wrestling Alliance and because of sheer stupidity on his part he continues to fight through that and in some ways trying to validate himself in the eyes of the fans for whom he panders and lines for their cheers. Sunday to me is going to be a crowing day for the King of the National Wrestling Alliance, because it’ll be the day that Colt Cabana will rue for the rest of his life. It will be the day that he is totally extinguished and expunged from the records of the NWA and the day his dream of becoming NWA World Champion will be shattered for the final time. Bob Trobich has made it difficult for me to get out of the match and in his stupidity seems to think I want out. By decreeing if I get myself count out or disqualified I lose the title, he thinks he is backing me into the corner making me fight. Which I already have proved and people can watch on NWAHollywood.com, that I love nothing more than to fight and I will do that on Sunday. I will defeat Ryan Taylor on Saturday and I will defeat Colt Cabana on Sunday and come Monday I will be Worlds Heavyweight Champion because that is what I want. I hope people tune in and find out. I hope people will show up and find out, they will see a war and a blood bath, and I’m looking forward to it.
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The Claudio Castagnoli Wrestling Seminar will be held Saturday, March 5th, at the “Wrestling 101” Training Facility, located at the American Sports Center in Anaheim CA, home venue of the weekly M1W “Friday Fight Night” wrestling cards. The seminar will go from 11AM to 1PM. The cost of the seminar is $50. The cost of the seminar will include free admission to M1W “Slam and Jam” later that night at the American Sports Center where Claudio will make his wrestling debut for M1W. For information on how to sign up for this tremendous opportunity, email “Wrestling 101” by email at email@example.com , with “Claudio” in the subject line, or call the M1W info line at (714) 261-4861.
Mach-1 Wrestling’s Slam and Jam comes to you live on Saturday, March 5th, 2011 from the American Sports Center at 1500 S. Anaheim Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92805. Bell time 8:00PM, doors open at 7:45. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for students w/ ID and children 12 and under. Four Championship Matches including NWA Worlds Champion Adam Pearce taking on Ryan Taylor.
NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, a taping for KDOC-TV Los Angeles, comes to you LIVE on Sunday afternoon, March 6th, from the Regent Showcase Theater at 614 North La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Special matinee bell time is 3:00PM. Tickets for this all-ages event are only $15 (General Admission available at the door) and are on sale NOW through our partners at SaveFans.com (search ‘NWA Wrestling’), by calling 888-326-7697, or at the door on 3/6.