WWE doesn’t officially have a general manager, but they pretty much do.
Ah, the not-so-old days of general managers on WWE Raw and SmackDown.
Authority figures in wrestling are perhaps more hit-or-miss than anything else in this beloved artform. We’ve had some wonderful GMs in recent memory on Raw and SmackDown, such as Daniel Bryan. And we’ve had some authority figures we would LOVE to forget, such as “acting GM/constable” Baron Corbin. (Yeah, that was a rough time for Raw.)
In 2020, the longest-tenured authority figure is William Regal, who is one of the most talented performers in the history of WWE. That is no exaggeration, as you can see by how well-loved he is and the grace with which he carries himself on-screen as a general manager.
But we have a new authority figure emerging on Monday and Friday nights, even if he doesn’t carry an official title.
That man is Adam Pearce, who has been a producer for WWE. Remember when 205 Live was the best show on television? He was the guy producing the show week after week, showcasing future stars of the business like Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, and Murphy. And now all three guys are playing important roles on Raw and SmackDown.
As he explained on the After The Bell podcast with Corey Graves, what Pearce does in real life as a producer is pretty similar to what he does as an on-screen character in WWE. (Not the same, but similar.) He puts matches together, works with talent, tries to translate Vince McMahon’s “steak wraps, damn it!” instructions into something tangible, and helps put the shows that we (generally) enjoy each week together.
And so each week, he’s taken an active on-screen role. Braun Strowman wants an unsanctioned match? Natalya is complaining about having to earn her spot on the Survivor Series team? Randy Orton tries to walk away from a main event WWE Title match before one of the five biggest Pay Per Views of the year?
Adam Pearce is there to handle each situation with poise and purpose, delicately navigating often-thorny situations that could easily turn combustible with headstrong personalities like Orton and Strowman involved. Pearce even got himself choked out by Orton when the “GM” made the McIntyre vs. Orton match for the Raw before Survivor Series!
Those are the perils of being an authority figure in WWE. Authoritative protections are a mere facade in the world of professional wrestling, because a man in a suit is just as likely to incur the wrath of a venomous viper or a monster among men.
Pearce, though, is more than just a man in a suit, as he is quick to remind fans. He is an accomplished professional wrestler in his own right who is a five-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion – one of the most prestigious belts in the business – and a former PWG World Champion. Just five years ago, Pearce was inducted into NWA’s Hall of Fame.
So he knows a thing or two about getting in the ring, getting into a fight, and what the competitors themselves are going through. It’s the skillset that has made Bryan and Regal so effective in their GM roles, and it’s certainly helped Pearce.
WWE may never officially acknowledge “Postman Pearce” as a general manager on either show, but he is the authoritative presence who keeps the show running smoothly and ties up loose ends without ever becoming the focus. Sure, we acknowledge and praise him, but we never do so at the expense of the show.
Pearce is the GM we never knew we needed, but after suffering through authority figures like Stephanie McMahon and Corbin in the past, he is the mellow, composed, and competent presence we thoroughly deserve. (Or maybe we don’t, after all, we wrestling fans are a fickle bunch.)