The pro wrestling community continues to mourn the loss of Paul Bearer, real name William “Bill” Moody, who died on Tuesday evening.
He was 58.
Paul Bearer (play on the word pallbearer) added to the mystique of The Undertaker. Bearer, a legendary personality, perfectly complemented the aura of that larger-than-life, 6-10 superstar.
Early on, the duo struck fear in the hearts of fans everywhere (myself included).
For Bearer, the character wasn’t completely a gimmick. He actually had a degree in mortuary science and was certified as a funeral director and embalmer.
Before making his way to the WWF (now WWE) in the 1990s, he worked under the name Percival “Percy” Pringle, III, a loud-mouth Southern heel manager.
WWF fans were first introduced to Bearer in 1991, replacing Brother Love as manager of The Undertaker. His pale face with dark eyes and high pitched voice along with airy intro instrumental music, dark suit, his trademark urn and “Ooooh Yeeeeees” -- it was Halloween 365 days a year for Bearer and his Undertaker.
Before Miz TV and The Cutting Edge, Bearer hosted his own talk show segment “The Funeral Parlor.”
The Undertaker and Bearer story took a different turn at SummerSlam 1996 when Bearer betrayed the Phenom for his rival Mankind. It was one of the most shocking heel turns in the history of WWE and made my 12-year-old self very angry. Bearer played an important role in the rivalry between Mankind (2013 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Mick Foley) and The Undertaker. I will never forget when ‘Taker “set fire” to Bearer’s face. “Uncle Paul” not only managed Mankind but also Vader.
In 1997, Kane arrived on the scene after Bearer warned The Undertaker for months that his “brother” was indeed alive. Much like he did for his former longtime associate, the legendary manager played an instrumental part in the evolution of Kane. He was right in the middle of the love-hate relationship of the Brothers of Destruction.
Bearer and The Undertaker reunited on more than one occasion during the better part of two decades. Among his most memorable returns was in 2010 when he emerged from a casket on SmackDown to reunite with the Dead Man. Bearer was last seen on WWE TV last year in the middle of the Kane and Randy Orton feud.
• I always pictured Paul Bearer going into the WWE Hall of Fame with The Undertaker. Because of the circumstances, I wouldn’t mind if he was inducted this year with The Undertaker doing the honors. It may be short notice, but it would be a fitting tribute to the life of a man who gave so much to a business and company he loved.
Paul Bearer - Rest In Peace.
• Twitter @smFISHMAN, http://twitter.com/#!/smFISHMAN.