The unfortunate news that former WWE manager Paul Bearer (real name William Moody) had passed away appeared on WWE.com late on Tuesday night.
WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of William Moody, aka Paul Bearer. Moody made his WWE debut in 1991 as the manager of The Undertaker and went on to become a memorable part of WWE over the course of the next 20 years.
Our deepest condolences go out to Moody’s family, friends and fans.
Rest in peace, Paul Bearer. You will never be forgotten. There will never be another.— Triple H (@TripleH) March 6, 2013
He was 58 years old. You can view Bearer's WWE.com Alumni Page here.
It's never easy to write about something like this, but as wrestling fans I know it's something we can talk about together and reminisce about a man who dedicated his life to the professional wrestling business.
Whether you knew him personally as William Moody, as his WWE stage name Paul Bearer or as Percy Pringle he's a man that left an impression on all of us.
Moody had a career before the WWE, but unfortunately I never saw it. The first time I ever saw him was when he was brought in as the manager of a relatively new character named The Undertaker. His name was Paul Bearer. Here's a clip of his introduction.
I was ten years old when he started in WWE in early 1991. I can remember thinking "who is that weird looking guy managing The Undertaker?" Why was he carrying an urn around? He wasn't like most managers, though. He didn't interfere in matches very often and when he stood at ringside he wore a suit. There was more to him, though. You had to look closer.
His voice was unforgettable. Hearing him say "ooooohhhhhhh yesssssssssss" is one of those things that wrestling fans will never forget. I can remember being 12 years old and trying to imitate him along with my buddies. Twenty years later I can still smile every time I hear somebody say "oh yes" just because it will remind me of him. That's the impression he left.
Bearer also had some of the best facial expressions I've ever seen. He would have that face where he would look right into the camera as if to say "what are you looking at kid?" It made you want to punch him! That's why he was such a good heel. He did his job so well.
The other thing about Bearer was they had him wear so much makeup. He looked like the most pale man I've ever seen. Obviously that was another way to make him stand out from the pack because there wasn't anybody else that could look like that. He was the right guy for the job, no question about it.
I'll never forget Summerslam 1996. Mankind versus The Undertaker. The Boiler Room Brawl match. To win the match you had to retrieve the urn from Paul Bearer. When Undertaker tried to get it from his manager, Bearer wouldn't give it to him. Then he smashed the Urn into the head of The Undertaker. The heel turn was complete after a five year run together. I wasn't an internet fan. I didn't know it was coming. I was shocked. How could he do that to Undertaker? It made Bearer better, though. He was good as a babyface manager, but he was elite as a heel.
A year after that, Bearer played his biggest role as the manager of Undertaker's younger brother Kane. For the first few years of Kane's career he didn't speak, so Bearer played a huge role in the story as the mouthpiece for the Big Red Machine. Once again he delivered. His promos were excellent. There was even that segment in the locker room with Jerry Lawler where he revealed that he was Kane's dad because he had conceived the child with Undertaker's mom. It was comical, yet diabolically evil at the same time.
Once the 2000s came, Bearer wasn't on WWE television as much. There were periods where he'd be return with Undertaker and it was magical because these were two of the larger than life characters we grew up with as WWE fans. I didn't love segments like when Undertaker had to bury him in cement or the way he was used in that Edge/Kane storyline a couple years ago. But guess what? That's wrestling. Everybody has some questionable stories. And that's okay. Because in Bearer's case the good far outweighs the bad.
I think when you talk about the best managers in wrestling history names like Bobby Heenan, Jimmy Hart, Jim Cornette, Sensational Sherri and Paul Heyman come up. There is one more too: Paul Bearer. He wasn't just a manager of guys in the midcard. He managed top guys like Undertaker, Kane and Mankind. His promos were crucial in angles involving some of the biggest names in the history of the business. When he talked we listened because he was so talented in terms of getting his message across. That's the sign of a great manager.
Paul Bearer was one of the best wrestling managers ever. No question about it.
Almost impossible to believe that on this very date in 1991, I appeared with The Undertaker for the first time at a WWF Television Taping in Macon, GA. It showed on WWF programming a couple of days later. So many years... so many memories. Who would ever have thought it would have lasted this long? Remembering, to this day I remain contracted to WWE, under a Legend's Contract. Thank you all for all of the support through the years. It's not over yet! Ohhh... Yesss......
As you can see from that message he was very pleased with what he accomplished in the wrestling business as he should be. I think I speak for all wrestling fans when I say that we're the ones that were blessed to be able to watch him entertain us for over twenty years.
Here are some videos of his career that will help us remember this extremely talented man.
I'm sure I'll spend much of my day on Wednesday watching more Paul Bearer videos to relive some of the great moments of his career.
On behalf of everybody involved with TJRWrestling.com as well as our readers, we send our condolences to the family of William Moody. Thank you for the memories. We will never forget you.
May you rest in peace, Paul Bearer.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org