The lights go out.
A single bell tolls.
Smoke billows from the entranceway.
A tall, dark shadowy figure emerges from the smoke, his long dark hair cascading from beneath his hat, his menacing eyes penetrating his opponent. The chill running throughout the arena as the funeral march begins to pipe out. But stood in front of this man, is an equally frightful sight. His pale face, his darkened eyes, his long cloak…and the urn, tilted towards his follower, his evil disciple. He controls the man…
Say the name “William Moody” to any wrestling and you will be greeted with blank looks. Mention Percy Pringle and you might elicit some kind of response, but utter the name Paul Bearer and get ready for people to break out into calls of “Oooh yyyyesss!” And hold an arm in the air as if hoisting an invisible talisman into the air.
Paul Bearer, AKA Percy Pringle III, AKA William Moody, who died in the last 24 hours in Mobile Alabama at the age of 58.
Paul Bearer has to go down in history as The greatest WWE superstar manager in history. A character which told a story never really focused upon himself but the driving force behind another. The Undertaker was the man, Bearer his sidekick. Always there, always helping. If The Undertaker dropped and was out for the count, Bearer would raise the Urn and The Undertaker would rise again to dispose of his opponent.
I remember being a kid, watching videotapes that a friend recorded (we didn’t have Sky TV) and sitting in my bedroom watching in awe at the WWF (yes, I said it), marveling at the likes of the Macho Man and Hulk Hogan…but The Undertaker was always the man for me…and hence my love for Paul Bearer began.
After actually earning a degree in Mortuary Science and playing about in the Indy fed for years, Moody came to the WWF, and using his background in the Mortuary business, the character of Paul Bearer was born. He was given the Urn and his protege was The Undertaker, played by Mark Calaway, a wrestler with moderate success in WCW who was about to be elevated to the Big time with Paul Bearer alongside him all the way.
I loved how Bearer was used in the company, either a helpful hand to The Undertaker or a hindrance when he would have The Urn stolen away and lose his master’s power.
Lately however, Bearer has been used sparingly, but every time he pops up on WWE programming, I am instantly taken back to being a kid and idolising him and ‘Taker.
In 2011 I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Wrestlemania Axxess session prior to Wrestlemania 27 and he was one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet.
I have since had Tweets off the guy and he always took time to answer his fans on Twitter.
On Raw this week, I was massively happy that The Undertaker made his return to the WWE on Monday Night Raw…but just 24 hours later am saddened by the passing of a great man.
Paul Bearer, played evil on earth, put into heaven, resting in peace.
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