I was saddened this morning to learn that William "Paul Bearer" Moody had passed away. Just the other day I watched a bit of a shoot video with him and Jim Cornette. Just 48 hours ago, fans on the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page brought up the idea of Bearer return to Raw with the Undertaker.
I know he'd had some health issues over the years, including morbid obesity and surgery to help correct that problem. He also had gall bladder trouble. Sadly, his body has given out and a legend is gone much too soon.
Rick Rude & Percy Pringle
My first memories of Bearer date back to his days in World Class Championship Wrestling. He was the rich and pompous Percy Pringle or Percival Pringle III. Pringle managed guys like Matt Bourne and Buzz Sawyer, but I think his most notable charge was an up and coming "Ravishing" Rick Rude. Pringle played his role well, interfering in his men's matches and leading them to gold. Rude was the World Class heavyweight champion for quite some time and many of his wins came after Pringle got involved. I still remember when my favorite Kerry Von Erich was wrestling Rude for the title and Pringle whacked Kerry with a cane and allowing Rude to score in my mind the biggest upset of the year.
I was happy to see Pringle make his way to the WWF in 1991. He had a new look and sound, but continued to put his expertise on display. As Paul Bearer he managed the Undertaker for years, taking the Dead Man to new heights as well. When he turned his back on 'Taker at SummerSlam 96 and aligned with Mankind fans were shocked. A year later when he brought "his son" Kane to the WWF, Bearer helped breath new fire in his story against the Undertaker.
Through the years in WWE, Bearer had many men in his stable. I think his pairing with Undertaker is my obvious favorite, but I enjoyed the work he did with Kane too, especially early on. His talk show "The Funeral Parlor" was also memorable with his unique voice and macabre look. While the show wasn't my favorite of all time, it certainly was memorable and found its niche on Superstars. The Ultimate Warrior being locked in the coffin was probably the most infamous angle done on that set.
Kane and Paul Bearer
Photo courtesy: WWE
The last time we saw him on WWE TV I believe was when Randy Orton put him in a freezer last year leading up to Kane's match with Orton at Wrestlemania. I think storyline wise this was the third time the character had been killed off. It almost seemed to be a rib that the mortician kept dying on TV.
I asked our friends on the Facebook page today to share their favorite memories of Paul Bearer. Here's what folks are saying. Thanks for reading, and Rest in Peace Paul Bearer.
Martin EndersbyWhen he introduced Kane to the world. Some classic over the top in-ring interviews with McMahon then. Also when Jake DDT'd him on The Funeral Parlour.
Mike LogsdonMine is more personal. I took my son to SmackDown a couple of years ago in Bloomington, IL on the night he returned to help Undertaker fight then champion Kane. My son was only 8 years old but I am so glad he got to see the return of one of the very best. RIP
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