Last night WWE.com reported that legendary manager, Paul Bearer, had passed away. This came as terrible news for most fans, who had realized and understood the importance of this man. Today, I look back at what was a historic career for one of the greatest managers in professional wrestling history!
William Moody’s wrestling career actually began as a photographer. Moody would go to wrestling events and simply take pictures of the action. Moody then, making friends with people in the business, got his start as a wrestler. Moody would wrestle for a while before finding his true talent in 1979.
It was at that time that William Moody began managing talents in independent promotions. He went by the name of Percy Pringle III. His time as a manager didn’t last long, however, as he instead left to spend time with his family and get a degree. Coincidentally, this would be a degree in Mortuary Science! Moody would become a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer.
In 1985, Moody would return to wrestling full-time. He would remain a manager as he was before, and he ended up managing a ridiculously large amount of great talent in this time frame. In his time in WCCW and FCW, he would manage the likes of Lex Lugar, Rick Rude, Blackjack Mulligan, Kamala, The Ultimate Warrior, and Steve Williams (later to be known as Stone Cold Steve Austin). Bearer even managed The Undertaker in his very first professional match in WCCW. Taker’ was known as Texas Red at the time.
The WWF obviously realized what they were missing with this guy, so they signed him to a contract in late 1990. This would begin Moody’s largest and most popular stint in the pro wrestling industry.
It was actually Vince McMahon who came up with the entire Paul Bearer gimmick, knowing of his past in Mortuary Science.
In 1991, the character now known as Paul Bearer would begin managing The Undertaker. Though The Undertaker rarely talked in his early years, Bearer was able to do all the needed talking for him. It is very plausible to say that Paul Bearer was a big part of establishing The Undertaker’s gimmick; as well as making sure he got over with the audience.
Bearer would manage The Undertaker until he turned on him in 1996. Bearer sided with Mankind, and he ended up taking a pivotal role in the Mankind-Undertaker feud.
Paul Bearer would eventually take the reins as the manager of Kane in 1997. Bearer even introduced him to the audience. It was at this point in time, in my opinion, that Bearer truly showed how talented he was. Bearer was able to portray a nasty, evil heel that was dead set on destroying The Undertaker. There is no doubt that Bearer was a huge part in Kane’s earlier success; especially considering the fact that Kane never talked in his early years.
After 2002, Paul Bearer would take a permanent leave of absence from the WWE. As Undertaker’s character drastically changed, Paul Bearer was no longer needed.
Bearer, however, would make his return at WrestleMania XX alongside The Undertaker at Madison Square Garden! Bearer would return alongside the Deadman, as Taker’ would make a return to his original gimmick. Just to show how popular Paul Bearer truly is, just listen to the MSG crowd go crazy as his infamous “OOOHHHHH YESSSSS” blared over the sound system.
Since then, Paul Bearer has made off and on appearances. In 2010, Bearer was once again part of a major angle as he returned to manage The Undertaker in his feud with Kane. Bearer would eventually turn heel again and side with Kane. The whole angle was really a treat for fans of The Undertaker and Kane; getting to see both men battle in one final feud with Paul Bearer as a major part of the rivalry.
Bearer has since continued his streak of helping out the young stars of tomorrow; performing and managing wrestlers at Indy shows. Bearer has given tremendous advice and help to these young wrestlers; basically all of them saying so.
And on personal note, I met Paul Bearer at WrestleMania Axxess. I met a lot jackasses that weekend, but Bearer wasn’t one of them. Incredibly nice and polite to all his fans; he was a joy to meet.
Paul Bearer is a true legend. He is one of the few managers in professional wrestling history that has truly catapulted his stars to incredible success. Paul Bearer is a man who wasn’t there to put himself over; but instead to make sure the people that he managed were as popular or hated as they could be. Bearer only enhanced Kane’s and The Undertaker’s personas and gimmicks.
So, on this day, we thank Paul Bearer. A man who has only ever done great things for the industry that we all know and love. He will forever be loved by his fans due to his immense talent that played a pivotal role in creating Hall of Fame level careers. Paul Bearer will certainly never be forgotten; and will always be appreciated.
Is William Moody one of the greatest managers in professional wrestling history?