JR's Thoughts of the late, Paul Bearer

It's never easy reflecting back on the life of a great friend and someone so universally well liked. My friend Bill Moody aka Paul Bearer aka Percival Pringle 3 passed away Tuesday at the age of 58. Here are some personal thoughts....  I met Percy, as I called him for the duration of our relationship, while he worked in Dallas for WCCW and the Von Erich's in the wrestling office in Dallas and while managing a variety of villain wrestlers. Our mutual friend Dennis Brent introduced us as Percy also did some work with Dennis to help make ends meet. This was in the early 80's. We hit it off immediately as we both had the love of the business in common and we both were in the business in a non wrestling role. Were we earning as much money as 'the boys?' Of course not but we were having fun because we were living out our boyhood dreams of being involved in the most unique of genres.  Percy was one of the funniest guys that I ever met in the wrestling biz. He could make anyone laugh and enjoyed doing so. He was also a natural 'heel' and had the psychology of being a villain manager down to a science. Calling Paul Bearer a student of the game would be an understatement.  Growing up in the Pensacola, Florida area with Michael Hayes and others who also made their way into the business Percy always dreamed of being in the biz but knew that athletically speaking that he would have to take a different route than most to make it to the big time. He took that challenging road and navigated it successfully scratching out a living but loving every minute of the journey. In 1990, PP3's big break came when Vince McMahon brought him to WWE and paired the licensed mortician to be the Undertaker's manager. As great as Taker's run has been in WWE, arguably the most marvelous, long term run in WWE history, it would have not been the same without Paul Bearer being added to the presentation in the Phenom's formative years.  They went together like BBQ sauce on a great rack of ribs and created a presentation that including the perfect music, with perfect lighting and special effects to go along with the amazing package of the Dead Man and his scary, unmistakable figure of a manager.  When I got to WWE in 1993 I was so happy to reunite with Percy and so proud that he had made it to the top of the mountain in the biggest promotion in the world. That's a long way from P'Cola and working multiple jobs for the fading WCCW territory while taking on a second job to pay the bills.  Percy was so proud of his sons and loved his family deeply. His southern roots ran deep as he never moved, for long any way, from Alabama. During the football season we would exchange messages or talk about his Crimson Tide and my Sooners hoping that they would meet for the national title in our life time. If I got a 'Roll Tide' message on my phone or on Twitter I did not have to think twice about who sent it. He always laughed about me calling him a "Rotund Demon" on a broadcast and often identified himself in that manner when we would speak on the phone.   Percy dearly loved George Jones and occasionally when a new talent would come into the WWE some pranksters would put the newbie up to telling Percy that George Jones had just passed away. Wrestlers have strange senses of humor and Percy never thought that 'rib' was a funny one. He would commence to cutting a promo on the unsuspecting newcomer AND who ever put the kid up to the unappreciated shenanigans. Some of my fondest memories was Percy enjoying a taste of Jack Daniels and singing George Jones tunes especially 'He Stopped Loving Her Today.'  Percy dearly loved George Jones but that love paled in comparison to his love for his late wife Diana who passed from breast cancer a few years ago. I'm not sure Percy ever recovered from that loss.  One of Percy's closest, long time friends text me last night that "Paul is happy now. He's back with Diana." Rest in Peace old friend until we meet again.        
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 Hey JR, is it true that you were instrumental, in your role in the office, with helping Percy get the gastric bypass surgery that helped extend his life and enabled him to return to the WWE?

 Is it too late for Paul to go in the WWE Hall of Fame or is that inapproporiate? 

 Those were great stories. Thank you for sharing them with us JR.

Long time reader, never compelled to post before. I loved Paul Bearer.  He scared the 9 year old in me out of my wits, and as I grew up I appreciated all the little things he would do.  At wrestlemania 20, when the "dead man" came back, to hear "ohhhh yessss" sound out was just a complete surprise and amazing to see Paul there too.   Later on, when he turned the urn into a light show and blinded the Undertaker to go back with his demonic son Kane, again, unforgettable moment.  When he hit the Undertaker with the urn, when he brought Kane in.  When he said "my undertaker" and "oh yes".  Part of my childhood.   To me, he might not have been the best manager of all time (although it can be argued he is) but there has never been such a perfect manager/talent pairing as Paul Bearer and the Undertaker.   I assume that this tragedy was natural, and once WWE confirm this, I hope Paul/William gets a tribute that is fitting to him, and one the fans and it seems the talent would like to see.  The usual respects are great, but like the Macho Man, Paul Bearer was part of peoples childhoods, and the great man behind it obviously loved the business very much.  Be it the presence of the Urn in Takers corner, or just a nice video package, I hope the WWE does something nice for uncle Paul.   Take care Jim, Justin, UK.  

 As a child watching WWF (can I still call it that???) I remember when Paul Bearer debuted with the Undertaker. I always thought Mr. Moody was scary and creepy.  He played and looked the part so well I honestly thought that was what Paul Bearer truly looked and acted like. Never has there been a move convincing and more appropriate manager than Paul Bearer. His pairing with Undertaker was a match made in... well... darkness? What I am saying is they went together just like you said JR, BBQ on ribs. I am saddened by this loss more than any other in this business perhaps because I watched Paul Bearer from childhood to his last appearance on WWE when he was locked in the freezer. I hope WWE and the Undertaker do something special for the late, great William "Paul Bearer" Moody. 

 As a ten year old, watching Monday Night Raw and being amazed at the super human strength of The Undertaker, I soon realized, the man with the urn was whom should be feared. I can recall the worst part of monday nights was having to shut off the TV and all the lights in the living room and find my way to bed. I checked around each corner along the way to make sure the walking demon and his ash-toting handler didn't somehow miraculously appear to take my innocent little soul. Aside from my childish terrors, the concept of the deadman was made that much more real and believable by a creepy rotund mortician from Alabama. As I grew into a teenager, his antics almost became comical to me but, the man played the hell out of that role and never let on to the gimmick, even adding into the mix the brother Kane. His ability to maintain character as well as support others making their way up makes me proud to be a fan of this industry no matter how old I become. It's gentlemen like these that make it to the top of their mountain and continue to support those fighting to make their way to the top that leave lasting impressions for future fans and entertainers (wrestler or manager) to look & live up to. I sincerely thank you & your family Mr. Moody!

Why must those who are so good die so young? I may not know Paul Bearer or Percy Pringle III as he was called throughout his earlier career in this great business but it absolutely does not matter in the emotion I share with all who knew him. Paul Bearer was an iconic, legendary, WWE Hall of Fame worthy wrestling figure like Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Freddy Blassie, Jimmy Hart, etc. (the list goes on and on) who my dad was fortunate to grow up with and get to know. I had only seen him on WWE TV a handful of times but regardless I can say that he was unique, he was scary, he was mysterious, yet it is undeniable that William Moody was indeed special. He is a one-of-a-kind name who will go down in WWE and professional wrestling, this wonderful industry, like the names listed above, as one of the greatest wrestling managers of all time! Percy will forever be remembered for an unforgettable institution of WWE programming during two of its most prosperous eras, the early 90s, and perhaps the greatest, most memorable time in WWE history, the Attitude ERA. He will also be forever remembered for those rare appearances he made on WWE TV between 2010-2012. Paul was a figure had a gift as his client and forever friend, the Legend, the Deadman, the Phenom, the Undertaker has had in his 20+ years in WWE where he was able to speak volumes just with his presence alone. Yet when he was handed the WWE microphone, whether loved or loved-to-be-loathed by fans hung onto his every word and the amount of effort he put into his character as one of the greatest villianous managing figures cannot be duplicated! He is forever a piece of Big Van Vader, 2013 WWE HOFer Mick Foley (Mankind), the Undertaker's half-brother Kane, and WM's Immortal One (20-0), the Undertaker himself. Perhaps it can not be said better than with the words of the UT, or "The Last Outlaw" as he can be referred to, REST...IN...PEACE!

Paul Bearer was my favourite wrestling manager & to me will go down as the greatest gimmick manager of all time. I know he managed them both once at a house show, but I think it's a shame we never got to see Bearer manage BOTH Undertaker & Kane at the same time on screen before eventually riding off into the sunset (Or in his character's case, into the darkness). I know they usually do a 10 bell salute as a show of respect but it would be even more fitting if they did 10 of Undertaker's gongs instead as a nod to his on screen character. I wouldn't even be surprised if Undertaker wins at 'Mania he celebrates with Paul's trademark urn in hand. It's a shame there aren't any other managers like him, although I do see a bit of Paul Bearer in Ricardo Rodriguez.

 As a thirteen year old boy with an active imagination when Taker first came on the scene, he was still frightening to me and the subject of many a nightmare. The hellish battles between him and Kane will always be in my mind some of the greatest matches of all time. Yet the picture is incomplete. The full picture of those fights include the quavering voice of a little man at ring ring side carrying an urn and sounding like a roving southern baptist preacher who sold his soul to a demon. I never knew the man in any other role, but my, oh my, what a job he did as Paul Bearer. My hopes and well wishes are with his family and his friends, including you JR. Rest in Peace Mr. Moody, and Roll Tide. Billy, AL

 As someone who had the pleasure of calling William Moody my friend, let me say, Thank You JR for putting in to words what most of us are thinking. He was a legend in and out of the ring, both here in Mobile, Al and all around the entire world. I had the pleasure of driving him around here in town, then working both with him and for him all over the Gulf South region as a referee. His sense of humor, and quick wit are two of the things I will miss about him most. I know his friends and family are reeling from this loss and appreciate so much all of the kind words, thoughts and prayers. He was so much more than a wrestling manager. This world lost a first class father, grandfather and friend. I'm proud to have known him as well as I did, even if for only a season. He made an incredible impact on this world and its a sadder place without him in it. I do wish I could have been there to see the reunion of him and his precious wife that he has missed so terribly since she was taken from him. I am sure he is still smiling and holding her close. Rest in Peace my friend.

 much like everyone else on here, mr. moody was a huge reason why the undertaker always scared the crap out of me. i always hoped that paul bearer would return at takers last wm and be the one to induct him into the hall of fame. it saddens me so much that we will not get to see that happen. uncle paul, u will be forever remembered and always missed. jr, do u think vince will allow taker to do a tribute to paul bearer this yr at wm or will it have to wait until nxt yr? 

Lance Evers, (Storm) should be ashamed of himself for his classless comments.

 jr i rember watching paul in dallas for uswa and then with awa and wccw .he finaly got his big break in wwe . i hope wwe will do the thing and pay their respects. and my prayers are for his family . paul thank you for the memories . my grandpa got  me watching wrestling on saturday afternoons georgia championship wrestling .those times setting on the couch watching are fresh today as they where back then.so thank you for all the enjoyable moments that  my grandpa and i shared.  rest in peace paul bearer.

Just learned of Bill's passing. I kept up with his blog after Diana's passing for the longest time, learning about true love and how to live with your true love's passing. Rest in peace with your beloved Bill and God bless your familly.

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