WWE | Pro Wrestling

Paul Bearer Earns Rightful Place in WWE Hall of Fame

The designation of Paul Bearer for induction into the WWE Hall of Fame is something that was not only warranted, but much needed. There has been so much talk amongst us media types over who should be and who should not be inducted into the hallowed rooms of the WWE greats that Paul Bearer was a natural fit for such a decorated place of superstars.

No one could match Bearer for his gimmick, the scary sound of his voice and eerie look he conjured up as he brought Kane, Undertaker or both men to the ring. And like ‘Taker who gimmick is one for the ages and never to be outdone, there was something soothing about a man white as a ghost, talking about the Rhiannon and the underworld as if was the most magical place on earth.

Fans bought into it, children were afraid and mesmerized by it and Vince McMahon cashed in on it.

As written on his Wikipedia page, William Alvin “Bill” Moody (April 10, 1954 – March 5, 2013), better known by his ring names Paul Bearer and Percival Pringle III, was an American professional wrestling manager. He is best known for his time in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and the World Wrestling Federation (later WWE), where he was the manager of top level wrestlers such as The Undertaker, Kane, Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Rick Rude and Vader.

It should not be a surprise that of that cast of characters and performers, all had a gimmick that could not be touched by another wrestler in the business and that all will at some point be inducted into the Hall of Fame with him. While Undertaker and Kane are at the ends of their illustrious careers, Rude and Vader are still waiting for their names to be called. And it’s only a matter of time once they retire that the “Brothers of Destruction” find their names as first ballot entrants.

He joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in December 1990, after being mentioned by Rick Rude to WWF owner Vince McMahon. McMahon used Moody’s real-life involvement in the funeral industry to create the character of Paul Bearer, a very histrionic, ghostly manager, who was almost always seen bearing an urn (which led to several storylines involving wrestlers stealing his urn), and whose catch phrase was “Ohhh yyyes!” The name “Paul Bearer” is a play on the term pall-bearer.

Moody made his first appearance in February 1991 when Brother Love, who originally managed The Undertaker, passed him on to be managed by Paul Bearer. Bearer took on a spookier, ghastlier character. Bearer also hosted the WWF talk show segment entitled The Funeral Parlor, which included memorable segments such as the Ultimate Warrior being locked inside a casket, among others.

I actually had the privilege of meeting the then “Percy Pringle” in Florida as part of Championship Wrestling from Florida as a young teen (I also met Gordon Solie who was the equivalent of a Rock God to me). He was in character and full of himself and on point with every movement, comment and facial expression. Even back then, some 30 years ago, he was as good as gold and in this business he was “money” from the first words he spoke.

Other may have come after him – trying to perfect the ghoulish aura of the dark side (Kevin Sullivan before him and James Mitchell afterward) but none could outdo the master.

Now that Bearer find his way into wrestling immortality, I wonder how long before Vader and Rude are inducted and the likes of Big Boss Man Honkytonk Man and of course the great Randy Savage?

The character Paul Bearer may have been a gimmick to McMahon but without it, how much mileage would ‘Taker of Kane have gotten – three part of a whole that took the Attitude Era to a whole new level.

Rest in Peace Paul Bearer. You have finally found your rightful place in the afterworld of WWE greatness.

Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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