William ‘Paul Bearer’ Moody has passed away, aged 58.
PWInsider states that details are not know at the moment, but he been telling people for some time that he wasn’t feeling well, and actually had cancelled some of his regular bookings recently due to ill feeling.
One of the greatest pro wrestling managers of all time, he started out in Florida’s Championship Wrestling, before moving onto World Class Championship Wrestling, where he became a foil for Rick Rude’s headline act, and also later managed the Dingo Warrior, who of course would have much success years later as the Ultimate Warrior.
In 1990, Moody signed for the WWF, where his profile and career would take an unprecedented leap. Christened as Paul Bearer – a name he was born to have, being an actual mortician – he was paired with a new WWF creation, The Undertaker. The rest is history.
Bearer was by Undertaker’s side for the early stages of what is now known as the Streak, the WWF Title reigns, all the major feuds Undertaker had with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, and later Mankind and Steve Austin.
As managers in the WWF came and went, Paul Bearer was always there. When you saw or thought of The Undertaker, Bearer was there also. It was that closeness between the two that caused WWF bosses to script a shocking heel turn by Bearer, siding with Mankind in 1996. A year later, Bearer was directly involved in the complex and convulsed angle that introduced Kane. Eventually, Undertaker turned heel and was reunited with Bearer, up until 2000 when Bearer was removed from television. He went on to work as a talent scout and road agent/producer, before leaving the company after 10 years’ service.
Following some forgettable appearances for TNA, WWE expressed an interest in bringing him back. Moody refused, however, concerned that his weight would affect him being able to perform and also prevent him from undergoing the travel commitments a WWE return would bring. WWE offered to pay for Moody undergo gastric bypass surgery. He would later state that WWE saved and lengthened his life with the surgery.
Paul Bearer made his WWE TV return, once again by Undertaker’s side, at WrestleMania XX in 2004 for the match against Kane. He stayed on TV until July of that year, when he was written off television following Bearer being ‘buried in concrete’ by the Undertaker. Brief returns also came in 2010 and 2013, involving Bearer in another Undertaker-Kane feud, as well as the Edge-Kane rivalry.
He will, however, always be most famous and synonymous for being at The Undertaker’s side, trusty urn in hand.
William Moody was said to be loved by just about everyone, with many saying there was never a bad word to be said about him. During the Undertaker/Paul Bearer heyday, he was the quintessential manager; knew his place, provided constant support for the talent he was managing, and added to the overall package. His appearances always provoked a reaction, be it positive or negative. Even after he left WWE for the final time in 2012, Moody always conversed with fans, through Twitter, Facebook and his official website. He regularly appeared at independent shows, and different conventions and signings.
WWE posted the following statement on their website;
“WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of William Moody, aka Paul Bearer. Moody made his WWE debut in 1991 as the manager of The Undertaker and went on to become a memorable part of WWE over the course of the next 20 years.
Our deepest condolences go out to Moody’s family, friends and fans.”
A host of wrestling personalities also took to Twitter to express their sadness.
“You always spoke very highly of me and I can not thank you enough for that! That you! #RIPPaulBearer…..you taught me so much. It truly saddens me to hear about this! I Love You, and I thank you eternally! RIP”
“Very sad night. RIP Paul Bearer, a man I grew up watching on tv and was lucky enough to have later on, as a friend.”
“Goodbye to a good friend, Paul Bearer. Say hi to Owen for me.”
“#RIPPaulBearer ….you always made me smile. Great entertainer, even better man! We love you & will forever miss you! God bless…”
“I’ve never heard one bad thing said about Paul. In this biz, that’s extremely rare. It says a lot about the man.”
“I’m so at a loss right for words right now. I’ve known him since 1995 & I can’t get myself together enough to write anything at the moment.”
“Our condolences go out to the many family, friends and fans of William Moody. A great performer in our industry.”
“Very sorry to hear of the passing of Paul Bearer.My best wishes to his family.A lovely man and my friend.RIP.”
“Saddened to learn of the passing of Paul Bearer (William Moody). He was a unique, one of a kind individual both in and out of the ring. RIP”
“Very sad about Paul Bearer,he was a great person and one of the original boys,he was what made wrestling great much love much respect HH”
“So sad. We lost a great person and a wonderful man today. Rest in peace paul bearer. God bless his family and Godspeed.”
“Just informed Paul Bearer aka Percy Pringle passed away earlier today. I have no other details. RIP old friend.”
“RIP PAUL BEARER. GREAT MANAGER. WONDERFUL MAN.”
Diamond Dallas Page:
“Sad to hear of the passing of Bill Moody (Paul Bearer)… Not a nicer man in the biz. RIP bro”
“Rest in peace, Paul Bearer. You will never be forgotten. There will never be another. #PaulBearer”
“I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of Paul Bearer. Our prayers go out to him and his family. God Bless!!”
“Very sad! God be with william moody’s family! God protect the moody family, please. Prayers sent. So sad”
We at The Palace of Wisdom extend our deepest condolences to Mr Moody’s family, friends and fans.
He was one of wrestling’s true good guys.
He will be missed.