In Memoriam: William Moody AKA Paul Bearer

michael dworkis looks back at one of wrestling’s last great managers…

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We learned last night that Paul Bearer, aka William Moody passed away at the age of 58.

Just as the Undertaker made his on-screen return this past Monday Night on WWE RAW, fans lit up with excitement. Sadly, Paul Bearer will only be at WrestleMania in spirit.

The character of Paul Bearer was famously known as the manager of The Undertaker, and other WWE wrestlers such as Kane and Mankind. [Editor’s Note: Some fans may remember him during his run in World Class as the villainous manager Percy Pringle III]. His facial expressions were an integral part of the Undertaker gimmick in the 90’s, he would twist his face in a scowl, his mouth would go wide with a laugh, and of course… his trademark promo closer…

“OOOOHHH YEEESSSSSSSSS”

For those who know, I do not need to say much. His character was iconic during the more, “cartoonish” days of then-WWE. He became more of a serious character during the Attitude Era, but his mannerisms and bravado remained the same. Paul Bearer truly was a character spanning two or even three generations of Wrestling.

I recall fondly, WrestleMania XX. It was time for Kane to face the Undertaker, after Kane buried his brother alive months before. We knew the deadman was coming, we could not wait.

The lights went off.

Total darkness.

Then…

“OOOOHHHHH YEEEEESSSSS.”

The crowd erupted. The trademark line, we all knew … it was HIM. Paul Bearer. The crowd was so loud, you could not even hear the theme for The Undertaker as he made his way to the ring.

That was not the power of the urn, that was the power of an icon.

We will miss you Paul Bearer. Thank you for entertaining us.