Wrestling: Paul Bearer

Paul Bearer (real name William Moody) (1954-2013) was a WWE manager and former wrestler, best known for his years managing The Undertaker. During the course of his tenure at WWE, he also managed Mankind, Vader and Kane. In kayfabe, his character was portrayed as a funeral director with certain mystical powers centered around an urn that he carried with him that seemed to empower whoever he managed. He was also later revealed to be the biological father of Undertaker's half-brother Kane.

He had also been a funeral director and mortician in Real Life, which was the inspiration for the gimmick.

He passed away due to complications from a blood clot on March 5, 2013. This didn't stop the WWE from using his (supposed) ashes as a gimmick in various matches. The next year, Paul Bearer would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Wikipedia has a more detailed rundown of his career and kayfabe history here.


"You can read my tropes, Ooooh YEEESSS!":

  • Acrofatic: He actually took some impressive bumps every now and then, and could dart away pretty quick when it looked like he was going to be attacked at ringside.
  • Action Survivor: Had been a wrestler under the names the Embalmer, the Mortician and Dr. X before settling into his role as a manager.
  • Affably Evil: Just a doughy man who runs a funeral home, and gets excited when talking about his work. Sure, he made some mistakes (like reanimating dead bodies to serve as wrestlers).
  • Alliterative Name: As Percy Pringle
  • Amplifier Artifact: The urn.
  • Arch-Enemy: (In Florida as Percy Pringle): The Fabulous Freebirds
    • (From 1991-1996): Anyone The Undertaker was feuding with at the time.
    • Later, Undertaker himself, also Kane here and there.
  • The Artifact: By the end of the 1990s, as a manager, he was basically the Last of His Kind.
  • Big "YES!": His Catch Phrase.
  • The Bus Came Back: Had surprise returns in 2004, 2010, and 2012.
  • But Not Too White: Subverted. Just look at the picture.
  • Catch Phrase: OOOOOOHHH YEEEESSSS!!
    • When being interviewed: Oooooohhh, Mr. (surname of interviewer)...
  • Composite Character: The red-haired version was less kindly, raving like a firebrand preacher. He also shared a bit more in common with Pringle.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Tended to get very into his character.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Ever since SummerSlam 1996 when he betrayed the Undertaker for Mankind.
  • Corpsing: Paul Bearer had stated in interviews that he often tried to make Undertaker give in and laugh on camera. However, in this interview before the 1992 Royal Rumble, it backfires and he himself...uh, corpses.
  • Creepy Mortician: That's assuming the funeral home itself isn't a front for...other illicit activities.
  • Distressed Dude: Was always getting kidnapped, at least since Paul Heyman and The Dudley Boys first kidnapped him in 2004.
  • Dye Hard: Was actually a redhead.
    • During his time as Percy Pringle, he was a bottle blond.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: He eventually lost the pancake makeup, along with a few pants sizes.
  • Eviler Than Thou: After Yokozuna dispelled the Undertaker at the '94 Royal Rumble, the Million Dollar Man and others scrambled around for months trying to find his body, eager to control him just as Bearer did. At last, DiBiase wheeled out a fake Undertaker (actually Brian Lee) to throw everyone off the track. This is one of the few times 90s Bearer got furious: he promised to make DiBiase suffer for hijacking his creation.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Whether he was talking in soft falsetto, or blowing the roof off the arena with his voice, Paul was a gurning, bug-eyed, living cartoon.
  • Evil Redhead: When he stopped dying his hair in 1997.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Completely inverted with his high-pitched voice.
  • Fanboy: Of George Jones. Would refer to himself as "The Possum Fan."
  • Fat Bastard: Perhaps one of the biggest in all of the WWE, matching fairly closely with Yokozuna — only without the muscle. He eventually shed a good deal of weight after undergoing gastric bypass surgery.
  • Guyliner: It was suggested from the very beginning that Bearer might be immortal or undead himself.
  • Hammy Herald: For Taker.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Amongst other things, he really hammed it up to get The Undertaker to laugh. In one memorable promo, he got the giggles himself.
  • Honorary Uncle: To Mankind for a while.
  • I Have Many Names: The Embalmer, the Mortician, Mr. X, Percival "Percy" Pringle III, Paul Bearer.
  • I Have No Son: Seemed to go back and forth on this with his kayfabe son Kane.
  • I Love the Dead: Liked to wax poetic about plagues, inquisitions, slaughters in centuries' past. Business was booming for his line of work in those days!
  • I Was Quite The Looker: As Paul Bearer, he mentions this trope after he reveals himself as Kane's real father, having had an affair with the Undertakers mother at some point decades ago. As those of you who have seen photos of Moody in his younger days, its basically true.
  • In Memoriam: On December 8, 2013, Championship Wrestling from Hollywood held the Percy Pringle III Memorial Cup.
  • Item Get: Paul holding the urn aloft like the Holy Grail.
  • Joker Immunity: Hold on, how many times has this guy died? Kane stuffed him headfirst down a real-life manhole. He turned up later in the PPV looking no worse for wear. Not even a grease spot. He (or rather, his stunt double) also survived being buried in cement.
  • Large Ham: And how! I mean, just look at him!
  • Last of His Kind: The last male manager for many years.
  • The Load: The reason Undertaker gave for burying him in cement in 2004. He's also proven to be this to Kane after his 2010 return, which is partly why he didn't rush to save him in 2012 when Orton kidnapped him.
  • Louis Cypher: One possible interpretation, given his sharp suits and father figure role to both Kane and Taker, two wrestlers frequently described as demons from hell.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Revealed that he was Kane's father the day after Unforgiven when Kane's arm was engulfed in flames after the first Inferno match. Later related the entire story in an interview segment with Jerry Lawler.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: He was nothing like his in-ring personas, the underhanded Percy Pringle or the sleazy, scheming Paul Bearer. In real life, Moody was a dedicated family man, of strong moral convictions, and had a very open relation with his fanbase. Just read this blog post in which he tells of splitting his salary with unpaid jobbers.
  • Non-Action Guy: This was Lampshaded on the May 10, 1999 episode of Raw is War when he was forced by Commissioner Shawn Michaels to wrestle The Big Show.
  • One of Us: As said above, he was very open and accessible to the fans, both before and after the internet age started. Because he was also a fan of the industry himself (a fact that Mick Foley's first book makes clear), it's easy to see why fans reacted with thunderous cheers when his classic "Ohhh yessss!" came over the PA at Madison Square Garden at Wrestlemania XX. One of their own had just come home.
  • Pornstache
  • Power Stable: (as Percival Pringle III in Florida, Texas and elsewhere): The Pringle Dynasty, which included, among others, Rick Rude, Bad News Harris, Lex Luger, "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer, Abdullah the Butcher, Jack Hart (Barry Horowitz), the Great Kabuki, Blackjack Mulligan and Koko B Ware
  • Punny Name: Pall-bearer, anyone?
  • Say My Name: KAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEE!!!!
  • Sharp-Dressed Man
  • Sinister Minister: When presiding over Undertaker and Stephanie McMahon's "wedding".
  • Start My Own: In 2005, he started his own promotion, Gulf South Wrestling, which he dissolved in 2007 when his business partners had wanted to continue it without him.
  • Sweet Home Alabama: He was from Mobile.
  • Talk Show with Fists: "The Funeral Parlor", an interview segment he had with The Undertaker in the early 1990s. His show replaced "The Brother Love Show," which was where he debuted shortly before WrestleMania VII, replacing Brother Love as Taker's manager.
  • Weapon of Choice: The urn.
  • Wham Line: "He's alive! Kane is alive, Undertaker!"
  • Wrestling Doesn't Pay: Inverted, as he was actually a certified mortician in real-life, and also operated a funeral home in Mobile, Alabama.
    • In a more literal inversion, his WWE appearances in 2004 provided him the cash he needed to undergo gastric bypass surgery.