Welcome back to Spoon-Fed Wrestling.
To anyone who’s noticed, this is the first column in over five months. Yes, that’s right five, five, five, five, five months. It wasn’t by design. It just happened. Why? Because as I wrote in my last couple of columns, I was having a difficult time being a wrestling, all wrestling. I could spend the rest of this column cussing and discussing the particulars, but something vastly more important has caused my return to Spoon-Fed Wrestling—The untimely passing of William “Paul Bearer” Moody.
My heart is heavy as I reminisce on the life and work of William Moody, aka Percival Pringle III and Paul Bearer. He brought a level of entertainment to wrestling that few others ever managed to achieve. My condolences and prayers go out to the family and friends of William Moody.
I do have to admit that I made a massive mistake and an unforgivable oversight in the writing of that article. I failed to even mention Paul Bearer or how much of an impact Mr. Moody had on not only the career of The Undertaker, but wrestling as a whole.
I am not the first to say this, and I guarantee I will not be the last. The Undertaker would not have had nearly the success and longevity he’s had without the groundbreaking work of his manager Paul Bearer. It was a perfect match to have these two gentlemen work together. They meshed in a way that few if any other manager/wrestler duos ever have. And I dare say we will never see a combo as fully realized as these two.
Mark Calaway had the tools, the size, and the in-ring presence to be a big star. William Moody had already proven himself as a masterful heel manager in USWA and WCCW as Percy Pringle. I remember seeing the bleach blonde Percy on Saturday mornings as he managed such notables as Rick Rude, The Dingo Warrior, aka The Ultimate Warrior, and yes, Mark Calaway in his first professional match as Texas Red against Bruiser Brody at the Sportatorium in Dallas. Together these two would re-write the manager/wrestler gimmick.
The stories over the past week have been told countless times about how William Moody was originally hired by Vince McMahon as a photographer for the WWF, but upon hearing that Mr. Moody was a licensed Mortician, he knew he’d found the manager for The Undertaker who was needing a boost to the next level. This story will go down as legendary as any about how fate stepped in and put someone in the right place at the right time. Had this not occurred, I fear we would not only not have such fond memories of William Moody’s work, but The Undertaker may not have risen to the legendary status as one of the best ever in the business.
The many returns of Paul Bearer to the WWF/WWE were always highpoints in my fandom. The whole buildup and reveal of Kane was one of the best series of promos I’ve ever witnessed. The feud between Kane and Taker would never have had nearly the success it did without the stellar work of Moody. Based on that era alone I believe Paul Bearer should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. But here is where I’m going to differ from most people. I would not put him in this year.
Why? Because of his far-reaching affect on the business he deserves a prominent placement on the induction stage as one of the headliners. With the current stacked list of inductees, I feel this massively talented man would not get the spotlight I would like him to receive. That said, I will not complain if they make a place for William Moody this year. But if they do, they MUST have Mark Calaway induct him. He is the ONLY person who makes sense. He should also go in as both Paul Bearer and Percival Pringle III.
Well that’s all I have for this week. I think I’ll go watch some more videos of Paul Bearer and reminisce all the great fun I had watching him work me as a fan. I’ll miss you, Paul. OH YEEEEEEESSSSS!