If you’re at all familiar with Poor Scholars then you know we have a few fans of professional wrestling on the staff. On March 5, 2013, Bill Moody, better known to wrestling fans as Paul Bearer, passed away in Mobile, Alabama at the age of 58. The Poor Scholars staff remembers one of wrestling’s greatest managers.
There were so many classic Paul Bearer moments throughout his years in WWE, it’s hard to narrow down just a few of my favorites.
However, early 90s Paul Bearer and his “Funeral Parlor” segments always killed it. I especially enjoyed this one with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair in the lead up to what I believe is the ’91 Survivor Series.
(Special note on this: Macho Man and Rowdy Roddy Piper are inexplicably announcing with Vince McMahon. Well, I guess it is so they can eventually save the Hulkster from the savage beating he was taking from Taker, but still it’s pretty perplexing. Definitely the worst three-man commentating crew ever as long as you ignore the time Monday Night Football was trotting out Dennis Miller, Dan Fouts, and Al Michaels together.)
This also might be one of the greatest spots ever in WWE, not just limiting it to Paul Bearer moments. Paul Bearer revels Kane is still alive and it is fantastic.
The bottom line is that neither the Undertaker nor Kane would have survived on their own as characters when they debuted if it wasn’t for Paul Bearer’s managerial expertise and presence on the mic. That alone cements his legacy as one of the greatest managers ever.
The most endearing part of Paul Bearer is his voice. Ohhhh, that ridiculous voice.
It had two versions: The Undertaker version (when Paul Bearer wore white makeup and had black hair and a mustache) and the Kane version (red hair, no mustache, no makeup, and just a lot of high-pitched anger).
The Undertaker version of Paul Bearer’s voice, a mixture of drawn out syllables and high-pitched squeals, is one of my favorite voices to imitate and I still use it occasionally with my Dad to get a laugh. Although my Dad never enjoyed pro wrestling, he stuck through hours of programming to make me happy, and he at least has that voice to give him a laugh every once in a while.
Besides his own memorable voice, Paul Bearer gave an actual voice to two (relatively) silent monsters (Undertaker and Kane) and a “deranged lunatic” (Mankind) and helped catapult them to wrestling stardom by putting them over with fans.
RIP, Paul Bearer; one of the greatest wrestling managers there ever was.