|Ring name(s)||Mr. X
Dr. Rigor Mortis
Percival Pringle III
Percy Pringle III
|Billed height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Billed weight||250 lb (110 kg)|
|Born||April 10, 1954
Mobile, Alabama, U.S.
William Alvin "Bill" Moody (born April 10, 1954) better known by his ring names Percy Pringle and Paul Bearer, is a former professional wrestler and manager. He is best known for his time in World Class Championship Wrestling and his career with World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment as the manager of The Undertaker, Kane (Undertaker's storyline brother), and Mankind.
He entered the wrestling business in his teenage years as a ringside photographer. After high school, he enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving four years on active duty; during this time, he occasionally wrestled for Gulf Coast independent promotions during off-duty hours. In 1978, he began managing as Percy Pringle (or, alternately, Percival Pringle III) in southeastern independent promotions. There had been previous Percy Pringles in wrestling who were not William Moody. He married his wife Dianna the same year, and the couple had two sons Michael and Daniel. Daniel wrestles independently as "The Future Legend" D.J. Pringle. Immediately after his oldest son's birth, he cut back his involvement in the wrestling business in order to obtain a degree in mortuary science and earn certification as a funeral director and embalmer.
In 1984, he resumed full-time involvement in the wrestling business, using his Pringle character in Florida Championship Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling in Texas, and the United States Wrestling Association (a successor to WCCW). During this time, he served as manager for numerous wrestlers; he notably managed Rick Rude, "Stunning" Steve Austin, and Mark Calaway in their early careers. As Percy Pringle, he was also associated with the careers of Lex Luger, Eric Embry, and The Ultimate Warrior.
He joined the World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment in December 1990, after being mentioned by Rick Rude to WWF owner Vince McMahon. McMahon used Pringle's real-life involvement in the funeral industry to create the character of Paul Bearer (a play on pallbearer), a very histrionic, ghostly manager, who was almost always seen bearing an urn (which led to several storylines involving wrestlers stealing his urn), and whose catchphrase was "Ohhh yyyes!". The Undertaker was his only protege to make use of his urn, being able to draw mystical power from it that could revive his strength during matches, sparking up the phrase, "The power of the urn". While Bearer managed Mankind, Mankind had a tendency to hug up against his urn while rocking back and forth.
Pringle made his first appearance in February 1991 when Brother Love, who originally managed The Undertaker, passed him on to be managed by Paul Bearer. Paul Bearer took on a spookier, ghastlier character as time went on and referred to The Undertaker as "My Undertaker". Pringle played the character for over thirteen years. As Undertaker's manager, as a heel and later a face for over five years, he was a mentor to The Undertaker, playing a major role in his entrances by guiding him to the ring, undoing his tie, and collecting his trench coat and hat. Bearer also hosted the WWF talk show segment entitled The Funeral Parlor, which included memorable segments such as the Ultimate Warrior being locked inside a casket, among others. Eventually Bearer turned heel again by betraying his long-time friend at SummerSlam 1996 to align himself with The Undertaker's arch-enemy, Mankind. While managing Mankind, his new protege always referred to him as "Uncle Paul". During this time, Bearer would also enlist the services of The Executioner and Vader to do battle against The Undertaker.
In April 1997 at In Your House Revenge of the Taker, The Undertaker set Bearer's face ablaze using a fireball. As a result, Bearer's head was bandaged for a time before changing his looks, shedding the makeup of ghostly pallor and jet-black hair to his natural brown hair and less make-up. No longer using his ghostly appearance and mannerisms, he became loudmouthed and shrill. Around mid 1997, Paul Bearer blackmailed The Undertaker (WWF Champion at the time) into being his protege again by threatening to reveal a deep, dark secret involving him, often making references to "the fires of Hell". Feeling he had no choice, The Undertaker accepted. While managing The Undertaker this time around, Bearer was very unpleasant towards him, harassing and nagging at him constantly. Eventually, Undertaker lost his patience and refused to allow Bearer to continue being his manager, leading Bearer to reveal the secret.
The secret suggested that Bearer had a traumatic past with The Undertaker which long preceded Brother Love's joining the two in January 1991. The secret, which involved the Undertaker's family, was: The Undertaker's mother had an affair with Paul Bearer and as a result, gave birth to a younger half-brother of The Undertaker, named Kane. Throughout The Undertaker's childhood and teen years, he lived in a funeral home with his parents and half-brother. According to Paul Bearer, The Undertaker killed his parents and caused his half-brother's face to be bruised and scarred by setting the funeral home ablaze. At the time throughout mid to late 1997, The Undertaker denied all this, claiming it was his younger half-brother's fault. Bearer accused The Undertaker of being a "murderer" and "liar". Because of the fire incident, The Undertaker thought his younger half-brother and Bearer's illegitimate son had been dead for years, that is, until Bearer introduced Kane in October 1997 at In Your House Bad Blood; during which, Kane would cost The Undertaker a Hell in a Cell match against Shawn Michaels. This led to an intense, bitter rivalry between The Undertaker and Kane with Bearer very much involved.
Bearer and The Undertaker became a team once again as heels towards the end of 1998 when Bearer betrayed his own son, Kane, in favor of managing The Undertaker once again. Once becoming a heel with Bearer, The Undertaker shamelessly admitted to setting the funeral home ablaze for which he had initially blamed on Kane. Shortly thereafter, Bearer and The Undertaker formed the Ministry of Darkness. Bearer had somewhat reverted back to his original appearance once in the Ministry of Darkness, having jet-black hair and mustache. Both he and The Undertaker departed from the WWF unceremoniously in September 1999 as a result of The Undertaker suffering an injury.
In early 2000, Bearer, who turned face once more briefly, returned to WWF TV as Kane's manager, but he retired from on-screen performing shortly after WrestleMania 2000. Later that year, he went backstage to serve as a WWF road agent, stage manager, and talent scout. His contract with WWE ended in October 2002.
He spent the next year working with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling under the ring name Percy Pringle.
In October 2003, he signed a new three-year contract with WWE. Jim Ross, contacted him about rejoining the company, Paul at first refused the offer. Jim Ross then called again with an offer. At that time, he was suffering from health problems and depression related to his morbid obesity and underwent gastric bypass surgery in November 2003. As a signing bonus, WWE agreed to pay for the surgery, as Jim Ross promised.
In spring of 2004, Paul Bearer was kidnapped by The Dudley Boyz under the direction of Paul Heyman. This was set up in order to temporarily write Bearer out of WWE story lines because he had to undergo emergency gallbladder surgery after suddenly developing gallstones (a frequent side effect of gastric bypass surgery).
For the June 27, 2004 pay-per-view The Great American Bash, a match pitting Undertaker against both of the Dudley Boyz was booked. Paul Bearer would be encased in a glass crypt backstage, covered up to his chest in cement. In the storyline, Heyman demanded that Undertaker throw the match or else see Bearer suffocated in cement. By the time of the pay-per-view, Bearer had recovered from his latest operation and would appear on-screen.
Undertaker won the match but proceeded afterwards to pull the lever that sent cement into the crypt, completely burying Paul Bearer and, in kayfabe terms, suffocating him. (Bearer was not really at the event. The WWE had recorded footage of Paul Bearer in the crypt before the event. During the event, there was a stunt double in the crypt the whole time. That's why the TV audience could only see Paul Bearer and the crypt he was in – since he wasn't there, they couldn't actually show anyone on screen with Bearer). This shot ended the PPV and caused numerous complaints toward WWE, as in essence they had shown a (kayfabe) murder. The live audience, however, saw an extended ending in which Bearer surfaced for air and was carried from the arena on a stretcher. On the following week's SmackDown!, Bearer was acknowledged to be alive, although gravely injured, for kayfabe purposes. The rehearsal taping earlier in the day of the Bash – with Undertaker ad-libbing and only half of the stunt complete, in an empty arena – was leaked onto the internet dirt sheets and actually broadcast live by accident in many of the TV markets. As he had two years remaining on his contract, however, Bearer was used as a booker for the company up until WWE decided to terminate his contract, giving him ninety day notice on April 11, 2005.
On June 10, 2005, Bearer announced that he had signed a new deal with WWE which would allow WWE to market his personality and which would involve him attending autograph sessions and making promotional appearances and occasional appearances on TV and at house shows. Such an appearance occurred in late January 2007 at a SmackDown/ECW live event in Mobile, Alabama, where he joined the Brothers of Destruction at ringside, wearing his Paul Bearer attire, and carrying the original urn.
On April 11, 2007, Bearer appeared in the "Where Are They Now?" page, on the WWE website. He is said to have lost 500 pounds.
Moody married his wife Dianna in December 1978 and has two sons, Jason and Jake, and two grandchildren. Jason wrestles independently as "The Hebrew Hammer" J.B. Pringle. Jake is currently serving an 18 month prison sentence at the West Virginia Penitentiary for trafficking heroin.
Moody's health has greatly improved since his surgery. One year earlier, he admitted that he had weighed 525 pounds (238 kg) before the operation but now weighs under 300 pounds.
In September and October 2005, he conducted three shoot interviews for Ring of Honor. Two were done exclusively about him, talking about his career in wrestling. The third was with friend and fellow wrestling manager Jim Cornette. He returned full-time to his funeral business in 2006. In 2005, Bearer started his own independent promotion known as Gulf South Wrestling, which he announced closed on his official blog in May 2007, due to his fulltime schedule in funeral service.
From 2006 to 2010, Moody was the managing funeral director at Coastal Funeral Homes & Crematorium in Moss Point, Mississippi.
In July 2008, Moody teased a return in his blog mentioning a Kane story line. However Moody would not mention whether or not he was in the angle at all.
Moody's wife Dianna died due to complications resulting from breast cancer and chemotherapy on January 31, 2009. They were married for over 30 years.