William Moody, better known in the professional wrestling world as Paul Bearer, died at the age of 58 back in March 2013 when he suffered a heart attack. His death was mourned by wrestlers and fans across the world, particularly his long-time onscreen partner The Undertaker. But Bearer had one more role left in wrestling to play, as WWE incorporated his death into the feud between "The Deadman" and CM Punk leading up to WrestleMania 29. Punk even went so far as to pour Bearer's "ashes" over an unconscious Undertaker while Paul Heyman dressed up in Bearer's classic look days before the event.
The story was met with some criticism as certain fans found Bearer's posthumous involvement to be in poor taste. The Undertaker initially felt the same way, as he explained in the WWE Network's new documentary The Mortician: The Story of Paul Bearer.
"At this point, I have a little bit more say on whether things happen or not. And I was conflicted," Mark Calaway said. "Initially I felt like it was too disrespectful."
But he soon came to the realization that it was exactly what Bearer would have wanted, given his lifelong attitude towards the business.
"But then we kind of come to the conclusion like, Paul would love this," he added. "We're using the character. We're not talking about Bill Moody, we're talking about Paul Bearer. And he absolutely would have loved it. His character is still relevant at this point, and that we're using it."
Kane and Bruce Prichard both agreed.
"That's what he would've wanted," Glenn Jacobs said. "They built an entire WrestleMania angle around Paul Bearer. And some folks [are like], 'Oh gosh, that's disrespectful.' No, that's the biggest compliment and that's the biggest tribute that you could've given him."
"I'll put my life on it," Prichard added. "Bill Mooney sitting up in heaven going 'oh yes!' Loving that after he has gone and left this earth, was still a major part of a WrestleMania main event storyline."0comments
That storyline turned out to be the last in The Undertaker's undefeated WrestleMania streak. A year later Brock Lesnar would break the streak at 21-1.
The Undertaker is scheduled to give his "final farewell" at the upcoming Survivor Series pay-per-view on Nov. 22. Check out the full card for the show below:
- WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns
- Raw Women's Champion Asuka vs. SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks
- United States Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn
- Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits
- Men's Survivor Series Elimination Tag Match: Team Raw (Keith Lee, AJ Styles, Sheamus, Braun Strowman, TBD) vs. Team SmackDown (Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, King Corbin, Seth Rollins, TBD)
- Women's Survivor Series Elimination Tag Match (Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Lana) vs. Team SmackDow (Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, TBD)