WWE's Paul Bearer Passes Away: Notable Wrestlers He Managed Outside of the WWE
Professional wrestling is mourning the loss of Paul Bearer (real name Bill Moody). Bearer was a staple in the WWE as a manager during the initial rise of the Undertaker, who went on to become one of the promotion's biggest stars.
Yet while many mourn his passing, it was not just WWE's Paul Bearer who passed on. Lost was one of pro wrestling's greatest managers.
Before the Bearer era, Bill Moody dazzled as a manager in multiple territories. He frequented wrestling territories in Florida as well as World Class Championship Wrestling as the flamboyant, fast-talking Percival Pringle III. Carrying a cane in hand, Pringle was the louder, blonder version of the contrasting Paul Bearer character, but he was just as creepy.
Lex Luger and Rick Rude were among the standout talents managed by the effective mouthpiece, with a handful of other notables growing up under Bill Moody's watch.
Stunning Steve Austin
Before he was Stone Cold, Steve Austin spent many years wasting away in the mid-card as "Stunning" Steve Austin.
While it took years for the true potential of his talents to be realized, they were in no part wasted alongside Percy Pringle. In fact, they were honed.
Working as heels, Austin and Pringle expertly riled up the already-hot crowds in Texas' now-defunct WCCW territory. On one particular night, he joined Austin in a tag-team match against Chris Adams and Chris Von Erich. He even threw a rather impressive elbow reminiscent of Dusty Rhodes.
Lex Luger latched on to Percy Pringle in Florida during his embryonic phases in professional wrestling.
There, Luger was a well-built project still yet to even receive a name. Luger recalled working with Bill Moody and Rick Rude during an interview with In Your Head radio, stating that his job was simply to "take his shirt off and say nothing."
The Dingo Warrior (Ultimate Warrior)
While The Ultimate Warrior was fine-tuning his testosterone in WCCW as the Dingo Warrior, he received much guidance from Bill Moody's Percy Pringle character.
The Dingo Warrior was built as a machine-like heel. He had yet to be taken off his feet, leading up to a world-championship tilt against The Gentleman Chris Adams.
Green in the ring and limited on the microphone, Percy Pringle was the perfect accessory to mask the Dingo Warrior's deficiencies while being pushed as a top heel.
Koko B. Ware
One could tell just by looking at him that Percy Pringle was a man of soul. With his flashy suits and attention-grabbing cane, Pringle wasn't a typical southern gentleman.
That's why he was the perfect manager for soon-to-be WWE mainstay Koko B. Ware and Norvell Austin.
Austin and Ware joined forces as a young, hip heel tag team. Taking cues from Michael Jackson, the two called themselves the Pretty Young Things (also known as the PYT Express). Red jackets, white gloves and boom boxes were included.
They received a boost from the familiar heel tandem of Rude and Pringle, ominously referred to as "The Bossman" upon his arrival in Florida.
Ravishing Rick Rude
Ravishing Rick Rude always worked well with managers. He did just as much heavy lifting on the mic, creating a rare and interesting dynamic as very few of his abilities had to be hidden.
Prior to being scooped up by the WWE, Rude's career in the territories was linked very closely to that of Percy Pringle's.
Pringle was alongside Rude during his run as NWA American Heavyweight champion and in Florida as the NWA Southern Heavyweight Champion.