Nine Memorable Moments from Paul Bearer's Career
On Tuesday night, the world learned of the tragic passing of legendary manager Paul Bearer.
Few details were published in the announcement of his passing. Bearer has publicly talked about the health issues he battled over his career, most notably his weight.
In the spirit of remembering, or educating for those who might not have seen some of his work, I've put together a list of nine great moments in the career of the Paul Bearer character.
These moments aren't put in order of worst to best, as they all are highlight moments for his character in my opinion. The only order to the moments is chronological as the years went on.
Paul Bearer's Debut
The debut of Paul Bearer in WWE took place on The Brother Love Show. The Undertaker was brought in to WWE in the storylines by Ted DiBiase and Brother Love.
It is hard to imagine anybody other than Paul Bearer being the person leading The Undertaker, especially in 1990, down the aisle. WWE quickly realized a manager with a similar mysterious character needed to be paired with The Undertaker, and they were right.
The debut would prove to be the beginning of a great run.
Funeral Parlor Segments
In 1991 and 1992, we saw a lot of the Funeral Parlor segment. It was a formatted segment for The Undertaker and Paul Bearer to further their characters. Before there was the Highlight Reel or MizTV, there were segments like Piper's Pit and the Funeral Parlor.
The look, lighting and feel of the Funeral Parlor was like nothing seen before in WWE. Paul Bearer's talents on the microphone and his understanding of his character really showed in these memorable skits.
Paul Bearer Confronts the Fake Undertaker
The summer of 1994 saw one of the most unusual storylines. After The Undertaker disappeared for months, Ted DiBiase brought back who he claimed was The Undertaker. This guy looked, dressed and appeared to be The Undertaker―but it wasn't the real one.
Paul Bearer confronted the impostor and it set up the main event for SummerSlam 1994 with The Undertaker vs. The Undertaker.
I feel this storyline was key for Paul Bearer, as it was the first time he ever had to carry weeks of television on his own.
Paul Bearer's SummerSlam 1994 Entrance
The Undertaker vs. The Undertaker match came and provided one of the most memorable entrances ever.
This might not seem as big of a deal now because we've seen several comebacks and alterations to The Undertaker character since.
But remember, in 1994, this was the first time since debuting four years earlier that we had seen The Undertaker disappear and then have any changes to his character.
Paul Bearer Turns on The Undertaker
I'll never forget the shock I had when Paul Bearer turned on The Undertaker at SummerSlam 1996.
He sided with Mankind and helped him win the first-ever Boiler Room Brawl. This was a true shock moment in wrestling. The characters of Bearer and Undertaker were so unique that it was hard to imagine them ever not with each other.
This shock was well timed and gave a fresh era of booking for The Undertaker, Bearer and Mankind, who Bearer was now managing.
Paul Bearer Reveals Kane Is Alive
In what might be a highlight of Paul Bearer's importance and range as a character―the famous reveal that The Undertaker's younger brother is still alive.
I've always thought the back story on The Undertaker and his feud with Kane is one of the most compelling ever in sports entertainment. This couldn't have been successful without the mentor/father figure role that Paul Bearer played in the life of both characters in past and present.
Paul Bearer Debuts Kane
The focus was on Kane debuting, but it was certainly a highlight for the Paul Bearer character as he came walking towards the ring with fireballs going off behind him and Vince McMahon screaming “that's gotta be, that's gotta be Kane.”
The Long-Awaited Return
At WrestleMania 20, The Undertaker returned to his original gimmick to once again fight Kane.
The return of the original character wouldn't have been complete without Paul Bearer. In a moment of great memory to me, the lights went out in Madison Square Garden and was followed by a loud, chilling voice saying in a way only he could, “oh yes.”
The Final Return
It was the most recent, but equally exciting return of Paul Bearer.
In 2010, shockingly a casket came to the ring to reveal Paul Bearer. The lights then go out and naturally The Undertaker appears in the ring.
You don't know how much you miss something until it's gone. I enjoyed so many moments in my life with Paul Bearer on the television screen. I'd give anything to have the lights go out and for him to appear one more time.
The wrestling world has lost a great manager and the world lost a great person. Rest in peace.