Born William A. Moody on April 10, in Mobile, AL. My lifetime interest in professional wrestling began at about the time I learned to walk. I remember that my Mom and Dad would take me to the local “Wrestling Live On Channel 5” studio television tapings. Needless to say, it was love at first sight. I remained a wrestling fan throughout my childhood, however my fascination really took off when I received my driver’s license and I was able to go to the matches by myself around the Gulf Coast area. If there was wrestling in town I was there, becoming a fixture at Mobile’s old Ft. Whiting Armory. When Gulf Coast Wrestling moved to the Mobile Municipal Auditorium (now known as The Civic Center), I moved right along with them, missing only a handful of events in seven years.
Naturally as time passed I eventually got to know many of the wrestlers, as well as the front office personnel. Four other area young men shared the same dreams as I did. Coincidentally, they all eventually made it into the wrestling business and three are still active in the business today. “Marvelous” Marcel Pringle, my wrestling cousin, is well known in Gulf Coast independent wrestling circles. Michael Hayes, one of The Fabulous Freebirds, currently works on the creative team for World Wrestling Entertainment. Robert Gibson gained fame as one-half of the tag-team known as The Rock and Roll Express and currently wrestles on the independent circuits. John Frenkle III, known as “Hollywood” John Tatum, retired from the ring and now manages his Family’s business at The Pensacola Florida State Fair.
Since photography was one of my hobbies, I was able to get my foot into the wrestling door as a ringside photographer. I furnished photos for the arena program, wrestling magazines and even the Mobile Register newspaper. As time passed, I picked up a few wrestling lessons from Gulf Coast Wrestling Legends. I have many heroes that are now my friends, such as the late Lee Fields and his son Ricky, Terry Lathan, Ken Lucas, Cowboy Bob Kelly, Don Fargo, Mike “The Hippie” Boyette, the late Tony “The Medic” Gonzales, The Wrestling Pro and there are so many more.
When I was five, my Dad was transfered to Bogalusa, Louisiana. I went to Annunciation Catholic School there from Kindergarten to the 6th grade. In the 7th grade we returned home to Mobile, where I continued my education in the Catholic School system, attending St. Dominic’s Elementary School, and graduating from McGill Institute in 1972. After graduation, I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, completing basic training at Lackland AFB, in San Antonio, TX. I was stationed, at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS for the entire four years of my active duty enlistment, as the Vietnam War was winding down. Following active duty, I served an additional two years in the inactive Air Force reserves. Fortunately I was able to continue my addiction with the world of professional wrestling, along with another occupation that few people are aware of. I am a licensed Funeral Director and Embalmer. Licenses which I maintain to this very day.
One of the first questions I am usually asked is, “How in the world did Funeral Service enter into the picture?” While I was serving in the Air Force I worked part time for Mobile’s Buddy’s Ambulance Service, becoming an Emergency Medical Technician. Frequent visits to local Funeral Homes sparked my interest in Mortuary Science. So oddly enough, my life has always been Wrestling and Funeral Service. Little did I know that 15 years later WWE’s Vince McMahon would be the mastermind to combine the two and create the Paul Bearer character.
I was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1976, and immediately went to work as a licensed apprentice Funeral Director/Embalmer at Mobile’s old Higgins Mortuary. At the same time, I attended night classes at The University Of South Alabama, and wrestled whenever I could. It was during this time that I met Dianna Lynn, whose family had moved to the Mobile area from East Liverpool, OH.
My actual pro wrestling debut came in June 1974, wrestling as “Mr. X”, in Greenville, AL. Yes, I actually wrestled for a few years. I even went as ‘The Embalmer’ and ‘The Mortician’ for a while, wrestling in southern independent organizations. In those days they called them outlaw groups. But it didn’t take me too long to realize that managing was the place for me to be. My first big break in wrestling came on April 10, 1978, in Vicksburg, MS. Thank goodness I made quite an impression on Promoters George Culkin and Frankie Cain (The Great Mephisto). I was asked to come to Biloxi’s then brand new Mississippi Coast Coliseum the very next night. That night, I went to the ring with a tag team known as The Mongolians, and manager Percival Pringle III was born! I immediately put my college education and Funeral Service on hold, and went on the road living my wrestling dreams.
About the same time I married the love of my life Dianna, on December 22, 1978. Then on July 28, 1979, the day after returning to the U.S. following a five-week tour of Japan, my first son Michael Thomas was born. What a wake-up call that was, I soon realized that along with the extra responsibilities of being a father, I needed a solid career to fall back on. Eventually, I quit wrestling full time, and returned to the funeral profession and college.
Graduating on The Dean's List, I received my Degree in Mortuary Science, and Funeral Director/Embalmer’s Certification from San Antonio College, in San Antonio, Texas. By the way, I still maintain my Funeral Service licenses to this very day. While in college, attending class during the day, I worked at night and on the weekends at San Antonio's premier Funeral Home, Porter Loring. Being the largest facility in the "Alamo City," I received plenty of experience in all areas of the industry. In 1983, I moved my family from San Antonio, a litle closer to home to Biloxi, Mississippi. Where I was employed with The Bradford-O'Keefe chain of funeral homes, along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I still have several friends in Funeral Service, that I keep in contact with, both in San Antonio and Biloxi.
On January 15, 1985, I returned to wrestling full time. Taking the wrestling world by storm, my flamboyant antics entertained fans in the Florida Championship Wrestling area, and with The Von Erich Family’s World Class Championship Wrestling Association in Texas. Through the years I have been fortunate enough to be associated with more than 40 of the top names in the business. Such as, The late “Ravishing” Rick Rude, The Assassin, Blackjack Mulligan, Matt Borne, Buzz Sawyer, The Great Kabuki, Eric Embry, and the list goes on and on. Notwithstanding managing Lex Luger, in Lex’s first pro wrestling match; The Dingo Warrior, later to be known as The Ultimate Warrior; and “Sugar Bear” Harris, well known as Kamala “The Ugandan Giant”. I was also proud to be instrumental in another young man’s career, Steve Williams, known as Stone Cold Steve Austin. Believe it or not, I even managed The Undertaker in his first professional match at The Sportatorium against Bruiser Brody. At that time he was called ‘Texas Red’. A complete list of the wrestlers that I have been associated with can be found in the STORY TIME ARCHIVES of this website. While in Dallas, my youngest son Daniel Joseph was born on January 8, 1987.
In 1989, I co-authored a book with Dennis Brent called, "Inside Secrets on How to Enter the Exciting World of Pro Wrestling!". The book became very popular during that time, and can still be found on Ebay now and then. I enjoyed 5-years as the writer and publisher of the WCCW and USWA programs that were sold at the live events. Few fans knew that I handled all of the merchandising, as well as The WCCW Fan Club. I even ventured into promoting my own shows in many Texas and Oklahoma venues.
The call to The World Wrestling Federation came on December 22, 1990. Enter the character known as Paul Bearer. I remained with The WWE for just short of twelve years, associating myself with The Undertaker, Kane, Vader, The Executioner (Terry Gordy), and Mankind (Mick Foley). Known as “The Manager Of Champions”, I was fortunate to be able to perform in over 28 foreign countries around the world, and in all of the fifty states, including Alaska and Hawaii. I was also named 1998 Manager Of The Year, by Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine. When not active on television programming I stayed busy backstage during the events as an agent and stage manager. I also assisted in the federation’s Talent Development Department, where I scouted future ring talent, several of which are on the top of WWE's active roster today.
I left WWE for a year beginning on October 14, 2002; signing a new contract on October 3, 2003. I made my first appearance back on WWE television on March 14, 2004 at WRESTLEMANIA-XX. Reuniting with my long-time business associate The Undertaker at Madison Square Garden. I proved that ‘kayfabe’ is still alive and well for 5-months, as my return wasn’t leaked to the ‘dirt sheets’ until 7-days prior to my reappearance. Of course if you asked me, I was in denial until the moment the pay-per-view audience around the world heard that first chilling “gong” in The Undertaker’s entrance music. It was certainly one of those priceless moments when the spotlight takes away life's shadows. I underwent Gastric Bypass Surgery on November 25, 2003, and Emergency Gallbladder Surgery on May 24, 2004. I have written an exclusive "tell all" story about my surgeries. If you care to take the time to read them, you can find the stories in the STORY TIME ARCHIVES of this website.
On Sunday, June 27, 2004, during THE WWE GREAT AMERICAN BASH - PPV, at The Scope Coliseum, in Norfolk, Virginia. The Undertaker himself, attempted to destroy The WWE Paul Bearer character. Bearer was encased in a glass crypt, filled with concrete. It was said that Paul Bearer, was the conscience of The Undertaker, his only weakness. Based on the fact that his feelings for him demonstrated what remained of "The Phenom's" mortality.
My regular WWE talent contract that I signed on October 3, 2003 expired on July 10, 2005. However, on June 8, 2005 I signed a multi-year "Legends" agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment, that was extended for another 5-years in 2011. This unique new deal allows me to work outside the company, while continuing to maintain my strong bonds with the organization.
I still live in Mobile. However sadly, my wife of 30-years Dianna, passed away on January 31, 2009, after three valiant battles with cancer.
Michael, our eldest son, is married and is working in medical computer programming. He and his wife Beth, presented us with our first Grandchild Troy Mitchell, on April 11, 2003. Tragically, Troy passed away the next day. On a happier note, Grace Elizabeth Moody was born at 1:20 pm, on July 26, 2004; and her little sister, my third granddaughter, Hope Abigail entered this world 7-years later on May 19, 2011.
Daniel, our youngest son, is also married, his lady's name is Jami, and they live in the Pensacola, FL area. They had our second grand-daughter, Danielle Marie, on Valentines Day 2008. Daniel works in private security, and also wrestles on the local Gulf Coast independent circles as "D.J. Pringle."
My parents live in West Mobile, and I also have a sister, as well as many other relatives and friends in the area. I lost my brother "Bubba" to brain and lung cancer on October 28, 2006.
I love to talk about my hometown wherever I travel. For years I was on the road close to 300 days a year. My friends and family sometimes think that the grass is greener away from the Gulf Coast. I am here to tell you that Mobile is the place to be, there is no place like home! I am big supporter of local amateur and professional sports teams. I still maintain a close relationship with the local “boys” that I started with.
I am on the Board of Directors of The Gulf Coast Wrestlers Reunion, and a lifetime member of the famous Cauliflower Alley Club. I am proud to say that The CAC honored me at their 2003 convention in Las Vegas, NV. On March 6, 2004 The Gulf Coast Wrestler’s Reunion also presented me with their prestigious Pioneer Award.
I am a big country music fan. You may hear me call myself “The Possum Fan” because of my close friendship with Country Legend George Jones and his band. My late wife and I have attended The Academy of Country Music Awards show, and The Grand ‘Ol Opry. I have a vast collection of country music that fills my home office.
During the summer of 2005, I was opened and promoted GULF SOUTH WRESTLING, Inc., only to close the company on May 16, 2006, due to circumstances beyond my control. I immediately reorganized and rebounded with my own independent group, GREATER GULF COAST WRESTLING, which has since closed too. My career has now come full circle, as I am promoting the sport I love so dearly in my home area. I feel that independent wrestling is the grass roots of our industry. If the roots die, the tree dies. I am on a personal crusade to protect our business on the local levels.
On August 1, 2010 I re-signed with WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT, making my re-debut with The Undertaker on SMACKDOWN, which was taped on September 21, 2010 in Bloomington, IL, and aired on Friday evening, September 24, 2010; which by the way was the final SMACKDOWN on The MyTv Network.
Even though I am under contract with WORLD WRESTLING ENTERTAINMENT, I remain available for select Independent bookings around the country. Including seminars, autograph signings, wrestling events, reunions, and the like. For more information please visit the "BOOKING" link on the splash page of this website;or contact WRESTLINGMARX.COM. ONLY serious inquiries need to contact me.
I am very true to the proud tradition of the “old school” wrestling that I was brought up on. I am very blessed to be able to live out my dreams, and I have a great respect for the business I am in. Especially for the legends that traveled the roads before me, they are the ones who made all this possible. I’ll never forget where I came from, and that my home is forever Sweet Home Alabama!