later paul bearer

In his later years, due to age and personal issues, William Moody only worked sporadically as Paul Bearer in WWE. That being said, every time he made a return it was more than memorable!

Paul Bearer is one of the only characters who has still appeared after his actual death.

No matter if the Paul Bearer character has been buried in cement, pushed off a balcony, or locked in a freezer the "Father Of Destruction" is very much alive.


On May 24, 2004, I underwent a cholecystectomy, a surgical procedure for the removal of the gallbladder. I had just returned from a WWE tour with The Undertaker in California and Las Vegas, and was sitting at this very computer keyboard in my home office. Suddenly, I felt as if someone had stuck a flaming pitchfork into my right side. The pain was excruciating, to say the least. I was in denial for a couple of hours, but I knew it was my gallbladder. Cholecystitis is a significant complication of gastric bypass surgery. After a call to my physician and a trip to the emergency room, I found myself back “under the knife” once again.

Gastric bypass is not an easy way to get control over weight problems. The surgery is not a solution in and of itself. There is a difficult recovery that is very painful. Aside from the pain of surgery, patients may experience nausea or severe gastric distress and the recovery time is extremely long. Many patients may not be able to return to work or normal pursuits for months, with frequent incidents of vomiting to identify unsuitable foods and to learn the new limits of their reduced stomachs and digestive systems.

When I signed a new deal with WWE in October 2003, the weight loss surgery was in the plan, which resulted in my return with The Undertaker at WrestleMania XX. Four months after my body altering operation, I was walking down that proverbial aisle of Madison Square Gardens. I was losing weight at an unbelievable rate. In fact, I had lost 120 pounds in the 4 months prior to my reunion with “The Deadman.” That’s one pound per day!

Although it differs from patient to patient, rapid weight loss following gastric bypass surgery results in many possible physiological problems. My primary complaint was a generalized weakness, especially in the legs. This is directly contributed to the lack of the ability to consume and digest adequate amounts of protein. The weakness is expected, and passes with time. However, time is not on your side when traveling with the premier sports entertainment company in the genre.

City-to-city, airports, rental car companies, hotels, arenas, personal appearances, interviews, etc., it is the nature of the beast. I was fooling myself trying to think that I could continue such a grueling schedule, while literally melting away my morbid obesity. It was a major chore for me to walk to the ring, especially climbing the steel stairs and stepping between the ropes. I took note of fan’s comments, some saying that I was seen tripping over the ropes. The truth being that I could hardly muster the strength to left my legs to step over them.

I continued to travel, dealing privately with my physical problems, until the gallbladder attack. Hindsight being 20/20, the cholecystectomy was a blessing in disguise for Bill Moody, but not for the Paul Bearer character. While I was convalescing, Paul Bearer’s absence had to be explained on television. Thus the kidnapping of Bearer by Paul Heyman and The Dudleys, including The Undertaker “doing the right thing” storyline. I was flabbergasted by the news that my character was going to be buried in a crypt of concrete.

Notwithstanding the pleas from my supporters within the company to the contrary, Mr. McMahon was determined that The Great American Bash would mark the end of Paul Bearer. I had no choice but to follow the script, even though at the time I was blind to the fact that it was all happening for my personal well-being. Being such a successful businessman that he is, Vince McMahon truly cares for his faithful employees. That fact has been proven with many talents through the years, over and over again. He was concerned that something might happen to me on the road while I was struggling to regain a normal life during my weight loss. After an almost 14-year relationship, Vince knew me better than I was willing to admit.

I returned home from Norfolk, Virginia after Paul Bearer’s career was cemented, and my health continued to improve daily. Although the call from John Laurinaitis on April 8th caught me by surprise, it certainly was expected. WWE decided to exercise its right to terminate my contract with a fair 90-day notice. I understand that it is completely about business.


You will see from the very beginning that I didn't make it any secret that I never had any intentions of returning to the WWE, and that it took some "arm twisting" for me to make that decision. I didn't think it was proper to discuss the length of my contract at that time, however now I feel a bit different, thinking that you should now realize that it was obviously a short term deal. I will also tell you that my WWE contract IS NOT completely over, in fact I have a couple of months remaining.

Considering my personal past, age, and other issues, I knew in my heart that I couldn't take on a full time schedule that most of the roster, many less than half my age, were doing. My agreement with WWE was for television (SMACKDOWN and PPV) only. That is exactly why you never saw me at any live events (house shows). Unless you have walked in the shoes of a WWE talent working a full time schedule, it is impossible for you to understand what it takes to do that. I've been there, done it, have a tee-shirt, and I know that I didn't want to do it again, plain and simple. These guys and girls out there on the road full time give up so much to entertain the masses.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time back with the company. Even though I didn't think so from the beginning, it was something that I seriously needed personally. It was so good for me to be back with my brothers and sisters from so many years ago, and meet the new talents that have come down the line. I can honestly say that I cannot say one bad thing about ANY of the young talents currently within the company. They are good people, that shared the same dream that I had over 30 years ago. They are outstanding athletes and performers, that have the same passion for the industry that I thought I had lost. However, this short run proved to me that I still have that passion and will carry it to the grave with me.

Personally, I truly feel that this past month doing the "kidnapped" storyline with Edge was some of the best work I have done in my 30+ years in the business. Why would I say that? I couldn't talk. Almost everything with the exception of screaming "Kane... Kane..." now and then, was all my eyes and body language. Some may not feel the same, but this is me talking... and I know my work better than anyone else.


The less we talk about this the better. On October 21, 2002, during a taping of Monday Night RAW, Triple H dressed up as Kane and pretended to have relations with the corpse of a woman that Kane used to be infatuated with. William Moody described this as his most embarrassing experience ever in professional wrestling.

As Moody told Jim Cornette during their Ring of Honor (ROH) Straight Shootin’ Series DVD:

I have never been more ashamed to be in this business, ever, ever. And I hope I never have to see that again as long as I live. That was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen on television.

He mentioned that the thing that also stung him was the fact the show was taped in Nashville, where he had many friends in the music industry, and he had gotten members of the George Jones group into the show that evening with their small children. Even though William had nothing to do with the content of the show (he wasn’t even there), he apologized on behalf of his business, ashamed and embarrassed that it even came to pass.

It was just the most disgusting thing that I’ve ever seen associated with our business.