Michael Hayes reflects on Paul Bearer's passing

Page 1 of 3
March 07, 2013

One day after WWE icon Bill Moody’s (aka Percy Pringle, aka Paul Bearer) untimely passing at age 58, WWE.com sat down with one of Bearer’s oldest friends, Michael “P.S.” Hayes, for an exclusive interview about his time with the legendary manager.

WWE.com: Everyone has a Paul Bearer story, when was the first time you met him?

Michael Hayes: Percy and I go far, far, far, far, back. I think I first met him in ’77 when we were both in the business. I had met him before when we were both going to the wrestling matches. He lived in Mobile [Ala.]. I lived in Pensacola [Fla.]. The promotion was Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling. Lo and behold, I got in. I started putting up the ring, then I started to be the guy who did everything, from referee to being the jabroni who got beat to hell and back; then went back, put a mask on and got beat up again. But I remember Percy telling me how mad and jealous he was when he’d go, “Hot dog, that guy used to stand here in the audience with us, and now he’s there! Why him? Why not me?!”

The irony to the whole thing was once there was a promotion that opened up called Mississippi Championship Wrestling, which was a spinoff of Bill Watts’ Mid-South Wrestling, when I first went over there, I was the jabroni guy again. Because of his crazy looks, Percy got hired and he became the top manager, so I was jealous of him! It’s funny how things work out, but that’s when I first met him.

WWE.com: What was it like to share one of those long car rides? Do you have any wild road stories from your time traveling together?

Hayes: I had a number of them! But I guess the one that comes to mind was the time that — well, Percy was a real mortician, a lot of people don’t know that. He also used to work in ambulances. He was a very multi-talented guy. We were arguing in Hattiesburg [Miss.] about where to go eat. “We’re going to Krystal.” “No, let’s go to the Waffle House.” We did this two, three times, pulled him back in and out.

The last time we pulled out of the Waffle House, a truck had parked on the side of the road and blocked our vision as we were pulling out. Percy pulled out in his brand-new Mustang and this Jeep hit us on the driver’s side. The Jeep, spun us around and flipped us upside down. As soon as our car stopped spinning, he jumped out — he was a little smaller then — and jumped right on the Jeep’s door and got the passenger and driver out just like that before the cops or anybody got there. And we both blamed each other for that accident, but that was a pretty wild trip.

WWE.com: Your careers went in different directions, you went with The Fabulous Freebirds and Percy debuted as Paul Bearer in WWE. When Percy debuted with that persona, what was going through your mind?

Hayes: Before then we had a lot of interaction, even with The Freebirds, because as Percy Pringle, Bill Moody did very well in Southern circuits. Specifically I brought him into Dallas with World Class Championship Wrestling and he did well there. He came in with “Ravishing” Rick Rude, managed The Missing Link one time and a host of others. He was about to graduate mortician school when he was living in San Antonio when I took the Freebirds to FCW. Before he signed on the dotted line to start his career as a mortician I said, “No, no, no, get back in the business!” And he came down there and managed the Pretty Young Things and “Ravishing” Rick Rude. I was really, really happy for him once he got to WWE, and he was ecstatic. And if you get a job being who you are, it’s a pretty good deal.

View Comments
Paul Bearer Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles The Fabulous Freebirds Bio, Videos, Photos, and News Articles

ArticlesYou May Also Like