Michael Hayes reflects on Paul Bearer's passing

Page 2 of 3
March 07, 2013

WWE.com: You hear a lot of stories about how genuine a person Paul Bearer was, how do you think he got that way?

Hayes: You have to understand where he came from. His parents used to take him to the matches. He loved wrestling. It was his life. And back where we grew up, just to get backstage or maybe have a chance to get in the business was a dream come true. That was the dream. To make it to the top was never the dream, because that would have been gravy, and it was.

Every step of the way was another dream being realized, and he never lost that passion and that love for the industry because he never forgot where he came from. He never forgot what a big deal it was to get backstage and become the jabroni guy that gets beat all the time and then become the manager guy that talked good and looked funny and just kept climbing the ladder. He never forgot that, he never lost his passion. He loved his industry.

WWE.com: Why is it that Bill was able to connect with anyone from any generation?

Hayes: I think his Paul Bearer character is undoubtedly a real-life cartoon. I think every kid is scared of a funeral director or a mortician. How many kids do you see saying, “You know what I wanna be when I grow up? I wanna be a mortician and embalm people!” Which Percy loved to do, and was very good at it. So if you imagine this weirdo character, I think the visual that he gave matched your weirdness. And the voice was just magnificent, the eyes and the makeup, and him and The Undertaker were such a great pair. Such a great pair.

And he loved the fans. And the fans knew that he was genuine. He loved people that had the industry. Right away they had a common bond. They had a common denominator. They had something they could discuss and talk about.

WWE.com: You hear a lot of talk about legacy these days. What is Bill Moody’s legacy?

Hayes: When you are a product of the ’60s, ’70s, much less the ’80s, and you are in this industry — any industry in the ’80s and ’90s — you tended to live a different kind of lifestyle. And we all enjoyed our lives. But as Percy got older and traveled a little less, he got to spend more time with his wife, Diane, who he loved dearly. I remember when they first met, and I remember him lighting up like a Christmas tree about her and they became inseparable.

And he started appreciating life more, and time with his kids, and later his grandkids. When he lost Diane four years ago, he lost part of himself. But he also gained — what’s the word I’m looking for — almost like humility. Almost like appreciating every second and appreciating people.

He had realized that after his wife died to make the most of each moment. Take a second, say “I love you,” say “It’s fun to be with you.” Because you’re gonna argue, fuss and fight anyway and I think that had kind of consumed his life. I know he was tickled to death all the time to go see his grandchildren. He was always grateful to come back here, he was so grateful to the McMahons — who are gonna kill me for saying this — for sending him to get a gastric bypass. He told me a million times that was the only reason he was alive. It put 10 more years on his life. So he just started to learn what we all should, to appreciate the little things. 

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