Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I'm going to take a moment

I don't watch a lot of television.  It just doesn't interest me a whole lot.  I do watch movies, and some older shows on DVD, but I don't watch much in the way of broadcast television.

I do, however, watch professional wrestling.  I think it's hilarious, most of the time.  And I enjoy watching athletes bounce around and act like a bunch of hams.  And they are athletes, even if what they do isn't a sport in the same way that things like American Soccer or American Football are considered sports.

But this isn't so much about wrestling and whether or not it is a sport, as it is about an icon in the sport.

Last week Bill Moody died.  He wrestled under the name Percy Pringle III, and managed some modern icons under the name Paul Bearer.  I knew him barely through emails and conversations we'd had through emails.  I read his blog, and I have watched him in the WWE since he arrived in '94 to manage The Undertaker.  I've always like The Undertaker, since he arrived in 1990 (wow, it's been a while.)  I do admit to some favoritism.  I prefer The Undertaker's little brother Kane just a smidge more over 'Taker. 

Both characters were linked, not just by their familial relationship (technically, half-siblings.  They share a mother, but had different fathers.)  But also by Paul Bearer (who happened to be Kane's father.)  Paul managed The Undertaker and carried around the Urn Of Power (tm) (I'm kidding, sort of.  It was just the urn, but originally Taker's "powers" seemed linked in some way to the urn.  It was the 90's and storylines were often a bit silly.)  Paul was creepy, and funny, and even when he was at his creepiest I always thought he looked like he was just having an absolute blast with the character.  (Yes, I have understood the difference between characters and people for years.  Even in wrestling.)

Over the years, as he got older and the characters evolved, Paul was seen less often.  He would sometimes show up to be mentally harassed by Kane or Taker or both and then would vanish again for years.

Outside the ring, he was such a nice guy.  Always willing to talk to any fan over email, twitter, letters, or at meet & greets.  He didn't just send out form letters, either.  He obviously wrote each response himself.  I've NEVER EVER heard a bad word about him.  Not from backstage, not through dirt sheets, not in the media, and not from anyone who ever met him or knew him well.  From his blog, he was obvious a very devout person, religiously speaking, and yet unlike so many people, he TRULY believed in the "Live, don't Preach" mentality.  That's almost as rare as hen's teeth.

I knew he was getting older, and I knew he'd had health problems for years.  But it wasn't until last month that he really started looking old.

Goodbye Bill, my friend.  I didn't know you well, and I wish I'd known you better.  Even so, I am very proud to have had what little time to talk to you that I did and I wish I had taken better advantage of it.  Know that you will be missed by your entire extended family.  Not just your immediate family, and not just your family in the ring.  But all those people who were impacted by your stay on this planet and in this life.  The tribute to you on RAW this past Monday was very nice, but still doesn't do you justice.  I hope we get to meet again some day and in some way.

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