I don’t even know where to start this.
I’ve always said that you can’t be a “good guy” and last in the wrestling business . . . and then there was William Moody.
I have such a heavy heart as I write this. I don’t know if I want to cry, throw up, or just go in a really dark room and pull the covers over my head. No, William Moody–no, Paul Bearer, because that’s how I always referred to him—and I weren’t best friends, we worked together, just like I worked with hundreds of others . . . at least that’s what I thought until now.
Distraught just isn’t the right word to use. Shocked, heart-broken, devastated—they might be better choices. You just never really know what kind of an impact somebody has had on your life . . . until they aren’t there anymore. Then you just have to live with the fact that you never told them.
Forget the fact that he was the single, greatest storyteller that I ever worked with, and maybe in the history of the wrestling business. The Undertaker was a man of few words, Kane, barely spoke, it was up to Paul to tell one of the most intricate stories that I had the privilege of being a part of. Looking back now, I don’t know if anybody else could have done it. Look at the role he played for cryin’ out loud. One of the most over the top characters in the history of the business, but yet, you believed every word he said, while he somehow succeeded to scare the bejesus out of you, even if you were a thirty-something wrestling mark, like I was at the time. Yes—HE WAS THAT GOOD!!!
You know, I’ve never said this before publically, but there were times in my career, when I hid in the darkness behind that curtain, would watch a performer do his thing, and tear up—literally tear up. There was just something about watching a pro, bring something that was totally fictitious, to life. In other words, make wrestling as believable as it could possibly be. No one made me tear up more than Paul . . . no one. He was just that damn good.
But, to me, the character he played was a far cry to the man he was. I’ll never forget one particular “Monday Night Raw”, where I paraded out Howard’s Stern’s whack-pack, in an effort to get a rating. Yeah. . . I did things like that back in the day. Well, when the segment was over, I turned around and there was Paul. Paul looked me in the eye and said, “Vinnie Ru, you just killed the wrestling business.” And, he was serious—dead serious. I remember feeling absolutely heartbroken. Yeah, I had been criticized a million times before, by a million different people, but this time was different. This time was different because with those words, I felt that I had let Paul down; a man that was no doubt one of the most decent, honest and humble men I ever met—no, not in the business—but, in my life.
The next day, when I walked into the building, I could hear Paul in the distance yell, “VINNIE RU!!!! How are you today?” He didn’t treat me any differently than he did before. To him, business was business, and how he felt personally about you—was a very different story. That taught me not only a great lesson in the wrestling business—but, a great lesson in life. And, it has stayed with me to this day.
Thank you for teaching me about life, Paul. I love you, and will never forget you.