Late Wrestling Legend Paul Bearer Remembers Dallas’ Sportatorium.
Sad news yesterday for the very specific age group that was prepubescent and feverishly excited about all things professional wrestling-related from the late ’80s through the mid ’90s: William Moody, one of the most revered and recognizable managers in the history of professional wrestling, died this week at the age of 58.
Moody had a prolific, storied career in the wrestling game, most prominently due to his role as Paul Bearer in the WWF (and, later, the WWE). The morbid, often creepy character was an important one, no doubt: As The Undertaker’s manager, he followed that massive mountain of a man wherever he went, often holding an urn filled with ashes and serving, when necessarily, as the voice for the otherwise mostly mute icon.
But Moody was a fixture in the wrestling scene long before his pairing with The Undertaker. Prior to managing that character, Moody stood in, under the name of Percy Pringle III, as the ringside support for such other iconic wrestlers as Rick Rude and “Stunning” Steve Austin (later “Stone Cold” Steve Austin).
And, before linking up with the WWE, it seems he spent a significant part of his early career right here in Dallas, working the legendary and long-shuttered Sportatorium venue and its prominent wrestling events before getting the call up to the big leagues.
To that end, we would like to point you today in the direction of an essay hosted on Moody’s Percy Pringle site that was originally penned for a Sportatorium even program in 1988. In the piece, simply called “The Sportatorium Story,” Moody tells the history of that revered wrestling arena through the eyes of a man named Bill Hines, who served as the venue’s maintenance man. Using this device, he touches on the sport’s rise in Dallas, the racial segregation problems that promoters would sometimes have at concerts and wrestling events alike, and the sometimes gruesome aftermath left behind in the wake of wrestling matches.
An excerpt from the piece:
Bill added that his favorite story was the night he was closing down the building after a particularly wild night of matches. “As I walked around the top of the box seats, I noticed a man slumped over in his chair.” Bill continued, “When I raised him up, there was a knife sticking out of his back right between the shoulder blades!”
A different time.
Read the whole thing here. And rest in peace, Moody.
[Hat tip to Mikey Rodge, the biggest adult wrestling fan I know.]