Often, it's frowned upon when you are on the "media" side of a genre to become too friendly with the people you are covering, for obvious reasons. In pro wrestling, the rules are a little different. Many who cover pro wrestling, love pro wrestling, and get along best with those in the industry who share that love.
One of those people was William Moody.
The entire pro wrestling community, no matter what company currently pays them, is mourning the loss of Moody, known best as Paul Bearer, who died on Tuesday night at age 58. He was one of the nicest people in the industry. You would be hard pressed to find somebody who had a bad word to say about him.
As I write this, details of his death are unclear, except for the fact that he had canceled some regular bookings in the not-so-distant future because he hadn't been feeling well.
It's times like these when you reflect on the man's career or personal interactions you have had with him. I was blessed enough to have great conversations with the man.
On Right After Wrestling (before it was known as Aftermath), Jimmy Korderas and I interviewed him twice. We talked about his career, in particular how he would like to enter the WWE Hall of Fame. He was humble in his response, saying if it comes, it comes, but he is so happy with his career that he doesn't need that ring to feel validation because the fans have already given it to him.
At the annual Cauliflower Alley Reunion event in Las Vegas last year, I finally met the man.
We met in a hallway and we walked back to the banquet reception that was happening that night. He asked me to join him at his table and let me pick his brain for 45 minutes on the wrestling industry and how to "make it" in the business.
He didn't once make me feel like an overzealous fan or aspiring commentator -- he was patient and was more than happy to answer my questions.
That just goes to show you the type of man he was -- he loved the business as much as I did, and was perfectly happy to talk about it and impart wisdom.
We had never met, and he certainly didn't owe me anything, but he did it anyway.
I will never forget that.
One thing is certain -- if it weren't for Paul Bearer in those early days, The Undertaker would not have gotten so popular. Paul Bearer was crucial, with his unmistakable voice and mannerisms, not to mention the urn.
Remember, Paul Bearer wasn't even the Undertaker's first manager. He replaced Brother Love, who brought The Undertaker to the ring for the first month or so.
Rest In Peace, William Moody.
Thank you for the memories from your long and storied career, and thank you for being caring enough to talk to me and give me wisdom. I took all your words to heart and apply them every day. Thank you.