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Paul Bearer & Ricardo Rodriguez Added to WWE ’13

October 2, 2012 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

THQ and WWE announced today via press release that Ricardo Rodriguez and Paul Bearer will be featured in WWE ’13. WWE Games has an interview with Bearer about managers in wrestling, who he likes these days and more. Check out the highlights:

On his career in mortuary sciences: “When I was eight years old my grandfather died and I went to his funeral and just became amazed. I don’t know what it was about it…seeing what the funeral directors do and seeing the caskets and the funeral home and there was just something about it that grabbed me. Somebody would ask me, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ And I’d say ‘An undertaker.’ And they would just freak out. ‘An undertaker!? What is wrong with you? What is wrong with this kid?’ It was always wrestling and the funeral business for me, but Vince McMahon was the one that put the two together. I just wish that we had a tape recording or video or something of the day that I went up to Stamford, Connecticut in the old Titan Towers, with me sitting in the boardroom with Vince and Pat Patterson and JJ Dillon. We were sitting there talking and I didn’t even know that Vince was looking for a manager for the Undertaker. Vince knew who I was because I was on [World Class Championship Wrestling in Dallas], which was on ESPN. I brought a tape with me, which was totally unnecessary, and my resume. He looks at my resume and he looks over at JJ and Pat Patterson and says ‘Do y’all know that he’s a real mortician?’ They are such great guys – I love them to death. And they all start laughing like a son of a *****. Vince is laughing like, ‘Ho ho ho ho!’ – you know, that trademark Vince McMahon laugh. So that moment there when we all realized that they were looking for a manager for Taker and that I was a real mortician… It was a moment in time that I will never forget and I will take to my grave with me.”

On the purpose of a manager: “Managers were mainly for the wrestlers that couldn’t talk – that couldn’t do an interview. Early on, Taker didn’t talk. Except for a ‘Rest in peace’ once in a while, the rest of it was me. We used to do an interview for every market that we had a show in, so we would do 40 back-to-back interviews for different markets all in one day. One week, it would be San Francisco, Miami, New York, bouncing back-and-forth to the big cities and the overseas markets, too. We did a ton of interviews, so you had to be able to talk, and thank God, I was blessed with this mouth. Managers were mainly for the talking, but you also needed a character that would keep people’s attention. That was no problem for Lou Albano or Freddie Blassie, who was a wrestler for years and years and could certainly keep anybody’s attention whether he was managing or wrestling. And hell, Lou wrestled too years ago. I started out in the business wrestling. Bobby Hennan wrestled. I love Bobby dearly. I stole all my ‘Percy Pringle’ stuff from him. The blonde hair and all the stuff that I wore? I stole it all from Bobby. We became really good friends because we got to work together with Gorilla Monsoon when we were doing the commentary. Bobby was and still is my hero, and he knows it because every time I see him, I tell him. I think he’s tired of me saying it.”

On his favorite managers: “No. 1 is Bobby Heenan. No. 2 will surprise a lot of people because I was in the business before him: No. 2 is Jim Cornette – I love him dearly. He is so underappreciated. If you were to have lunch with me and Jim Cornette, we are so much alike. We are both Southern boys: He’s from Tennessee and I’m just right down the road. God help people when they are around me and Jim at the same time. I would guess Mr. Fuji would come next at No. 3, primarily because I worked with him so much. He was an outstanding wrestler. A lot of people disagree with me about his wrestling abilities because he would use his Japanese gimmicks and salt. I guess after Fuji would be Lou Albano – he always treated me so well. He came to me when I first met him and we had a show in White Plains, N.Y. – he sought me out. Take that back, I forgot Jimmy Hart. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. No. 1. Heenan, No. 2. Cornette, No. 3. Jimmy Hart, No. 4.Fuji and No. 5 is Lou Albano. Heenan was my hero and I learned so much from him. I was such a fan when he was in his prime managing Nick Bockwinkel in the AWA and all that time before he went to Vince. But once we met each other…the chemistry! We were a hell of a clique together. Bless his heart.

On present-day managers: “There are none now. I guess Ricardo Rodriguez could be considered a manager now, but he certainly wasn’t when he first started. But as time has gone by, he has evolved and he’s asked me for pointers. And I’ve given him pointers that he didn’t even ask for, like facial expressions. He would just have a stone face, and I would say go back and look at some of the old stuff like Bobby Heenan and Lou Albano, and the real old-school managers that I grew up on. They’re all gone, except for Jimmy Hart and me and Jim Cornette, as far as old school managers there is no such thing anymore. At this point in the game, I will concede that Ricardo Rodriguez is a manager and will get involved in the matches, and he took a **** hard bump the other night [Ricardo had recently been hit with a Brogue Kick from Sheamus]. There are certain parts of the match where the wrestler needs some kind of escape and the manager can provide that. Like what Ricardo did the other night, there are spots in the match where they need a third party, which doesn’t have to be a wrestler. That was the manager’s position, where you would sometimes take a bump.”

On appearing in WWE Games: “One of my dreams for years was that I wanted to work in Madison Square Garden – that’s everybody’s dream in this business. And I had the chance to work MSG and do all of these things and some things that I never even dreamed of. They had some video games come out early on – I guess it would have been in the early 1990s, like Nintendo. I was on some of those, but they can’t touch what y’all do today. And I’ll just never forget walking in the living room and seeing my two boys playing those games on TV and saying ‘I want to be Daddy, no, I want to be Daddy. No, you be Undertaker. No, I want to be Ultimate Warrior.’ Two of my dreams were that I wanted to be in a video game and I wanted to work in MSG. My dreams have far exceeded anything that I thought I would do in this business, and here we are in 2012 and I’m still in the business and I’m still under a Legends contract with WWE and I am still having a blast.”

On working with Undertaker and Kane: “They are such great performers, such great athletes. Such great men, gentlemen in general. I am truly humbled that I have been allowed to be associated with them for all these years. When me and Taker first started, his first WrestleMania was my first WrestleMania, so we’ve really been together all that time. I get asked, would you have thought then, that he’d be still going in 2012? Hell no, I wouldn’t then and I’m sure that he wouldn’t have either. In the early years, me and Taker were together so much, I mean all the time. We had a very special relationship and a very special bond. It was such a perfect chemistry, a perfect meant-to-be thing. We were meant to be for each other, but we had no idea it would last this long.”

On his role in the Undertaker’s legend: “I’m humble, I certainly don’t want to come out and say there wouldn’t be an Undertaker without Paul Bearer. It certainly isn’t true. But it wouldn’t have been the same Undertaker. There certainly will never be another Paul Bearer, either. A mortician, with that much wrestling experience, too? I’m sitting in my home office and I have the original urn – I’m looking at it right now. I’m happy to say that I took credit for that – the urn was my idea. The managers always needed something, like a walking cane. A lot of them carried walking canes like Mr. Fuji and others. The urn just came out of nowhere. Being a funeral director, I didn’t have any problem getting one. If Vince ever sets up an actual physical Hall of Fame, with memorabilia and stuff like that, it’s where it will end up. For now, I’m proud to say that I have the urn right here on my shelf. My house looks normal, but once you get back to my home office, it’s the Smithsonian institute of wrestling.”

On his favorite ‘Attitude Era’ moments: “DX was one of a kind. They have done so many things and made the show so enjoyable. One of my favorite DX moments was seeing them go down the street in that **** tank, with the army helmets on. The ‘Attitude Era’ and the Monday night wars were just…I’m at a loss for words. It was so unique, it **** well was a war. Without a doubt. Vince didn’t hesitate to do anything to beat WCW. And sometimes we’d beat them and sometimes they’d beat us. The popularity of professional wrestling at that time was at a high for both of us. Then of course the birth of Steve Austin, who started at Dallas in the Sportatorium, with a wrestler named Chris Adams. I was involved in all that. I was Steve’s manager, and his ex-wife was his valet. There would be tag matches where it would be me and Steve Austin against Chris Adams and Chris Von Erich. We took it all around the state, and I had a very close relationship with Steve Austin. I taught the part of doing interviews and facial expressions, and I taught at the wrestling school that Steve Austin attended. He was a natural. I remember seeing him sitting there with the other kids and I would call him up and say, ‘You’re going to have a match with Kerry Von Erich on Friday night. Cut me a promo.’ Austin would get up there and it was already there. He is just a first-class guy. I’ll never forget that interview that he cut with Michael Hayes and he said, ‘Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ****!’ for the first time, and the rest is history.”

On contemporary WWE Superstars: “CM Punk is outstanding. I put CM Punk above Cena. I never knew him until I came back when I got kidnapped by Edge. He has the mentality and the ability and the athleticism to perform. He picked up all of that on his own, from Taker and Kane and talking with those guys. He is like a sponge and he just picks up everything. I think he is fantastic. Cena is fantastic too, but Punk is, in my estimation, No. 1 on the roster. Daniel Bryan was in developmental when I was going to a different territory each week. He came from Shawn Michaels’ school. Shawn is one of the best in the business, and he taught Daniel Bryan right. He is not a CM Punk, but he is pretty close. He is really good at one he does. Dolph Ziggler…he had to grow on me. I had never heard of him before and he looks so much like Billy Gun. Certain things he does in the ring…I see Billy Gunn. He’s not Billy Gunn, but he is a fantastic performer. I have nothing bad to say about any of these guys – they are all really good at what they do.”

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Jeremy Thomas

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