With the untimely passing of Paul Bearer, his character has been brought back in a most unusual way. The man who for so many years carried that urn, that vessel that holds Taker's power, now seems to be inhabiting the famous urn. When Punk took off with the urn at the end of RAW on Monday, I flashed back to Bearer and the other times he was kidnapped through the years, and how each kidnapping ended with Bearer's 'death'. In some ways it's kind of ironic how this kidnapping started with his actual death, but I know he'd be thrilled to still be involved, even if just in spirit.
Heyman & The Cement Crypt
In 2004 Paul Bearer returned to the WWE with Taker at WrestleMania XX, but it wasn't long after that things turned south for them. Heyman had been fired, but was given the chance to be GM for the night after Angle was injured at the hands of Big Show. That night, with Heyman's help, the Dudley Boyz turned heel. About a month later Heyman appeared through the crowd and told the Dudley Boyz to make an impact and a victim out of someone. That's exactly what they did by dumping Bearer in the trunk of their car and taking off with him. In reality Bearer had to have emergency gallbladder surgery, so it was a way to write him off TV. This led to the back and forth between Heyman and Taker when Taker wouldn't align himself with Heyman. A Handicap Match was made between Taker and both Bubba Ray and Devon at The Great American Bash. The big stipulation being that if Taker lost, Bearer would be encased in cement in the plexiglass crypt on stage. In the end Taker won the match, but to remove any hold Heyman might every have over him, Taker himself went up on stage and 'killed' Bearer himself by pulling the lever on the cement truck and filling the crypt.
Edge & The Abused Dummy
In September of 2010 Bearer returned as Taker's manager, but it didn't take long for Bearer to turn on Taker, and ultimately side with Kane. Edge was named #1 Contender for Kane's WHC, and that's when the fun began. On the November 12th episode of Smackdown, Edge kidnapped Bearer, duct taped him into a wheelchair and rolled him out on the stage to distract Kane in his non-title match against Big Show. It worked. The following week on Smackdown Edge continued to torment Bearer to taunt Kane and mess with his head. Kane and Edge went to a Double-Pin Draw at Survivor Series, but Bearer wasn't present because Edge had him tucked away somewhere. The following week on Smackdown Edge lured Kane to the parking lot where Bearer in a wheelchair was run over by an automobile. Kane completely lost it until he realized that it was only a dummy dressed up to look like his father. Edge then drove off with Bearer tied up in the back seat. The next Smackdown, Edge defeated Kane in a Winner Chooses The Stip Match for TLC. Edge chose a TLC Match. Then the next week Kane was again lured backstage after begging and pleading for his father's return, but then Edge 'accidentally' pushed Bearer down a flight of stairs. This was also a dummy dressed to look like Bearer. The next week, on the December 10th Smackdown, Kane was again hunting for his father and found him on some boards atop two ladders. Kane, thinking this was another dummy, knocked over the ladders and sent Bearer to his 'death' on the cement floor below.
Orton & The Icy Tomb
Kane and Orton feuded up to WrestleMania XXVIII where Kane defeated Orton with a chokeslam from the top rope. On the following Smackdown Orton came back and defeated Kane in a No DQ Match. The week after that Cowboy Bob Orton appeared on Smackdown and, along with his son, received a beating (off screen) from Kane. Orton needed to retaliate for this, so on the April 23rd episode of Smackdown he strapped Bearer to a wheelchair, because that worked so well for Edge, and then taunted Kane with the knowledge that his father had been kidnapped. Kane finally found his father in a storage freezer, but after rescuing him and beating up Orton, Kane wheeled Bearer back into the freezer and left him there saying, "I'm saving you... from me!" This was Bearer's last appearance on a WWE broadcast.
When I first started writing this I was only writing about Bearer's kidnappings in the WWE, but then realized that each time Bearer was kidnapped, he was also 'killed off' from TV. This made the March 11 RAW Tribute to Paul Bearer, and the subsequent kidnapping of Bearer in the urn that much more ironic. Please know that I have the most heartfelt respect for Bill Moody, and for the work he did as Paul Bearer. This was meant to be a lighthearted look at some of his moments in the WWE that connected so well to his tribute on RAW. I, for one, hope that the urn, with so much of what made Bearer great, will continue to be a focal point for Kane, Taker and Punk heading to WrestleMania. Bearer is a legend, and I feel that his continuing in this storyline is a wonderful way to honor the man so many of us loved and hated for so many years. RIP
Queen of WNW