As some of you may know, my friends (newest Wrestlerealm bloggers Derek and Mike) and I went down to Miami, Florida last year and attended Wrestlemania XXVIII.
What many people people who have never been to Wrestlemania do not know is the amount of wrestlers you can meet at all of the events, even those not sponsored by the WWE.
While I could list story after story of meeting wrestlers just from that weekend alone, I would like to do a small retrospective on my experience meeting the now late and great, Paul Bearer.
If anyone reading ever has the opportunity to attend Fan Axxess during Wrestlemania weekend, I would highly recommend that you do. It is a fantastic experience and one that you will not regret. The displays, games, autograph sessions, and picture opportunities are unbelievable. The most unique part of Axxess is that you really have no idea who is coming out next for a picture session until you are in line.
Enter Paul Bearer.
I had no idea Paul Bearer would be at Axxess and on the even more naive side of things, I entered the Undertakers "Graveyard" with no real thought of what I would find at the end of the display. My only thought was that it would be pretty interesting to see all of the tombstones with the Undertakers Wrestlemania "victims" written on every display.
Well, as I walked through the display I was blown away by the set-up. Blue smoke, detailed tombstones, and tons of Undertaker memorabilia. I looked down the display and saw there was a lineup with a steel pathway to keep people single filed. I hopped into line and had no idea what lay at the end of it. As I looked more closely, I saw that Paul Bearer was at the end of the line.
I was blown away before I even got to the end.
As I'm waiting in line I began to think about all of the years I have seen this man on television. Keep in mind, Paul Bearer was a fixture on WWE programming for all of the 1990's and into the 2000's with sporadic appearances after that. Also keep in mind, you have no idea how wrestling personalities are when you meet them in person. It would be a lie to say that all of them are warm and welcoming when you meet them during these events.
Paul Bearer was the opposite.
The second I went for a photo op with him, he said hi and asked me how I was doing. He was very warm and welcoming, it almost felt like you were going to see a Grandparent. Once the photo was done, he shook my hand and said, "God Bless you." It may not sound like much, but to a real wrestling fan it meant a lot.
Here's to you, Paul Bearer. Rest well. I'll never forget that small but memorable meeting.