Bruce Prichard Looks Back On WWE Writing Paul Bearer Off Of TV

WWE Senior Vice President Bruce Prichard recently took to an episode of his “Something To Wrestle With” podcast, where he talked about a number of topics including the company writing Paul Bearer off of TV back in 2004 with a concrete crypt at Great American Bash during a match between The Undertaker and The Dudley Boyz.

Prichard said, “So a lot goes into this. Paul reached a point where traveling for him was very difficult. He had put on so much weight that traveling through airports, just getting up and down. He could go to the ring but he couldn’t get into the ring. He was in very poor health and needed time off. He needed to go away, and he needed to get healthy. So, kill him off. Then the idea was, ‘Well, what if we actually killed them off?” And it was this — I think it was Dan Madigan too [who came up with] the concrete crypt. And Vince loved it. ‘Greay, we’ll bury him live on television in a concrete crypt.’ And you know, some of those things start off as, ‘Haha,’ then they become reality. And that’s when you go ‘F**k, how are we gonna pull this off?’”

On putting the segment together:

“So again, Paul was in very poor health. And obviously, you couldn’t have Paul out there for it. So yeah, we shot everything with Paul ahead of time. Then [we] put an actor, lookalike, out there for the actual match. It was far enough away from the audience that you really couldn’t tell. And like — you know, and I sat in the audience and looked, and I was like, ‘Okay you know what? I’ll buy this, because I really can’t tell.’ And yeah, you had your SNAFU where f***ing s**t’s supposed to go, but it doesn’t. We’ll go to a pre-tape because, we gotta go to the pre-tape, because God forbid you had nothing to go to. And so there were SNAFUs like that, that if I could have murdered somebody, I probably would have that point.”

On the segment going wrong:

“But it was horrible. It was absolutely a horrible idea, horrible execution. And then you know, when we got to the end, I’m sitting there going, ‘Okay, once we bury him, where do we go off the air here, folks?’ I think that’s a fair question. And I asked the guy said, ‘Hey, how long — when this completely covers you, how long ’till we need to get you out of there? Five seconds, 10 seconds? And he goes, ‘I’ll be able to hold my breath probably at least 30 to 40 seconds, maybe even an entire minute.’ I said ‘Ooh, that’s in water, man. This is like, you know, whatever it was, oatmeal, cement s**t.’ And he goes, ‘I’ll be able to. I can hold my breath.’ ‘Yeah, I get you can hold your breath man, but this is going to be like, on you. It’s weighted. You’re not underwater, where you can just pop up. We gotta get you out of there.’ He said, ‘Ah, it won’t be a problem.’”

“So he had a panic button when to get get out and s**t. And we went like about three seconds, and he had hit the panic button in three seconds. And we had to get him out. That’s why we got so quickly out of there. But yeah, I felt bad for Taker. I felt bad for Paul, Dudleys. I felt bad for everybody involved, it was horrible. It was a poor concept and poor execution. And to this day, I can’t give you and/or defend any definitive reason why any of that would have been good. And again man, the execution, ‘Oh my god, this is rotten.’ And you know we did it, we rehearsed it. We did it with Paul Bearer and s**t. But yeah, it was bad. Folks, if you ever wondered what a fart in church looks like? Watch this match.”

On the whole thing not making storyline sense:

“None of it made sense! None of that made sense. Why does Heyman want to kill Paul Bearer. And then when all’s said and done after Undertaker basically rescues him, why does Undertaker kill? No answers to any of those questions were ever given… And then it was so bad that you prayed people forget about it. And just think that, ‘Hey man, I had a fever dream. It’s hot, it’s the summer. It’s a fever dream, this didn’t actually happen.’ That’s what I chalk it up to. Because it was, and it was — ask anybody that was around me that day or that night. Man, I was not a happy camper.”

On where it ranks up there for bad ideas for the Undertaker:

“It’s up there, but at least he knows this one wasn’t me. But it’s up there, definitely top five. Probably top two, this was rotten.”

You can check out the complete podcast in the video below.

(H/T to for transcribing the above quotes)