By David Drew
KALAMAZOO – He goes by a few different names, but he said it does not matter what the name of the city is that he is performing in or how many fans are in front of him.
Percy Pringle, also known as World Wrestling Entertainment legend Paul Bearer, will be in Kalamazoo on Friday to help put on Slam at the Zoo, a professional wrestling fundraising event at Kalamazoo Speedway.
The former wrestling icon, who is still employed by the WWE under a legends contract, is most famously known for managing wrestlers Undertaker and Kane. He has done numerous smaller shows in the past years and he said he couldn’t be more excited about coming to Kalamazoo to help support the Racing 4 Kidz organization.
“When you walk out and down the aisle to the ring and the bell rings, it doesn’t matter if you’re in Madison Square Garden or San Francisco or Chicago,” said Bearer, 58, whose real name is William Moody. “Fans are fans and we’re there to entertain them, no matter if there are 50 fans there or 5,000 or if there’s 85,000.
“At smaller shows I get to interact more with fans. I couldn’t do that in the WWE. Like in Kalamazoo, I can have a lot more fun. I can play around with the fans. I like to have a good time. If I see that I’m not going to have a good time, you can just leave me off the list. I like to have a good time and talk about the old times and the new days.”
The event will be put on by CIW Wrestling, an organization Bearer has worked with before.
The gates for the event will open at 5 p.m. for the VIP Meet and Greet. Gates will open for the general public at 6 p.m. and children under the age of 14 will be able to ride along in race cars with drivers until 7 p.m.
“That sounds pretty unique and sounds like fun. I would probably like to do that, but I don’t think the doors open and I probably couldn’t fit through the window,” Bearer joked. “I’m as big as I used to be. I think it will be fun in Kalamazoo.”
CIW wrestling stars at the event will include Legion, Alcatraz 187, TK Parker, The Thoroughbreds, Former Ring of Honor stars and Kalamazoo natives Christian Able and Josh Raymond, Monsters of Mayhem.
Bearer will be joined by WWE star Kevin Thorn.
The Racing 4 Kidz organization works with fellow organization Giving Kids Hope, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters and other nonprofit organizations.
More information and tickets for the event can be found at www.zooslam.com. Tickets are also on sale at Howe Patio and Window through 5 p.m. Friday. Tickets will be $2 more on the day of the event.
Ticket prices are: $20 for VIP Meet and Greet (including ringside seating); $12 for other ringside seats; $10 for adult general admission; $8 for kids ages 4-12 (under 3 are free); $30 for a family pass (two adult tickets and two kid tickets).
For more information and photos of Paul Bearer from his career, visit his website at www.percypringle.com.