Percy Pringle Page 2
Honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1976, Percy immediately went to work as a licensed apprentice Funeral Director/Embalmer at the old Higgins Mortuary, later to be renamed Westside Funeral Home, on Mobile’s Beltline Highway. At the same time, attending night classes at The University Of South Alabama, and wrestling whenever he could fit it in.
His actual pro wrestling debut came in June 1974, wrestling as “Mr. X”, in Greenville, AL. Yes, Percy actually wrestled for a few years. “I even went as ‘The Embalmer’ for a while, wrestling in southern independent organizations. In those days they called them outlaw groups. But it didn’t take me too long to realize that managing was the place for me to be.” His first big break in wrestling came in April 1978, when a replacement was needed in Vicksburg, MS. Percy didn’t waste anytime getting there, and made quite an impression on Promoters George Culkin and Frankie Cain (The Great Mephisto). He was asked to come to Biloxi’s then brand new Mississippi Coast Coliseum the very next day. On that night, manager Percival Pringle III was born! He immediately put his college education and Funeral Service on hold, and went on the road, living his wrestling dreams.
About the same time Percy married the love of his life Dianna, they have been happily married for 24 years now. In July of 1979, the day after returning to the U.S. following a five-week tour of Japan, his first son Michael was born. What a wake-up call that was, he soon realized that along with the extra responsibilities of being a father, he needed a solid career to fall back on. Percy quit wrestling full time, returning to the funeral profession and college. Graduating on The Dean’s List, he received a Degree in Mortuary Science, and his Funeral Director/Embalmer’s Certification from San Antonio College (licenses which he still maintains to this very day).
In 1984, Percy returned to wrestling full time. Taking the wrestling world by storm, his flamboyant antics entertained fans in the Florida Championship Wrestling area, and with The Von Erich Family’s World Class Championship Wrestling Association in Texas. The name Percy Pringle III has been associated with many of the top names in the business. Such as, The late “Ravishing” Rick Rude, The Assassin, Blackjack Mulligan, Matt Borne, Buzz Sawyer, The Great Kabuki, Eric Embry, and the list goes on and on. Notwithstanding managing Lex Luger, in Lex’s first pro wrestling match; The Dingo Warrior, later to be known as The Ultimate Warrior; and “Sugar Bear” Harris, well known as Kimala “The Ugandan Giant”. Percy was also instrumental in another young man’s career, Steve Williams, known as Stone Cold Steve Austin.
The call to The World Wrestling Federation came on December 22, 1990. Enter the character known as Paul Bearer. Percy remained with The WWE for twelve years, associating himself with The Undertaker, Kane, Vader, and Mankind (Mick Foley). Known as “The Manger Of Champions”, Percy performed in over 25 countries around the world, and in 47 of the fifty states, including Alaska and Hawaii. He was named 1998 Manager Of The Year, by Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine.
After his ten-year on-air stint with WWE television, Percy traded his dyed cold black hair for his natural color; something he says that his wife and kids had never seen. During his final two years with the federation, Percy stayed busy backstage during television events as an agent, as well as making personal appearances, and fulfilling radio and television interviews. He was also instrumental in The Federation’s Talent Development Department, where he scouted future ring talent. He officially retired from The WWE on October 14, 2002.
He is currently working on opening his own independent wrestling organization along the gulf coast, while returning to his career in Mortuary Science. Percival tells us that he will consider serious booking requests from independent groups, as well as personal appearances and media interviews. He is also working on a book project. You can imagine the stories that he has to tell.
Percy resides in Mobile with his wife Dianna, and youngest son Daniel. Michael, his eldest son, is married and is pursuing a medical profession. His parents live in West Mobile, and he also has a brother and sister in the area. He was forced to take a leave of absence during late 2001 and early 2002, as his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. After many months of chemotherapy and radiation treatments Dianna is now a cancer survivor.
Percy talks about his hometown of Mobile wherever he travels. “For years I was on the road close to 300 days a year.” Percy says, “I’ve been around the world several times. My friends and family sometimes think that the grass is greener away from the gulf coast. I am here to tell you that Mobile is the place to be, there is no place like home!” He is a big supporter of local amateur and professional sports teams. He also still maintains a close relationship with the local “boys” that he started with, especially his wrestling cousin “Marvelous” Marcel Pringle. Both Pringles are members of The Gulf Coast Wrestlers Reunion, and Percy is a lifetime member of the famous Cauliflower Alley Club. The CAC is honoring him at their 2003 convention in Las Vegas, NV.
Percy is a big country music fan. He calls himself “The Possum Fan” because of his close friendship with Country Legend George Jones and his band. He and his wife have been seen at the Academy of Country Music Award shows, and The Grand ‘Ol Opry. His vast collection of country music fills his home office.
He is very true to the proud tradition of the “old school” wrestling that he was brought up on. “I am very blessed to be able to live out my dreams, and I have a great respect for the business I am in. Especially for the legends that traveled the roads before me, they are the ones who made all this possible. I’ll never forget where I came from, and that my home is forever Sweet Home Alabama!”
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