Published on 06 Nov 2010 | over 6 years ago
For the June 27, 2004 pay-per-view The Great American Bash, a match pitting Undertaker against both of the Dudley Boyz was booked. Paul Bearer would be encased in a glass crypt backstage, covered up to his chest in cement. In the storyline, Heyman demanded that Undertaker throw the match or else see Bearer suffocated in cement. By the time of the pay-per-view, Bearer had recovered from his latest operation and would appear on-screen.
Undertaker won the match but proceeded afterwards to pull the lever that sent cement into the crypt, completely burying Paul Bearer and, in kayfabe terms, suffocating him. (Bearer was not really at the event. The WWE had recorded footage of Paul Bearer in the crypt before the event. During the event, there was a stunt double in the crypt the whole time. That's why the TV audience could only see Paul Bearer and the crypt he was in -- since he wasn't there, they couldn't actually show anyone on screen with Bearer). This shot ended the PPV and caused numerous complaints toward WWE, as in essence they had shown a [kayfabe] murder. The live audience, however, saw an extended ending in which Bearer surfaced for air and was carried from the arena on a stretcher. On the following week's SmackDown!, Bearer was acknowledged to be alive, although gravely injured, for kayfabe purposes. The rehearsal taping earlier in the day of the Bash -- with Undertaker ad-libbing and only half of the stunt complete, in an empty arena -- was leaked onto the internet dirt sheets and actually broadcast live by accident in many of the TV markets. As he had two years remaining on his contract, however, Bearer was used as a booker for the company up until WWE decided to terminate his contract, giving him ninety day notice on April 11, 2005.