As mentioned in this TECHNOTE, WCM services fail to initialize during the Portal server startup when tracing is enabled with Portal Server v18.104.22.168.CF15 and Portal v8.5.CF05. As part of this add the WCM string to the Tracing.
In both SystemOut.log and Trace.log, the following errors are seen during the server startup:
Caused by: java.lang.NullPointerException
Not sure what's the exact impact of a Portal Trace string on WCM component, but we had another Trace string available for Manage Pages. I have removed it from Portal Server Tracing and could see Portal Server up and running.