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The Rock Leads Tributes to Wrestling Legend and ‘Father Figure’ Pat Patterson

Dwayne Johnson recounts how Patterson helped him land his very first WWE match

Pat Patterson, the former WWF professional wrestler, commentator and WWE match producer, has died at 79. When someone as beloved as Patterson passes, it does not take long for the genuine and heartfelt tributes to begin rolling in.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson led the tributes, penning a message to his “father figure” on Instagram, and recounted how Patterson helped him land his first WWE wrestling match.

“He was also responsible for calling Vince McMahon when I was training to become a pro wrestler (my $7 bucks days) and said, ‘Vince you gotta see this kid work in the ring.’ Vince flew me to RAW a few weeks later and I had my first match EVER in Corpus Christie, Texas. The rest is history and years later, here I am writing this post,” Johnson wrote.


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You can gather how great of a guy Patterson was from the words written by other friends and colleagues. Read more below:

“I can not express how crushed I feel right now with the loss of Pat Patterson,” WWE executive and part-time wrestler Shane McMahon wrote on Twitter. “A true member of my family, mentor and dear friend. I love you Pat. God speed.”

“I’m deeply grateful to have grown up with @WWE Hall of Famer, the first-ever Intercontinental Champion, the father of the #RoyalRumble and the first openly gay wrestler of his generation,” Shane’s sister Stephanie McMahon, the chief brand officer of WWE, penned. “Thank you for teaching me how to not take it all so seriously. Abooze.”

“No words can describe what he gave to us,” her husband Paul “Triple H” Levesque, a former in-ring great and the person currently in charge of NXT, wrote. “His body as an in-ring performer, his mind as a storyteller, and his spirit as a beloved member of our large @WWE family. I will miss him for so many reasons… it’s never goodbye, it’s see ya down the road. Love you, Pat. Abooze.”

“Loss is incredibly difficult. Those we love are only truly gone if we stop caring,” John Cena said. “Pat Patterson lived life as it should be lived with passion, love and purpose. He helped so many and always entertained with a story or joke. He will live on in my life always. Love you Patrick.”

Patterson was the WWF/WWE’s first Intercontinental Champion. He also created the Royal Rumble Match.

Patterson is considered the first openly gay wrestling superstar. His memoir, “Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE,” was published in 2016.

Read more about Pat Patterson’s life here, and find additional tributes to the pro-wrestling legend below.

That “My Way” reference is a nod to Patterson’s singing of the Frank Sinatra classic, most notably on WWE’s 2014 reality series “Legends’ House.”

Watch that moment here:

And now, back to the tributes…

Lawrence Yee contributed to this report.