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.
Very saddened to hear about the passing of one of my best friends..Pat Patterson. He had an infectious personality where you always wanted to be around him. This photo of Pat, @ShawnMichaels and me was from Wrestlemania 21. Pat helped us create an incredible Story. #RIPHOFer pic.twitter.com/APHVs7hRoi
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) December 2, 2020
Loved @wwe Hall of Famer Pat Patterson as a great friend and a mentor. The incredible times we had traveling the world, watching him sing karaoke, telling stories, talking golf are something I’ll treasure forever. Love you Pat, RIP legend. pic.twitter.com/xk3y08J24H
— John Layfield (@JCLayfield) December 2, 2020
Just heard of the passing this morning if the great, Pat Patterson.
True legend of the pro wrestling business.
A wonderful mentor who taught me so much.
RIP old friend. ? pic.twitter.com/t61R9yCze1
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) December 2, 2020
Pat Patterson knew @WWE was his home away from home, a place where he felt completely accepted and truly loved. Someone like Pat made all the difference because he wasn’t afraid to be himself and he made no apologies for it. Pat did it his way. Rest in power, Pat♥️ pic.twitter.com/3hRYmaCb5W
— NattieByNature (@NatbyNature) December 2, 2020
I just heard the terrible news about the passing of Pat Patterson. I loved the man. I could listen to his stories for hours. One of the all-time great wrestlers, one of the best minds in the business, and a dear friend.#RIPPatPatterson https://t.co/SozhlF8bQY
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) December 2, 2020
Wow can 2020 just be over? I didn’t know Pat that well but was lucky enough to have a chance to work with him in wwe. I have nothing but fond memories of his stories and jokes backstage. Thank you Pat Patterson ?? RIP pic.twitter.com/mXkpdgRGCV
— Gail Kim-Irvine (@gailkimITSME) December 2, 2020
Saddened to hear the news about Pat Patterson. Coming to WWE in 2002 was a “unique” situation. Pat was one of the first to go out of his way and genuinely make me feel at home. We shared many hours, stories, and yes a cocktail or 2. RIP Pat. You did it your way.
— Eric Bischoff (@EBischoff) December 2, 2020
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…
Wow – what a loss for the @wwe family. There was never a time I saw Pat Patterson backstage at a show or event where he wasn’t smiling or trying to make people laugh. Thanks for always being kind to me during our interactions. Your bright spirit will be missed.
— Kayla Braxton (@KaylaBraxtonWWE) December 2, 2020
Just read that Pat Patterson passed away. What great memories I have of a great man. I will dedicate "Chicken Necks" to him today and talk about all my fond memories. Really loved that guy. pic.twitter.com/7HG770pk0l
— Vince Russo (@THEVinceRusso) December 2, 2020
Heaven gained an angel! As my heart breaks a bit! Pat Patterson would fill a room w/ laugher, always sit & make me laugh every week in catering by barking & people would wonder where the dog was! Would joke w/ @HEELZiggler & I, & most importantly supported me! #RIPPatPatterson pic.twitter.com/7D65WHToY9
— Dana Brooke WWE (@DanaBrookeWWE) December 2, 2020
I am very sorry to hear about the passing of Pat Patterson. My thoughts and prayers go out to Pat’s family and friends. I had the pleasure of working along side Pat in 1989. A class act, Best finish man in the Business. He will be missed. ?
— Tony Schiavone (@tonyschiavone24) December 2, 2020
PAT PATTERSON I DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY OTHER THAN I LOVE YOU. YOU HAVE BEAUTIFUL MIND FOR THIS BUSINESS AND BEAUTIFUL HEART FOR THIS WORLD. MY HEART IS BROKEN. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP #rip pic.twitter.com/XASbSUG0qO
— The Iron Sheik (@the_ironsheik) December 2, 2020
Lawrence Yee contributed to this report.