The wrestling world lost a legend on Wednesday when WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson passed away at the age of 79. Long known as one of the best minds in the industry, as well as an outstanding performer in his day, Patterson left an undeniable mark on the business that will live on for decades. Since his death, star after star has been coming out in paying tribute to the man that impacted their career in some way.
The latest to pay tribute is maybe the biggest wrestling star that Patterson ever worked with, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
WWE published a video of Austin talking about Patterson, which you can see below.
"His biggest contribution to the business, along with a great body of work, was all of the knowledge that he passed to all of the Superstars who came through those doors," Austin said. "So instrumental in my career, really in The Rock's career, but in every WWE Superstar who came through those doors. He would instill the knowledge and learnings and psychology and ways to take things further and further and further, a way to push the envelope as far as creativity. I'm gonna miss him. I'll say this. Pat Patterson is gone, but he'll always be remembered. That dude lived one of the craziest, most fun, interesting and amazing lives anybody has ever lived. Bottom line."
Patterson was known as the first-ever Intercontinental Champion in the WWF (now WWE). He was WWF North American Heavyweight Champion at the time and became the inaugural champion on September 1, 1979. It was said he had unified his title with the South American Heavyweight Championship, in a tournament in Rio de Janeiro, although both the tournament and South American Championship were entirely fictional.
Patterson was also known as one of Vince McMahon’s most trusted advisors, the Vice President of Talent Relations, and was instrumental in building the WWF and later WWE. He was also one of the most-trusted men in the locker room when it comes to putting matches together. Patterson famously created the Royal Rumble concept, inspired by his days working for Roy Shire who had a Cow Palace Battle Royale in California.
In addition to being the inaugural IC Champion, Patterson was a legendary wrestler in northern California. The top singles star in the territory between 1972 and 1977, he also famously tagged with Ray Stevens as the Blond Bombers and was one of the best tag team wrestlers of all time. That team originally achieved stardom in the mid 1960s in San Francisco, and they also were major attractions in Hawaii. Patterson and Stevens tagged together off and on, right up until holding the AWA Tag Titles in the late 70s.
When Patterson moved to the WWF, he had a memorable feud with Bob Backlund that included four straight sell-outs at MSG, and he and Sgt. Slaughter had an incredible Alley Fight in 1981 that was Match of the Year. He later refereed the main event of the first WrestleMania, featuring Hulk Hogan and Mr. T taking on Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorf with Muhammad Ali on the outside. Patterson became the special ref after Ali was advertised due to Ali’s physical limitations.
Patterson left a mark on the wrestling industry that few will ever surpass. To hear more about his legendary career, check out the latest episode my wrestling podcast, Top Rope Nation, as we recounted Patterson's legendary career.