WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson passed away at the age of 79 this week. Since then dozens of wrestlers have come forward to pay their respects, as well as recall some of their favorite memories with the legend. On top of being a wrestler, Patterson spent decades working backstage with the WWE as a producer, often being seen as Vince McMahon's right-hand man when it came to booking decisions. Patterson remained with the company as a creative consultant up until his death, meaning he helped the lives of multiple generations of wrestlers including many of its current stars.
Sami Zayn took to Instagram on Thursday with a particularly touching story about Patterson. In late 2014 Zayn defeated Adrian Neville to win the NXT Championship at the NXT TakeOver: R Evolution pay-per-view and celebrated with the NXT locker room to close out the show. Patterson, a vocal supporter of Zayn's, insisted on appearing in the ring as well.
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"I'll say this: when I first got to NXT, there was NO ONE who was a bigger supporter, advocate, or believer in me than Pat Patterson," Zayn wrote. "NO ONE went to bat for me more often than him. Between 2013-2016, he raved about my work to the higher-ups constantly, always telling them to do more with me, to the point where it was almost comical. To have someone like Pat, who knew the game inside & out, in your corner to that extent does a lot to humble you while also giving you an extreme amount of confidence in your work. I feel lucky to have had him in my life."
"My favorite Pat Patterson memory has to be from when I won the NXT Title," he continued. "Pat was so proud & so happy, he HAD to be there to celebrate with me. If you watch it back now it's so funny, the ring gets flooded with all the NXT kids...and Pat Patterson. He's the happiest one in that ring. Apparently, they saw him getting ready to go out and told him "Pat you can't go out there!" to which he replied, 'TRY AND F—ING STOP ME.'"
WWE released a tribute to Patterson at the start of this week's NXT.
𝑰'𝒗𝒆 𝒍𝒊𝒗𝒆𝒅 𝒂 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕'𝒔 𝒇𝒖𝒍𝒍
𝑰 𝒕𝒓𝒂𝒗𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒅 𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒉 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓𝒚 𝒉𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒘𝒂𝒚
𝑩𝒖𝒕 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆, 𝒎𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔
𝑰 𝒅𝒊𝒅 𝒊𝒕 𝒎𝒚 𝒘𝒂𝒚
Thank you, Pat. pic.twitter.com/QCrmR3M6LV— WWE (@WWE) December 3, 2020