WWE legend Pat Patterson breathed his last on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. He was 79. The first openly gay wrestler in the history of WWE would also be remembered for his great rivalry with Sgt. Slaughter and others.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was among the first to share a touching tribute for the Hall of Famer. The Rock called him a “true trailblazer,” and revealed that he was the one who was responsible for getting him into WWE. Johnson penned a note to his “father figure” and recounted how Patterson helped him get his first ever WWE wrestling match. At the time, Johnson was a struggler and had a mere $7 left in his pocket. Patterson, recalled Johnson, was the one who called Vince McMahon and recommended him to sign The Rock.
“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,” wrote Johnson in his farewell message to Pat.
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John Cena was also extremely shaken by the loss. He often keeps his words rather limited but managed to express his thoughts on Twitter.
“Loss is incredibly difficult. Those we love are only truly gone if we stop caring. 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,” wrote Cena in his tweet.
Loss is incredibly difficult. Those we love are only truly gone if we stop caring. 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. — John Cena (@JohnCena) December 2, 2020
This is how he bid adieu to Patterson on Instagram.
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A number of friends and colleagues paid tribute to Patterson on social media.
Mick Foley was surprised to hear the news.
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
Kurt Angle also expressed his grief.
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
WWE executive and part-time wrestler Shane McMahon shared the loss with a heart-warming note.
I can not express how crushed I feel right now with the loss of Pat Patterson. A true member of my family, mentor and dear friend. I love you Pat. God speed. pic.twitter.com/FdaAFnsw8m — Shane McMahon (@shanemcmahon) December 2, 2020
Patterson was also the WWF/WWE’s first-ever Intercontinental Champion and was the brain behind the Royal Rumble Match. His memoir titled Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE was published in 2016.