411’s WWE ‘My Way: The Life and Legacy of Pat Patterson’ Report

-Thanks to all who checked out the Bianca Belair Chronicle recap I posted a bit earlier. Now it’s time for the other special dropped today. Let’s get to it!

-Air Date: 01.24.21
-Run Time: 57:05

-Pat tells us he started wrestling in 1957-58 and didn’t know where he was going to go, but nothing was going to stop him. He mentions being gay was chasing him and for years he believed he couldn’t be free. “I had a dream. I made it.”

-This is My Way: The Life and Legacy of Pat Patterson.

-Pat takes us to his old neighborhood in Montreal where he was born and raised. He was born in 1941 and his name was Pierre Clermont. He has 4 brothers and 4 sisters and says they were a very poor family. He shows us the apartment where he was raised. The family of 11 lived in a 2 room apartment with no shower or toilet and no running hot water. There was a pool nearby with a shower and every 2 weeks they would be given soap to go shower. Wow!

-Pat became an alter boy in church and it put the idea on his head that he wanted to perform in front of people. His mom happened to buy a loaf of bread that came with a ticket to guy to a local wrestling show. He fell in love with it and at first hated the heels, but soon realized he loved what they were doing. He would walk 6-7 miles to get to the show. He started to get smart about the business and offered to carry the bag for Killer Kowalski. He then got a job selling food in the arenas, but used the time to sit down and watch instead of making sales.

-At the age of 16 he started to train to become a wrestler. He trained with the son of a promoter which pissed the promoter off as he didn’t want his son near a ring. Patterson begged for them to get booked and that is where is started. He was making only a few bucks and knew he had to get to America.

-Pat’s family supported him, but they weren’t aware of everything. Pat talks about knowing he was gay and at first all he knew was he didn’t like girls that way. The first time he was with a guy it just felt right to be held. He was so excited to be in love he work up his parents at 1 AM to tell them. His dad didn’t take it well and said “we’re not going to have a queer in here. You have to get out of here.” His mom was crying and didn’t agree with her dad, but Pat told him he would leave. His father said don’t come back and he never did. He found a suitcase and took a Greyhound bus with $20 his sister gave him.

-Pat shows us around Boston and the arena he wrestled in a bunch. In Montreal he was lucky to make $5 or $7. His first night in Boston he got $50 and thought he was rich. He knew he couldn’t be a wrestler in the US with his name. He liked the first name of Pat and opened a dictionary to find his last name and the first name he saw was Patterson. That’s how Cesar was named in Planet of the Apes!

-Pat was in Boston for about a year and a half and that is where he met his friend Louie. They met in a gay bar and Pat wanted to meet him one on one. He knows he was in love with him, but he got a letter saying he was booked in Portland, Oregon. He didn’t know where Portland was, but borrowed the money from Louie. Pat missed him so Louie left Boston and moved to Portland.

-From there everyone told him to head to San Francisco as they were interested in booking him there. We see Pat talking outside the historic Cow Palace which WCW used for a few of their SuperBrawl shows. The booker ha questions about Pat being a queer and Pat admitted to it. The promoter thought he was crazy for admitting it and Pat told him not to worry about it. He ended up working there for 15 years.

-Patterson formed a tag team with Ray Stevens and Hulk Hogan pops up as a talking head going over the amount of heat the team had in the promotion. From there Pat turned into a major singles star for the territory as well. They show footage of Patterson having crazy brawls with Kevin Sullivan and also getting into a brawl with a fan. Pat loved being a heel and puts over how a great match relies on a great heel.

-Patterson shows us inside the Cow Palace and I love seeing old arenas and stadiums. Roman Reigns next to tell the story of Patterson vs Peter Maivia. Patterson beat the hell out of him with Samoans all through the crowd. Afa and Sika were sitting in the crowd and weren’t smart to the business yet and attacked Patterson. Maivia had to call them off and it nearly started a riot as the police had to help Patterson to the back. Patterson says he thought he was going to die that night. Gene Okerlund talks about how great Pat was to work in a territory that long and never have his star fade in any way.

-Pat talks about his family and how it was lonely. He invited his parents to fly to SF to see what he was doing. His mom was crying because she had never sat in a Cadillac before. Both parents came out and they watched their son wrestle. His mom was freaking out and his dad his tears in his eyes watching his son control a crowd like that. His father was now proud of his son and let everyone know when he went back to Montreal.

-Brisco talks about the rumors of Pat being gay, but he was such a great guy nobody really cared or looked for confirmation. They all had respect for Pat and didn’t care about his social life.

-Patterson talks about the stories the boys would tell about all the women they were with the night before and Pat couldn’t tell those stories. Hillbilly Jim says people stayed in the closet back then because of ignorance of everyone else around them. Patterson loved that SF was more open to gays, but being who he was he couldn’t go out to bars as it would make the newspapers.

-Next for Pat is a call that brought him to New York. The call came from Vince Sr and Pat wanted to let him know he was gay, but Sr told him he knew everything about him and he didn’t care. He tore the house down with Backlund that first night and got a hug from Sr. Vince McMahon Jr talks about how great Pat was and Backlund puts over how Pat was the first man to wrestle a champion in The Garden 4 straight times.

-Patterson becomes the first IC Champion and sadly there is no footage of that grueling tournament he won in Rio. They put over that the IC Champion had to basically be a work horse.

-Patterson vs Slaughter Alley Fight! YES! They just beat the crap out of each other. Nash said that match was Pat Patterson to a T. Patterson calls it a masterpiece as the finish sees the Wizard throw in the towel to give Pat the win. Pat is very proud of his Main Event run in Madison Square Garden.

-Soon Pat started doing commentary with Vince Jr. We see him interview Andre The Giant who congratulates him on the new job. Pat obviously wasn’t the best because his English was still a little limited and they point out how he would leave “S” off most his words.

-The next assignment was for Pat to work in the office. Pat could see that Vince Jr was getting behind in the booking so he offered to help. Vince never had anyone make that offer so he took Pat up on it. It was just to be for a few days, but Pat never left the job. He was given a fancy title and became part of the WWE corporate world. Shawn says Pat was second in charge as it was him and Vince creating all the stories. Now it takes a room full of writers when it used to just be Pat and Vince. Pat says Vince was 7 days a week and laughs because Vince hated holidays because nobody would answer his calls.

-Nash talks about a book they had that mapped everything out and got them from show to show and how they would get there. Hogan and Hillbilly put over how much Pat helped and Vince says he was awesome creatively. Hall says that there are a bunch of yes men for Vince, but Pat wasn’t like that. He would tell Vince when he thought something was horrible. Pat looked at it from a fan’s perspective in that he would think of what he would like to see.

-Pat says he wanted to come up with something that had never been done. That leads us to Royal Rumble 2016 as Pat meets with fans outside the arena. Pieces of this were shown during AJ’s special that dropped last week. Pat talks about how The Rumble came to be. He covers the basics of a Battle Royal and his thought was to have 2 guys start and add people every few minutes. Vince didn’t think it was going to work, but Pat assured him it would. They had a special coming up with Dick Ebersol and Vince told Pat to pitch his stupid idea. Pat told Vince it wasn’t a stupid idea and Dick Ebersol loved it. Vince: “okay Pat, let’s see how this works.”

-Pat was obviously in charge of that first Rumble and put months into piecing it together. It was a massive success and Vince knew it was something he had to use every year. One of my bucket list items as a wrestling fan was to get to a Rumble and thankfully one came to Pittsburgh in 2014. Patterson watches the 2016 show and is in awe of what it has become.

-Next the discuss Pat’s eye for talent and Shawn says there is no HBK without Pat Patterson. Bret Hart says the same thing and says Pat was a huge part in the success of a lot of guys. That leads to Mania XII and Pat pitched the Iron Man Match as he knew they would tear the house down. Bret says the entire storyline of that match was a credit to Pat as he insisted the match happen. Bret calls it his and Shawn’s finest hour. Edge talks about how Pat had the foresight to see that guys like Bret and Shawn could be World Champions.

-Austin talks about the mind for psychology that Pat had. We see Pat working with some guys teaching them about the art of pro-wrestling. Edge calls him one of the greatest painters of all time. Pat could be hands on, but also gave them freedom to figure things out on their own. If you got a “it’s great” from Pat you knew it was great.

-1996 sees Pat inducted into The WWE Hall of Fame and we see snippets of his speech. Pat thanks Vince for what he has done for him and for his faith in him. He thanks Vince for being his friend. He then shares the award with his friend and companion, Louie.

-Pat was in Pittsburgh for a PPV and got a call that Louie dropped dead from a heart attack while back in Boston. Pat says without Louie he would not be gere. Prichard says that Pat was a little lost for a bit after Louie passed. Brisco says Louie was a great guy and it affected all of them. They were together 40 years and Pat laughs as he thinks the producer is trying to make him cry.

-Pat wanted to come back to TV after Louie’s passing and that gives us The Stooges. Vince says it was so much fun to work off Patterson and Brisco. We see highlights from their run in The Attitude Era and it was perfect. Pat talking a ball shot from Head is great as Brisco says Pat pushed for all the comedy. Pat says it was fun, but at times he questioned what he was doing because he was a wrestler. Patterson becomes a champion again as he double crosses Brisco to win the Hardcore Title.

-After 46 years in the business Pat announced his retirement in 2004. He says it hurt so much as they show Vince thanking Pat at Taboo Tuesday. He told Pat it was a debt he could never repay and that he loved him.

-Pat didn’t know what to do with his free time. He was asked to do Legends’ House and he didn’t want to do it, but Vince had a way of convincing him. I saw bits and pieces of the show but haven’t watched each episode. Gene says he would not have made it through the show if not for Pat. They looked having good meals and cocktails. It was the last dinner of the show and Pat admits to all of them that he is gay. He started crying and all the legends started crying with him. “I am gay and I fucking survived. Because of you guys I am able to say it.” Pat says that even though people knew it was the point that he was the one to openly say it now. “I’m free.” Vince says that everyone knew, but it was a weight lifted off Pat’s shoulders. All that mattered was how he felt. Prichard says the secret was the worst kept one in the history of the business. Sonya talks about how his braveness being inspiring and it made the conversation easier for her. Pat says he always had the feeling that being gay was chasing him and it felt great to not have that feeling anymore.

-Vince laughs that Pat never retired and he told Pat to come to work anytime he wanted. Ziggler says Pat just wanted the best wrestling show possible. Everyone loved having Pat come back around and he always had something he could teach. Cena puts over that Patterson doesn’t think like others and he values his feedback more than nearly everyone else. Pat says that Vince won’t let him go as he knows that it is good for him.

-Cesaro has the image of Pat watching wrestling because that’s what he loved to do. Pat would hide in the crowd because he loved wrestling and loved wrestling fans. “They loved what I loved.” Someone is cutting onions in here!

-Dec 2, 2020 Pat Patterson passed away. Prichard talked to Pat a week before and he told him he might not be here much longer. That was the only time Pat ever said something like that. SmackDown has a tribute with a 10 bell salute and Vince just looks wrecked. Roman says that everyone has a Pat story because he connected with everyone.

-We get words from Sami, Owens, Bryan, and The Rock. Vince breaks down a bit but holds it together as talks about the goodness of Pat. Everyone had their own opinion and love for Pat. Hayes says they will never quit talking about Pat. Prichard calls him a genius and Vince says he put the WWE on another level. Austin talks about all the knowledge he passed to the guys and girls that walked through the door. Hogan puts over how much Pat went out of his way to help him and he will always be grateful. Shawn says he owes his career to Pat. We close with Pat addressing the fans in Montreal as it looks like an appreciation night where he is presented with a framed IC Title.

-In Memory of Pat Patterson: 1941-2020

-Awesome and not really much to say other than any wrestling fan out there needs to watch this. They likely could have done a few more hours on Pat and still barely scratched the surface on his career. His story is an amazing one and it boggles the mind how influential he was one the careers of some of the biggest stars in the history of the business. Thanks for reading!

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