Yesterday afternoon, the wrestling world was shocked by the news that legendary wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson had sadly passed away that morning in a hospital in Miami at the age of 79.
WWE released the following statement onto their website yesterday in honour of Pat Patterson, who was the first openly gay wrestler in WWE (then WWF) history:
WWE is saddened to learn that Pat Patterson has passed away at the age of 79.
A true trailblazer of the industry, Patterson was linked to many “firsts” in sports-entertainment throughout his storied career, including the first-ever Intercontinental Title reign and the creation of the Royal Rumble Match. In a career spanning six decades, the renaissance man left an indelible mark on the industry in the ring, on the microphone and behind the scenes.
Patterson began his career in 1958 in his native Canada before becoming a fixture in the Bay Area for nearly two decades. After winning the AWA Tag Team Championship with Ray Stevens in 1978, Patterson moved on to WWE. Under the tutelage of The Grand Wizard, Patterson made an immediate impact and became the first Intercontinental Champion in September 1979. Patterson’s most legendary WWE rivalry was undoubtedly his war with Sgt. Slaughter, which captivated the WWE Universe with Boot Camp Matches and a brutal Alley Fight at Madison Square Garden.
Later that night, NXT opened with an emotional video package which showed some of the highlights of Pat Patterson’s career. The music playing over the top was Frank Sinatra’s
After the video package, the camera cut to the stage where Triple H, William Regal, Shawn Michaels and the NXT roster were on the stage, while the crowd chanted “Thank you, Pat!”.
On last night’s show, Jake Atlas defeated Tony Nese in singles competition. After the match, Atlas said that he dedicated his win to Pat Patterson, who he described as being his hero.
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