WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, the first Intercontinental Champion and creator of the Royal Rumble Match, has passed away. He was 79 years old.
The news was first reported by TSN’s Tony Marinaro, who stated he had been informed Patterson passed away in Miami following a battle with cancer.
Just got a text from my buddy Rodger Brulotte letting me know that legendary wrestler Pat Patterson of @WWE passed away earlier this morning in a Miami hospital. Patterson, had cancer. He was 79. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends. RIP. #WWE
— Tony Marinaro (@TonyMarinaro) December 2, 2020
WWE confirmed the news through a release on their website, which you can view below.
Patterson made his wrestling debut in 1958 in Canada, but quickly moved on to California. Patterson’s run in the Bay Area, along with his partner, Ray Stevens, is considered legendary. While with WWE, Patterson made numerous attempts to have Stevens, who passed away in 1996, inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. They would win the AWA Tag Team Championship in 1978.
Patterson would move on to WWE (then WWWF) in 1979, quickly aligning with The Grand Wizard. Patterson would become the company’s first-ever Intercontinental Champion, “winning” the title in a fictitious tournament in Rio de Janeiro. Patterson’s in-ring run was notable for his bloody and violent feud with Sgt. Slaughter, with their Boot Camp Matches and an Alley Fight at Madison Square Garden being the most notable.
Retiring from full time in-ring competition in 1984, Patterson would join the color commentary position, but his biggest impact would come from his behind the scenes contributions. Patterson is the inventor of the Royal Rumble Match, which made its debut in 1988. Patterson was an integral part of the rise of the WWF in the 1980s and 1990s.
Bret Hart inducted him into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.
Patterson would make his mark on another generation of fans during the WWF Attitude Era in the mid-to-late-1990s as a member of the comedic heel duo The Stooges with Gerald Brisco. They were the bumbling officials loyal to the Mr. McMahon character and would frequently be the brunt of jokes and attacks. Patterson would win the Hardcore Title during this time and have an infamous Evening Gown Match against Brisco at King of the Ring 2000.
Health issues slowed Patterson down over the past few years, though he would make sporadic appearances for the company. Patterson last appeared on Raw Reunion in 2019, winning the WWE 24/7 Championship. His autobiography “Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE” came out in 2016, chronicling his career in and out of the ring.
On behalf of the staff of Wrestleview, we extend our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Pat Patterson.
WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson passes away
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.
Shortly before his in-ring retirement in 1984, Patterson joined Mr. McMahon as a color commentator. Even after hanging up his boots, Patterson was far from finished reimagining the possibilities of the sports-entertainment industry. In 1988, Patterson brought one of the ring’s most groundbreaking ideas to life by creating the original format for the Royal Rumble Match.
Patterson returned to the ring during WWE’s electric “Attitude Era,” creating many memorable moments alongside Gerald Brisco as one of Mr. McMahon’s hilarious “Stooges.” Patterson even pinned Crash Holly to claim the Hardcore Title. For all his efforts, Pat Patterson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996 by Bret Hart.
In his 25-plus years in WWE, Patterson was synonymous with making history. From the Intercontinental Title to the Royal Rumble Match and beyond, his name will forever be revered in WWE lore. This amazing legacy was captured in Patterson’s 2016 autobiography, Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE, a moving chronicle about his life both inside and out of the ring.
WWE extends its condolences to Patterson’s family and friends.