It was supposed to be the crowning achievement in Pat Barrett’s long and illustrious career but due to the volcanic ash cloud which hovered over Great Britain and Ireland in April 2010, Barrett was unable to attend last year’s Cauliflower Alley Club reunion.
Barrett was to be the recipient of the International Wrestling Award which recognizes the amount of distance that was travelled throughout his career. While disappointed that he couldn’t receive the award last year, Barrett anticipates this year’s CAC reunion, the 46th, in Las Vegas, from April 18-20.
“I am looking forward to this very much,” Barrett told SLAM! Wrestling. “It was disappointing that I couldn’t make it last year, don’t get me wrong. But in a way it was almost comical that I missed it. I was going to be honoured for travelling to so many countries yet I couldn’t even leave my own country to be honoured.
“I wanted to go so badly, it took a volcano to stop me getting there.”
Barrett has attended the reunion in the past and witnessed many peers receive awards, he is now very humbled that his turn finally comes this year.
“It means an awful lot to me, it is a complete honour. I think I am the first European to be honoured into the CAC. It’s great to have how many countries I have wrestled in recognized.
“Coming from Ireland originally and then going to Great Britain, I eventually made my way around the world to do something that I loved, it is such an honour to be recognized by your peers and people you look up to and respect.”
The CAC offers a great opportunity to catch up with old friends, talk with peers and also chat with some of the fans. Barrett can’t wait to see some of them.
“It should be good meeting up with people some I haven’t seen for years. I hope most of them are in good health, time is catching up on a lot of us I know with injuries and age it can be hard.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Danny Hodge, I spent some time down in Mexico with him and that brings back a lot of memories. We’ll just have to see who turns up; you never know he may be at the CAC.
“I look forward to seeing [CAC President] Nick Bockwinkel, he’s going to be there and I’ve known him a long time.”
Over the course of his career, Irish born Barrett has been fortunate to wrestle and travel all around the world.
He never hid his origins.
“Paddy’s entrance into the ring is nothing short of spectacular,” reads a Wrestling Revue profile from 1970. “Bagpipes blare out the songs of old Ireland, and Barrett, in his dark green robe strides into the cheers of the fans. The female fans, in particular, are always rooting for Pat They greet flirtatious Paddy with words of encouragement and open arms. It must be due to the physical chemistry of the fantastic Irishman: dark red hair, emerald green eyes, and six feet, 250 pounds of muscle and Irish dynamite.”
And long before Hornswoggle made a habit of it, Barrett would bring a shillelagh to ring with him.
When asked which, were his favourite countries to wrestle in, Barrett answers: “America was one of my favourite countries to visit, because it had everything.
“They had great territories where you could work and make money. It was like having different countries to wrestle in all nestled into just one country. England was a country where I started my professional career, so that has a soft spot for me.”
It is without doubt that when a young man or woman shows interest in entering the wrestling business, the travel and lifestyle is one thing that immediately entices them. Unfortunately there is one; too many stories of wrestler’s falling victim to what can be a stressful and turbulent life on the road.
Barrett, however embraced the lifestyle and loved moving from territory to territory, country to country. “I just enjoyed going to the different countries and trying different styles and wrestling in front of different fans,” Barrett said. “I loved the travelling and enjoyed going abroad.
“It could be tough and very lonely, if you were injured being on the road felt like a long time, but being on the road for me was such an exciting time.”
In 1975, Barrett joined the World Wide Wrestling Federation under Vince McMahon Sr.; during that time Barrett became a WWWF Tag Team Champion with Dominic DeNucci. The two eventually lost their tag titles to now WWE Hall of Famers The Blackjacks on August 26, 1975.
Barrett looks back fondly on his time in the WWWF.
“It was great to be a part of such a historic company and it was even better to be the tag team champions.
“Wrestling in such historic auditoriums and arenas such as Madison Square Garden was fantastic, it was marvellous. I had a great partner in Dominic DeNucci wrestling some of the best tag teams in the world.
“Vince Senior was a fair man, he was easy to talk to but I wouldn’t say we were friends as such, I found him quite good and relatively easy to get on with. He and the WWWF had some of the best talent in the world so to be associated with people like Superstar Billy Graham was marvellous.”
As well as the WWWF Tag Team Championships, throughout his career Barrett captured an array of titles, including the NWA Canadian Tag Team titles twice with Tom Geohagen and Don Leo Jonathan, the NWA America’s Heavyweight title plus the Junior World Heavyweight title and the World Tag Team Championship.
His last match took place in the Middle Eastern country of Jordan, in 1993. Since then Barrett still trains in his gym at home, he also trains rugby players, helping them to increase their power, endurance and self-esteem.
Barrett fondly recalls his previous CAC reunion, where he was a part of a mini book expo, showing off his pseudo-autobiographical book Everybody Down Here Hates Me: The Traumas and Dramas Inside the Incredible World of Professional Wrestling, where he gave an uncensored recounting of his career, changing names to protect the not-so-innocent. The book is “not for the squeamish,” he said. “I though there were a lot of funny stories in our crazy business. You had to be a lunatic to do it.”
At the 2002 CAC reunion, Barrett was given a surprise honour. “Last time I was there, they gave me a Golden Potato Award; I thought to myself they only did that because I was Irish.”