Pat Patterson is known as one the best workers of his time and one of the greatest wrestling minds the business has ever seen. Not bad for someone who left his native-Montreal at a young age in 1960 to pursue a pro wrestling career. So it only makes sense that tonight, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Patterson will receive a well-deserved appreciation night. As Mick Foley would say, Pat Patterson, this is your life!
After he got trained at the famed Loisirs St-Jean-Baptiste in Montreal, Pat Patterson quickly realized that he needed to go south of the border if he wanted to make a living out of pro wrestling, but his dad didn’t fully agree.
“I had told my father that I wanted to become a pro wrestler. Instead, he wanted me to work in a factory. I wasn’t able to work in that kind of place. I tried it a few times, but after three or four weeks, I was getting fired,” told Pat Patterson to SLAM! Wrestling in an interview conducted a few days ago. “So my dad told me, ‘If you leave, don’t come back knocking on the door’ and I told him he didn’t have to worry, I would not come back.”
So Patterson left for Boston, Massachusetts in 1960 and never regretted his decision.
“I left with $20 in my pocket and started my career over there. It wasn’t easy for a French-Canadian that I was to order food in a restaurant,” said Patterson, who didn’t speak English at the time. The only thing I was able to say was hamburger steak, so I ate that for two weeks!” he laughed.
Then in the 1980s, he became Vincent K. McMahon’s right-hand man, working full-time behind-the-scene, something Patterson wasn’t really used to do.
“He made me quit wrestling and work in an office, something I had never liked. I didn’t like working in an office, I mean, I quit school so I wouldn’t have to work in an office. I became Senior Vice-president and I had no idea what that meant. The only thing I knew was pro wrestling,” candidly recalled Patterson.
His career spanned for 54 years, from Montreal to San Francisco and all over the world, something he’s really proud of.
“I was just a kid who left Montreal with nothing and I went as far as working several main-events at the MSG in New York. You know what they say, if you make it to New York, you can make it anywhere and I’m very proud of that,” said the first WWE Intercontinental champion.
Amongst his biggest realizations in the WWE, the creation of the Royal Rumble is certainly on top of the list. But he was also behind the push of two of the biggest superstars of all-time.
“Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were my two favourites and I fought hard for them,” he remembered.
Tonight, as part of the return of WWE Monday Night Raw to Montreal after six years, Pat Patterson will be honoured in front of his hometown fans. One would think this segment will be a dark one, but with three hours of Raw to fill, you never know. One thing’s for sure, it will be a special night for everyone in attendance.
For someone who usually calls all the shots, he doesn’t know much about his own segment.
“Quite frankly, they didn’t tell me anything. It will be pretty nervewrecking for me. I know I will be honoured and that they want to do a big thing out of this. You know, I usually cry in those moments, so I really have no idea how it will go. I’ll be overwhelmed by all this I’m sure,” said Patterson, who didn’t know either the segment will be shown on TV or not. “It’s going to be a very touching night for me as I will look back at 54 years in the business, this business I loved and still do today.”
This fan appreciation night for the legendary Pat Patterson is in concert with WWE Monday Night Raw tonight at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Tickets can be purchased at www.evenko.ca or directly at the door.
Pat Laprade had the chance a few years ago to participate in a booking meeting with Pat Patterson for Montreal’s ToW and this is something he will never forget. He will be there live to witness this fan appreciation night for one of the all-time great. He can be reached at [email protected], on his Facebook page, on Twitter, or through his website at www.quebecwrestling.ca.