WWE Legend Pat Patterson, Wrestling’s First Openly Gay Icon, Passes away at Age 79

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of WWE Legend and Hall of Famer Pat Patterson.
Pat Patterson

It is with a heavy heart that we report the passing of WWE Legend and Hall of Famer Pat Patterson. Former WWE Wrestler Dwayne The Rock Johnson took to social media to pay respects to Patterson, who was a dear friend of the family. 

It is quite difficult to explain how much this man has done for the world of professional wrestling and outside the industry in his lustrous 60+ year career. 

Pat Patterson’s Legendary Career

Pat Patterson began his wrestling career in 1958, performing as “Killer” Pat Patterson. In 1962, despite the lack of understanding English, he would later work for Big Time Wrestling in Boston and later in San Francisco in their California branch. On the way he met his long time partner Louie Dondero. 

Pat Patterson

In 1979, Patterson would debut in the WWF, feuding with North American Champion, The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase and WWF Champion Bob Backlund. Pat Patterson would be crowned the first WWF Intercontinental Champion in a tournament held in Rio de Janeiro, holding the belt for over 233 days. Patterson would later retire from wrestling in 1984, however he would still play roles, such as being part of the color commentary and calling matches like Hulk Hogan vs The Iron Sheik for the world heavyweight title. He would also become a road agent and work in talent-relations. He was also credited as the creator of the Royal Rumble match. 

It wasn’t until 1997, the beginning of the attitude era, when Pat Patterson began to shine in the eyes of the younger demographic at time. He teamed up with Gerlad Briscro, one half of the Brisco Brothers to become Vince Macmahon’s “Stooges.” There, both men would help MacMahon carry out his evil plans to screw over the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley (aka Mankind) and The Rock just to name a few. Patterson would later retire from the WWE in 2004 and would appear on special occasions, one in particular was defeating Drake Maverick for the 24/7 Title on the 25th anniversary of Monday Night Raw.


Outside of the business, Pat Patterson was also known as the first openly gay pro wrestler after he acknowledged his sexuality on the reality show, WWE Legends’ House, when discussing the death of his partner Louie Dondero. As reported by CNN, in his autobiography, Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE, he discusses when he came out, and his relationship with Dondero. 

Pat Patterson

Pat Patterson leaves behind an accolade of accomplishments in his six decade career: AWA Tag Team Champion, NWA United States Champion, NWA Tag Team Champion, WWE Hardcore Champion, WWE North American Champion and of course the first WWE Intercontinental Champion. Patterson was also awarded match of the year by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter for his match against Sgt. Slaughter in an alley fight in 1981 and Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996. 

Our condolences to Pat Patterson’s family and friends for their loss. Gone but never forgotten. Rest in Power Pat Patterson.

Sources: CNN, ProWrestling, WWE