In the Office with Pat Patterson and Bruce Prichard

Pat Patterson covers his life in the wrestling business, with many ribs and behind the scenes madness being shared.

Presented by RF Video

They open with Prichard talking about how he and Patterson worked together for over 20 years. Patterson talks about how Prichard being fired for a year or so in 1991 was stressful on him as Vince McMahon then put all of Bruce’s duties on his plate.

Patterson was born Pierre Clement. He couldn’t afford to go see wrestling as a kid in Montreal, so he started selling newspapers to earn money for tickets.

A classmate had a father who was connected to wrestling, so Patterson made friends with him in order to get closer to the business. This led to Patterson putting up posters for events, and training with his classmate secretly as the kid’s father had no intention of getting his son get in the business. Eventually Patterson confessed to the man that he and his son had been training, and after a brow beating, they were put in the ring to work.

Patterson bounced around the territories, learning his craft. He met his life partner Louie while working in Boston. Pat tells the story of how he first saw him in a gay bar and tried to have his friends set them up. Patterson gave them the wrong name at first and Pat was stuck on a date with a guy who wanted him badly, with Pat not being interested. Pat was eventually able to meet Louie and they went on to bond for decades.

Mad Dog Vachon was headlining in Portland, and somehow picked the little known Patterson to come in to work for him. Patterson was unable to speak English well, and had little money, so he ignored the request. Vachon sent two more letters telling Patterson to come. Finally, Louie (who made good money working in a factory) loaned him the cash. Pat and Louie missed one another greatly, so after a few months Louie left behind his job and family and moved to Oregon to live with Patterson.

The first time Louie saw Vachon, he thought Vachon was going to beat them up for being homosexuals. Louie ran off. Vachon took Pat and drove around to find him. Vachon screamed at Louie to get in the car, causing Louie to run in fear. Finally they convinced Louie to get in the car. They went to a bar and Vachon gave Pat and Louie shot after shot as they hit it off. Vachon would go on to insist Louie come to the matches as Mad Dog loved him. He even stayed at Pat and Louie’s place when he had to hide from the law from time to time.

Pat and Louie moved on to Texas and Arizona to work. This was the first time Patterson saw discrimination as the bathrooms and other such things were seperated for blacks and whites.

Tulsa came next as Patterson worked with a green Danny Hodge.

Roy Shire brought Patterson to the west coast. He was gruff, telling Patterson that he needed to get in shape or he’d have a short run here. Shire also asked Pat if he was “queer”, and let him know that he didn’t like that. Roy eventually met Louie and they hit it off. Shire eventually started giving Pat responsibilities, including giving out finishes and doing payroll.

Being a heel was dangerous as the fans were furious at Pat’s antics. Peter Maivia was a popular Samoan there, so when Pat got heat on him the local Samoans, including future wrestlers Afa and Sika, would try and beat on Patterson as he went to the locker room. Sika jumped from 15 feet in the air and tried to launch on Pat from the stands one night. Patterson moved and Sika splattered on the arena floor. Pat can’t believe Sika wasn’t seriously hurt.

After a long and very successful run in San Francisco, Patterson went to work for Verne Gagne and the AWA. He and Ray Stevens had formed a team on the west coast and they reformed their act in the midwest. Nick Bockwinkel was being moved up to main events as a single, so Stevens needed a new partner.

Bobby Heenan, Sgt. Slaughter, and Lord Alfred Hayes all first met Pat in the AWA. They would end up as friends for years and years between the AWA and WWF. Heenan and Patterson liked to lock the bathrooms on airplanes and then watch as people became more and more desperate to go, only for the room to never vacate.

The money was good in the AWA, but the winters were brutal. Eventually the WWF called and asked Patterson to come in. He had to think long and hard, as things were going good in the AWA, but New York meant big money.

Vince Sr. wanted Pat to come in and work with Bob Backlund since Bob needed some opponents who could wrestle and not just brawl. He ended up working with Backlund for 4 main events at MSG. (Pat and Bruce say 5.) Backlund was worried Patterson was going to double cross him in their cage match and was very stiff with Pat as he tried to climb over the cage in order to build drama with a false finish.

Patterson pitched for his friend Bob Remus (Slaughter) to come to the WWF. Vince Sr. took Pat’s suggestion and gave Sarge a run on top with Backlund and Patteson.

Pat always told guys to sell, sell, sell to really put over the effects of the moves being delivered. Now guys go bump,bump, bump and nothing matters. Oddly, while talking about this point Pat puts over Dolph Ziggler for his workrate.

They go into some of the other bookers Pat had worked with, then go into ideas the WWF used that Pat created. This leads to talk of the Royal Rumble and how the match Pat created recently enjoyed it’s 30th anniversary. Vince brought Pat in and the writers and others all gave Patterson a standing ovation, bringing Pat to tears.

Patterson brings up the Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels “Iron Man” match from Wrestlemania 12. Vince was against such an idea for months and months, despite Patterson and Prichard pitching it. Pat decided to retire due to burnout around this point, but Bruce brought him back to book the match. Pat watched from the audience and was in tears over how well it went down.

Pat and Bruce wanted to turn Shawn Michaels into a babyface around 1994, but Vince was against it, saying he’s a heel for life, and also shooting down any thought of Micheals winning the WWF title. Prior to Wrestlemania 11, Vince suddenly saw the potential in a babyface HBK, and yelled at Patterson and Prichard that he shouldn’t be the only one with such foresight for these things.

The decision to turn Michaels face was abrupt, which meant Pat and Bruce had to do an emergency rewritie for a month’s worth of TV shows.

Steve Lombardi would buy his own plane tickets and follow the WWF around waiting for guys to not show up so he could take their spot. If he got booked, the WWF would then pay for his ticket to that show.

George Scott booked the WWF in 1984 and 85. He had a lot of heat with talent as he was old school and strict.

Jim Barnett would be ribbed by Patterson constantly. He went into Barnett’s office and moved all his items around, unscrewed his light bulb and turned his desk drawers upside down.

Vince and Pat both enjoyed fart humor. Patterson even pulled fart sounds gags in meetings over sexual harassment and such.

In the lead up to Wrestlemania 3, Vince told Pat that if they didn’t sell out the Silverdome then the WWF would go out of business. That sounds like hyperbole.

Andre the Giant spent weeks messing with Hulk Hogan that he wasn’t going to go along with the finish for Mania 3 and instead that he would shoot on Hogan in the main event.

We go over the craziness of Wrestlemania 1. Billy Martin tried to start a fight with Paul Orndorff, and later challenged Patterson when Pat questioned why Martin would mess with a beast like Mr. Wonderful. The atmosphere had Muhammed Ali’s juices flowing, and he wanted to get in the action beyond what was planned.

Pat worked the Chicago wing of Wrestlemania 2. He doesn’t have much to say other than that the cage match was a let down compared to the gaga of the first Wrestlemania.

Jay Strongbow had nicknames for everyone backstage. Vince was either “Emperor” or “Caesar”, depending on his mood.

When there wasn’t booking to be done, Pat spent his time in the office playing ribs on people. Louie worked in merchandising.

Howard Finkel would have a Super Bowl party every year for the key office guys. Patterson ribbed him one year by inviting everyone in the building, all the way down to the dock workers. Finkel freaked out and locked himself in his office. Eventually, Finkel ended up sending a memo out announcing the party was now at Pat’s house.

At one point Hogan and McMahon were having a down period in their business relationship. Hogan had come to the office to discuss their issues with Vince. Pat and Bruce decided to tie a Hogan “wrestling buddy” up by it’s neck and lower it from the roof to Vince’s office window, where McMahon would see it and not Hogan. However, Hogan did see it and since the two men were arguing already, it upped the ante on the fight.

Pat liked to hide things on the office staff. If a maintenance man walked away from his ladder, Patterson would take it and hide it in the ladies room. He’d put an out of order sign on the elevator and watch everyone have to walk up to their offices and back down again to smoke.

Jim Ross left his car running one day, so Pat stole the keys and made a copy. He then moved JR’s car around the parking ramp every day. Macho Man ended up getting the keys, which he eventually tossed in the ocean.

They go over the “Old Timers” battle royal in 1987. Macho Man was very upset over his father not getting booked with all the other legends. Pat claims he just didn’t think to book Angelo Poffo and there was no malice intended.

The Royal Rumble concept was concocted by Pat in 1987. Vince didn’t like the idea at all. Dick Ebersol was pitched the idea and absolutely flipped out over the idea. They forgot to give Rick Martel a finish during one of the early Rumbles and he ended up in the ring WAY past the planned spot.

Bruce brings up the “rumor” that Jerry Jarrett was going to run the WWF if Vince ended up in prison in 1994 after his steroid trial. Patterson laughs at the very thought of it. Bruce calls Jerry “uncreative”.  Jarrett tried to kiss up to the top talent, which Patterson labels as “pathetic”.

While in meetings with a lady executive they didn’t like, Bruce and Pat would just play with a ball back and forth.

They stayed at a bad hotel one night in Chicago. Pat decided he wanted to shit under the bed as a “rib”, When Bruce lifted the bed frame up, they discovered someone beat them to the deed.

When Pat and Bobby Heenan would sleep in a hotel room together, they usually didn’t sleep much as they’d stay up all night talking.

One time Heenan got smashed at a hotel bar. Pat wanted to get rid of him so he told him it was time for bed. He took Heenan up to their room, where Heenan scooped him up and carried him into the room – after implying to their friends that they were going to screw. Once Heenan passed out, Pat snuck back down to the bar to keep drinking.

Patterson loves the modern product. They put Vince over as not being out of touch – he’s in fact 15 years ahead of the curve. HHH handles the business and talent well.

Pat’s still on the WWE payroll but he comes and goes as he pleases. He spends time with all his friends he wasn’t able to see during his busy years crossing the country.

Patterson tells the story about Vince having the staff give him a standing ovation about the Royal Rumble going for 30 years for the third time in this interview.

Bruce puts Patterson over strong and that’s a wrap!

Final thoughts: It was definitely interesting to hear about Patterson’s life from his own perspective However I was let down, if not “surprised” about Bruce and Pat’s juvenile antics, which they happily recalled.

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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