Hulk Hogan is mourning the passing of WWE legend, Pat Patterson, who created the iconic “Royal Rumble.” Patterson died at the age of 79.
On Twitter, Hogan said, “Tough morning hearing the news about Pat, shocked, RIP my brother, Pat and Buddy Colt let me ride with them when I had my first match, the ribbing started that day and went on until now, love you my brother, tabernac HH.”
Pat Patterson’s Career in the WWE
Patterson was considered wrestling’s “first gay superstar” and was a part of WWE for decades.
In the 1950s, Patterson began his wrestling career and began working with WWE in the late 1970s. Throughout his time with WWE, Patterson had a series of famous matches, including one with wrestling star Sgt. Slaughter. In 1979 Patterson become WWE’s first Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion.
Later, Patterson became a WWE commentator and continued to work in the ring and the booth. Most notably, he was the in-ring official for the main event of the first WrestleMania, pitting Hulk Hogan and Mr. T against “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff.
In 1984, Patterson retired, however, his love for wrestling continued. He then became a WWE executive. In 1999, he pitched the idea for the “Royal Rumble.”
In Patterson’s book, “Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE,” Patterson gives readers insight into how the Rumble was created.
“The first Royal Rumble was on January 24, 1988, in Hamilton, Ontario. The difference between WWE’s Royal Rumble and a traditional over-the-top rope battle royal is that the participants come into the match at two-minute intervals — not all at the same time at the beginning of the match. I wanted to create something special.”
In 2014, Patterson famously came out as gay during an episode of “WWE Legends House.” Later, the WWE inducted Patterson into its Hall of Fame in 1996.