Hulk Hogan is just one of many people in professional wrestling who are mourning the loss of WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, who died on Wednesday.
Hogan, who made a name for himself in the WWE, shared some photos on Twitter from one of the last times he caught up with Patterson.
Hulk Hogan and Pat Patterson Were Part of ‘WrestleMania’
Hogan and Patterson’s friendship goes all the way back to the first “WrestleMania” where Patterson was a special guest referee in the main event. Hogan headlined that tag team match with Mr. T against “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff.
The original idea presented publicly was that Muhammad Ali was going to be the referee. Neither did any other then-WWF referees at the time, but Patterson was called upon by WWE President and Chairman of the Board Vince McMahon to be the official “third man in the ring.”
Patterson had a lot of trust from McMahon over the years. Knowing that Ali would be much more effective in an enforcer role to interject into the match at key exciting moments, McMahon needed someone to handle the true referee duties in the ring. That role fell on Patterson’s shoulders.
WWE put together clips from some of Patterson’s greatest matches as a pro wrestler.
Pat Patterson Takes Career Into The World Of WWE
Patterson, who later in life came out as gay, found success in the ring, starting in his native Canada then moving to the United States. He was a star in the San Francisco Bay area, teaming up with Ray Stevens to capture the AWA (American Wrestling Association) World Tag Team Championship in 1978.
After that run, Patterson moved on over to the then-World Wide Wrestling Federation. He became the company’s first Intercontinental Champion in 1979 before retiring from active in-ring competition in 1984.
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.
He then became a WWE executive. In 1999, he pitched the idea for the “Royal Rumble.”