The word “legend” is often overused. Guys accomplish a couple of things and everyone is quick to tag them as a “legend,” especially in the professional wrestling business.
Is Pat Patterson a legend? Without a doubt. Absolutely. Is he a good person? Well, that’s not so cut-and-dry. That one isn’t as easy to determine.
When it comes to laying out a match, or using wrestling-creativity to create excitement and elicit a reaction from a crowd, Pat Patterson has very few peers. He truly is in a league of his own. But is he a good person? Again, that one is tough to call.
Anyone who reads my editorials knows I’ll be the first person to admit in a given situation that while I may be informed, more so than the average cat, that I don’t legitimately know better than those who are actually involved first-hand. Journalists and reporters are an egotistical bunch. They’re always the “smartest guys in the room,” or so they think. Me? I’m just a big fan who happens to get an inside tip here or there.
The bottom line, however, is that while I may not be informed enough to judge this particular individual as a person, there is an incredible amount of evidence when it comes to the merit of Pat Patterson as a human being, that I simply cannot turn the other cheek. I can’t look away.
Do I know the man personally? Absolutely not. Do I consider myself a decent judge of character? Sure. As good as the average bear. Does it take a rocket scientist when you have read, heard and seen so many examples of Patterson’s behavior behind-the-scenes to call him a less-than-decent person? Nope. Sorry, but it doesn’t.
What is inspiring all of this, you ask? Well, recently I have been reading some old newsletters and articles, as well as watching some old programs, all of which center around the early-1990s WWE scandal regarding homosexual harassment and steroids. While none of this is new information to me, somehow as time has gone by I’ve forgotten what a truly despicable person Pat Patteron was portrayed during all of this. Somehow as time has gone by I have considered him to be a true legend of the sport, as well as one of the most important behind-the-scenes figures in the growth of WWE.
And regardless of his status as a man, he absolutely is exactly that. But is he a good person? Nope.
For those unaware of Patterson’s past, you really should spend some time on Google. You really should read some of the Wrestling Observer newsletters from the 1990s during the national scandal that surrounded WWE and ring boys. WWE and steroids. Dr. Zahorian. Anyone who isn’t educated on this period of time is really missing out on a big part of WWE’s history.
One television show in particular reminded me of this issue. I would really appreciate all of you guys checking out this infamous edition of the Phil Donahue show. It features, among others, Vince McMahon, Dave Meltzer, Barry Orton (Randy Orton’s uncle), “Superstar” Billy Graham and Bruno Sammartino. For those who haven’t seen it, allow me to inform you that you may be shocked at what you see and hear.
At the end of the day, Pat Patterson has made an unremarkable amount of contributions to the sport of professional wrestling. His fingerprints are all over some of the biggest and most legendary moments in the history of the business. But is he a good person? Once again, I don’t know the man personally, so I feel uncomfortable making such a definitive conclusion. Given the amount of evidence against him — I’m sorry to say — I believe the answer is no.
For those who watch that Phil Donahue show, or are informed on this particular subject, I’m interested in your opinion. Leave your feedback in the “Comments” section below.
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