I do not know how often I’ll be able to recap shoot interviews but for now expect them sporadically.
This was filmed January 29th, 2018
It runs at three hours and seven minutes long
Bruce Prichard is the host.
The interview starts off with the two joking around then Pat saying he was begging for Bruce to come back when he was let go the first time because he was stuck with all of his work.
Bruce first asks Pat about his beginnings in wrestling. Pat recalls seeing wrestling as a kid in Montreal and started off really hating the heels. Pat then broke into wrestling when he was just 15 years old. A classmate’s dad was a promoter in Montreal so Pat became friends with him and also said the kid’s dad forbid his son from being a wrestler. However, Pat would bring the kid to a gym and train. Pat helped out the promoter by putting up posters then told him he was training with his son. The promoter let them wrestle on night and thought they did good and after that Pat became a preliminary wrestler.
Pat said he started out and had little money and no car so the old-timers would charge him a dollar for rides to the shows.
We get a story from Pat. He was in Boston and at the time did not speak English. He rented an apartment for $10 a week and a lot of the other wrestlers stayed in the same building. They all played ribs on each other so one night Pat decided he was going to take a dump from the 4th floor and onto the table in the lobby. Pat did it and the landlord asked him what happened but Pat played dumb. Pat also said they would rip open pillows and shake the feathers out as the landlord would have to sweep them up.
Pat talks about meeting his life partner, Louie. He met him through friends of friends of wrestler Golden Boy Dupree. However, at first he said the wrong name and ended up speaking to Louie’s friend named Lee. Then, Pat and Louie did end up going to a bar as Pat was amazed that he drove a new car and had a good job at a factory. Louie lived in Leominster, MA which is about 40 miles outside of Boston.
After about three years Pat left Boston for Oregon. He got booked there through Mad Dog Vachon, who said Pat better find a way to get there as Pat said he did not have the money to make the move. The promoter showed Pat how far away Oregon was on a map and that scared him but Pat said Louie gave him the money and ended up going with him.
Pat tells us a story of sitting in a hotel lobby with Louie when Mad Dog entered. Louis took off running then Mad Dog told Pat to get in his car so he can find him. They saw Louie walking on a sidewalk then Mad Dog drove up on the sidewalk and demanded he get in as they headed back to the hotel. At the hotel bar, Mad Dog made them drink a few shots then Mad Dog spoke to Louie and they ended up being close. Pat was scared the whole time thinking Mad Dog would kill them both. Mad Dog even wanted Louie to come to the matches then Pat said that Mad Dog and his wife would always argue and the police would make him leave so Mad Dog spent the night with Pat & Louie.
Pat then recalls how shocked he was and how awful he felt in Texas when he saw segregated bathrooms and crowds. He left there because he was not making any money then went to Phoenix. Pat tells a story about a mechanic who helped the wrestlers out fixing his car then Pat left town before paying him. Pat said the promoter in Phoenix brought in a lot of Mexican talent but treated them like shit and Pat said that pissed him off. Plus, the promoter was just awful in general. Pat then talks about holding up the promoter for $50 or else he’d leave with the belt. The promoter ended up giving him the money but Pat told his opponent to beat him after a dropkick. Pat lost in a minute or two then immediately left as Louis was waiting in the car with everything packed.
He then went to work in Oklahoma and was told to look out for Leo Voss, who was a stooge (Voss was an assistant to promoter Leroy McGuirk I believe). Word got around about what Pat did in Phoenix then Pat had to ride with Voss because he did not have a car as Pat said despite Voss’s rep he had a lot of fun as Pat talks about driving the guy crazy. Pat talks about working with Danny Hodge and having to help him work but said it was a lot of fun.
Pat wound up going back to Portland but this time he had more experience and had a bigger name. Pat said there was no big money in Portland but it was a lot of fun. After that Pat wound up in San Francisco working for Roy Shire, who told him to start going to the gym because if not he will not be here long.
We get another story from Pat. He was driving with Shire and they were heading back from Fresno. Shire told Pat that he heard he was “queer” so Pat said he was not queer but gay. Shire said he did not care for that but a few months later talked to Louie and the two became friends. Pat also said that Shire would go off on people when they messed up. Pat also said that sometimes Shire would not go to the shows and leave Pat in charge. Pat also said that Shire ended up having him do payroll too as Pat said Shire lived quite a distance away from San Francisco. Pat said that Shire would also fire babyface and heels if seen together in public as he was very much into kayfabe.
Pat puts over Ray Stevens, Pepper Gomez, Rocky Johnson, and Peter Maivia as talent then talked about loving the San Francisco territory and how the trips were short and the restaurants in the are were great. However, Pat said that the fans were rabid and would even follow you home on the highway as he says it was tough being a heel in that territory. Pat said he spent about 15 years in San Francisco.
After San Francisco, Pat left to work for Verne Gagne in the AWA. Pat said he had a blast there and talks about teaming back up with Ray Stevens. We get a story when they were in Milwaukee on a snowy night. They drank a bit and had to leave because everything was shutting down. They see a bar and go in as Stevens saw some girls and pointed out how big they were as Pat took a closer look and told Stevens they were drag queens. Pat also talks about meeting Bobby Heenan and how they’d always mess with the airplane bathroom door to make it appear it was occupied.
He got to the WWF when Los Angeles promoter Mike LeBell called him up and said he should go work for Vince McMahon Sr. in the WWWF because he would be taken care of so Pat went. Pat said when he arrived, Vince told Arnold Skaaland to take care of him as Pat said it was great because Skaaland had all of the booze.
We go back to Roy Shire as Pat said Shire hated the NWA Convention and never wanted to use the champion.
Bruce asks Pat about Vince Sr. and how Vince said his dad told people their start and end date as Pat said he was never given an end date. They both poke fun at today’s creative for using large writing teams and over producing everything as Pat said he was brought in to help out Bob Backlund as Backlund never had anyone good enough to help him out in the ring. Pat said that Backlund could legitimately take anyone in the company.
Pat said that Backlund thought he was going to double-cross him in their cage match and paranoid of that happening in general. Pat also said he got Sgt. Slaughter brought into the WWWF. On his Alley Fight match against Slaughter, Pat said it was his own idea to not have a referee.
Bruce then talks about Pat being the best “finish man” he has worked with and recalls a finish where Pat tells the person to lay on the ground like a “douchebag” as if they are just about dead and when they think they’ve been there long enough to stay even longer. Pat said he told Shawn Michaels to do this and Shawn complained at first but after that he loved the finish and did double countouts every night. Today, Pat said that the big guys draw money but he likes the younger, smaller guys because they are exciting in the ring and when they win the big one there is an explosion in the crowd. Pat said he will never forget when Dolph Ziggler won the belt in the Meadowlands and how he was pushing for that to happen and said that type of magic is what they work for as Bruce said that is the beauty of the wrestling business.
On being the booker in Florida, Pat said he worked with Johnny Valentine and they had creative differences as Johnny wanted slow-paced matches with little creativity and that even upset the talent.
Pat said that besides the Royal Rumble match concept he also created the Iron Man match. Bruce said that it took a very long time to convince Vince to do this and Pat even came back after a retirement. Pat came back to lay out the WrestleMania 12 match for Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels and even sat in the crowd while wearing a hat and was crying because it worked as we learn that Pat gets emotional and easily cries.
Bruce tells us how Vince once said that Shawn Michaels would never be a babyface or become the company’s champion despite pleas from Pat & Bruce. However, after WrestleMania XI, Vince came into his limo after the show and slammed the door, saying “god dammit, we have a babyface on our hands and why am I the only one who sees these things” while referencing Michales. Pat & Bruce were bullshit that after months of pleas this happened then had to re-write all of the television shows the next day.
Both guys talk about Vince getting his haircut in New York City and how they’d all go in the limo. One day they walked to a bar a few blocks away. They thought Vince would join them then pick up the tab of what they had been drinking all day and sure enough that happened. Vince would also go to Little Italy for pasta then get steak at Smith & Wollensky before going to another restaurant for rice pudding.
Pat is asked about being an agent and who was the biggest headache. Pat said guys would be pissed one day then apologize the next. Bruce talks about Steve Lombardi buying his own tickets for the shows and he’d get reimbursed if used as they said Lombardi made a living out of coming to shows and replacing people who did not appear. Pat also said never get into a fight with a Samoan.
Both guys now talk about WrestleMania as Pat thinks George Scott came up with the name while Bruce says it was Howard Finkel. On working with Scott, Pat said he was old school and tried to have Hogan do other stuff but Hogan would blow him off.
Bruce talks about working down South when he started and how they all said everyone in the WWF was on drugs and having “gay orgies” and if you do not participate in either you will not get booked. Bruce said he started in the WWF at just 24 years old. He came up with Joel Watts and they did TV in Worcester, MA and in New Haven, CT then met with Vince, Pat, and Jim Barnett. Bruce originally thought Barnett was just like Mr. Magoo and couldn’t find anything he needed but found out later it was really Pat fucking around with Barnett and moving his stuff around. Pat said he would unscrew the light bulbs and mess up his shoes as Barnett had about ten pairs of shoes in boxes in his office.
They jump ahead to a story when Bruce had a remote control whoopie cushion they used during a sexual harassment class led by Linda McMahon. Bruce said Pat had the control and Pat kept laughing as Linda was pissed off.
Regarding WrestleMania III, Pat said Vince told him if he didn’t sell out the Pontiac Silverdome that they would be out of business. Vince also wanted the record attendance in that building. Pat told Vince they’d never sell it out. Pat also said he worked daily on the Hogan vs. Andre match as Pat said Andre told Hogan if he was in a bad mood he’d kick the shit out of him but that Andre was just working him and there was no concern Andre would go off script.
On WrestleMania 2, Pat said that he was in Chicago where George Scott was in charge of the show. Pat said it was not special.
Bruce talks about once he was sharing a room with Joel Watts and as a rib someone put a jar of vaseline on a bed. Pat denies he did this.
They talk about Chief Jay Strongbow having nicknames for everyone. Strongbow would refer to Vince as “The Emperor” when Vince was in a good mood then “Caesar” when in a bad mood. Pat tells a story of when Strongbow was supposed to run out with the rest of the agents to breakup a fight then complained. When Strongbow went out, Pat was behind him with a bucket of water and doused him. Strongbow then thought the fans did this and complained how he never had to go out in the first place. Pat added that Vince was on his knees laughing in the Gorilla position when he came backstage.
Bruce tells us a story of how he ribbed Howard Finkel. Bruce was with Joel Watts and they hung a Vince action figure in the blinds. Finkel thought it was disrespectful and should find out who did this so Bruce took a Polaroid and made copies of wanted signs to slide under Finkel’s office door then told Vince what happened as Vince laughed.
Pat then tells us about Finkel’s Super Bowl party. Every year, Finkel would have a few people over but one year Pat sent out a memo inviting everyone and their families. Pat then laughs and said it was bad as Finkel kept getting calls of people confirming their attendance. Finkel then locked his door as he was beside himself and even tried to rib Pat back by sending out another memo that the party was moved to Pat’s house. Pat said he got into the office and hugged Howard, who did not move, but that Finkel’s chair moved and Pat ended up falling on top of Finkel.
Pat also talked about the time he hid the shoeshiner’s box in the women’s locker room. The guy was going nuts then Vince called up Pat and asked if he had anything to do with what happened. Pat said he did and Vince told him he loved it and hung up.
Bruce recalls a meeting between Hogan and Vince had during a time when things were tense between them. Bruce had an idea to hang a wrestling buddy down from the roof because Vince’s chair faced the window in his office. Bruce & Pat went up on the roof and hung it then after a while they heard the door open up with Vince screaming their names. Bruce & Pat said they hid behind the air conditioning unit as Bruce said Vince was pissed seeing the Hogan wrestling buddy dangle down during a tense meeting.
Pat also would like to hide ladders of the repairmen inside of the women’s locker room too and put “out or order” on all of the elevator buttons so people would take the stairs. Pat said that he would sneak out and take the elevator then Bruce talked about Freddie Blassie refusing to go upstairs because the elevator was out.
Pat tells us a story about when they were in Portland, ME at a restaurant with Vince. They looked outside and saw Jim Ross get out of his car and check into the hotel. Ross let his car running so Pat took his keys as Bruce said he told this story a lot and never said it was Pat who did this. Ross had no clue they were in the restaurant and after a while Ross came back and opened the trunk as he had a spare. Pat said he still had the key and the next week he would take Ross’s car and move it from the third floor garage to the second. Prichard said that Ross approached him about someone having fun with his keys as we then learn those keys were passed around to other people too. Ross then had to call a locksmith to get into his condo when they returned from the road as Bruce said those keys ended up in the Gulf of Atlantic Ocean as Bruce does Randy Savage’s voice to hint that Savage was the one responsible.
Pat talks about the old-timer battle royal at the Meadowlands and how Vince was against it happening. Pat kept telling Vince he thought it would be fun and called all sorts of legends and got them all in a room and told them the layout of the match. The last two were Pat O’Connor and Lou Thesz but back to Savage, Pat said he forgot about his dad and Savage called him up screaming a few days later. Pat said he told Savage he forgot but Savage did not believe him and how he was ready to have a fight.Bruce also talks about Savage and said Savage wanted to kill him at WrestleMania IX. They were sitting in the trailers and Savage told Bruce he would kick his ass and that Savage was so upset and frazzled as Bruce still does not know what he allegedly did to piss him off.
On the one talent he would want to work with all of the time as a booker/TV producer, Pat said he would pick Miz & Dolph Ziggler as guys he wants to help today.
Pat talks about coming up with the Royal Rumble match concept. He talks about meeting all of the old promoters and traveling everywhere then one day he thought about who created the battle royal then remembered Shire had it once a year and it would instantly sell out the Cow Palace but no one knows the creator. Pat then started thinking about instead of having all the guys in the ring at the same time, have them come in one at a time. Pat thought about it some more then came up with two guys starting off then another guy entering two minutes later. Vince originally hated the idea but after a meeting with Dick Ebersol for a “Saturday Night’s Main Event” show, Vince told Pat to tell Ebersol his “stupid” idea since Ebersol did not care for a few things presented to him. Pat explained the concept and Ebersol loved the idea, calling it a “Legal Run-In.” Vince still did not think it would work. Pat then said the first Royal Rumble he was completely in charge of the match. Bruce said the first Royal Rumble was his first TV show he had written himself and said how he was with Ebersol in the production booth and came up with “Titan Time” when they realized they’d run out of time if it was a legitimate two minutes for each entrant so they would just tell people when to go out a their choosing. Pat also said the Royal Rumble name was created by someone at Creative Services.
Bruce talks about writing the Rumble match with Vince and how Vince would over analyze everything like who should be #3 or #17 and make it hard. Bruce then suggested they really draw numbers at random and Vince angrily shot that down and said they’d be picking them in advance.
Pat talks about sitting in the Gorilla position for this past Royal Rumble and how he started crying again.
Bruce then talks about Jerry Jarrett consulting for Vince in the early 90’s and the rumor of Jarrett taking over if Vince went to jail. Pat starts laughing and after Bruce asked if he ever had a single good idea during his WWF tenure, Pat laughed again. Bruce said that Jarrett was just not that creative and all Jarrett wanted to do was leave Connecticut and return home. Bruce & Pat would then talk about how they would mess with Jarrett and tell him to return to the office after he was almost at the airport and Vince called them up all pissed off because they were fucking with Jarrett. Pat said that Jarrett would kiss the ass of all the top guys.
They now talk about the Air Host Hotel in Chicago. Pat said it was small and cheap and had a good bar but you didnt really want to sleep there. Lisa Wolf wanted to stay there and Pat tells a story of how the beds where wooden frames and you lifted up the mattress. Pat & Heenan were going to lift it up and shit inside and direct Wolf to that room but someone beat them to the job. Pat said he frequently shared rooms with Heenan and would plan out pranks to pull the next day.
Bruce talks about Vince speeding through a toll booth then telling the sheriff he did not have jurisdiction because they were on a federal highway and the sheriff agreed. Bruce tells another story of how they got pulled over in Milwaukee and a cop pulled them over and saw that there were empty beers everywhere. The cop put Vince in the back of his cruiser then Gerry Brisco told the cop they worked in the WWF as the cop said it really must be Vince McMahon in his cruiser then the cop said he was the “Big Boss Man” tonight. The cop told them to then pull over at the next exit and dump all of their beer and pretend nothing happened.
On whether or not Vince is out of touch, Bruce said he laughs at this because he heard that back in 1987 when he started in the WWF and said he is usually 15 years ahead of everyone. Pat says Vince loves what he does and even loves being creative then puts over Paul Levesque and how he handles the business and talent.
Pat then talks about his proudest moment in wrestling took place last night when Vince thanked Pat in a production meeting for the Royal Rumble match and everyone else gave him a standing ovation.
The interview closes with Bruce thanking Pat for contributing to wrestling as the WWE would have never been the same. Bruce also thanks Pat for keeping him sane as working with Vince would drive you crazy.
Pat then said the wrestling business was such an important part in his life and wants to let Paul, Shane, and Stephanie grow in the business and is confident they will succeed into the future. Pat says he occasionally works for the WWE today.
Final Thoughts: The interview was entertaining enough to hold my attention but I was a bit disappointed. I don’t mind hearing rib/prank stories at all but with Patterson, who was a creative force for a long time, I would have liked to heard more about that process and the other stuff he created in the WWF. This felt more like a podcast than anything else. And if you ever question as to why there are so many pranks within the WWF locker room just listen to them talk about Vince liking them.
Hearing about Pat’s earlier career was interesting though and most of the rib stories were funny albeit some were quite vile. And hearing about what its like to work with Vince is always interesting.
Here is my schedule for the next several days:
Thursday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 12/28/91
Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 12/29/91
Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 10/27/83
Sunday: WWF Madison Square Garden 12/29/91
Monday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 1/4/92
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/5/92
Wednesday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 1/11/92