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WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson, the first openly gay pro wrestling star, dies aged 79

Patterson’s career was associated with many firsts, including the first ever Intercontinental Title reign and the creation of the Royal Rumble.

Pro wrestling legend Pat Patterson.
Pro wrestling legend Pat Patterson.

WWE HALL OF Famer Pat Patterson has passed away aged 79.

A pioneer of the sports-entertainment genre, Patterson’s storied career was known for its many ‘firsts’, including the first-ever Intercontinental Title reign and the creation of the Royal Rumble match. Patterson is also widely credited as being the first ever openly gay pro wrestling star, as expanded upon in his 2016 autobiography ‘Accepted’.

Patterson began his career in 1958 in his native Canada and remained involved in pro wrestling, either in the ring or behind the mic, for the next six decades.

He joined the WWE in 1978 and was crowned its first Intercontinental champion a year later. His legendary feud with Sgt. Slaughter culminated in Boot Camp matches and a brutal Alley Fight at Madison Square Garden, captivating the WWE universe.

Shortly before his first retirement from the ring in 1984, he became co-commentator to Vince McMahon. Four years later, he created the original Royal Rumble format.

He returned to the ring during the WWE’s ‘Attitude’ era and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.


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