As noted earlier this week, The Rock confirmed on Twitter that his father, WWE Hall of Famer Rocky Johnson, was being laid to rest on Tuesday. The former WWE Tag Team Champion passed away last Wednesday at the age of 75.
There were rumors on WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson coming out of the invitation-only funeral, claiming that they were acting unusual. The rumors began after WWE Hall of Famer "Superstar" Billy Graham made a Facebook post earlier this week. It should be noted that Graham wasn't at the funeral, and he was detailing the alleged behavior second-hand from his mother-in-law, who did attend. The post is set to "Friends Only" on Graham's mostly-public Facebook page, but you can see a screenshot of the post at this link. Graham wrote:
"My mother in law is friends with Rocky's wife as they would sit together at the bi -monthly wrestling reunion held in Tampa. My wife's mom told Valerie that there were 2 low points to the service which was by invitation only with about 100 people attending. One was by Vince, who got up to speak and said the following, ' Rocky did 1 good thing in his life, he married Ata and had some kids. ' Then he did his 'working strut' off the platform and sat down and that was it. Classless ass hole.
"Then Pat Patterson was asked to speak and said some very nice things about working with Rocky in San Fransisco, some of those matches were with me as Patterson's tag partner against The High Chief, Peter Maivia and Rocky. Then, out of no where Patterson goes into this rant and called Rocky Johnson, laying dead in the casket right below him, a mother F- er and started this vulgar rant about how worthless Rocky was and a bunch of guys had to drag Patterson off the church platform and sit him down. So disgustingly disrespectful it's beyond words. Patterson who just turned 81 must be losing his mind literally. Only in pro wrestling folks, very sad to hear about this and I actually feel a bit ill over this bizarre behavior."
In the video seen at this link, Devon Nicholson of Hannibal TV read a message he received from former WWE Superstar Harry Smith, son of The British Bulldog, who lives in Tampa and knew Johnson, and was at the funeral on Tuesday. Harry told Hannibal TV that he could confirm some of the allegations as people had been asking him what happened.
Hannibal repeated a message from Smith that read:
"I think Vince and Pat were both really strange or they were drunk, or they were a bit of both, probably. Pat's microphone got cut off because he was talking so long at the funeral. Pat's final ending line was, 'You know, last night I was drunk and I was drinking water or what I thought was in the sink, and then the toilet seat fell on my head.' Vince said, 'Rocky Johnson was a great wrestler, but the greatest thing he ever did was marry Ata [Johnson] and Ata had some kids.' Then he [Vince] walked out of the building. Vince strutted on and off the stage like he was cutting a promo. He looked like he had really shrunk [in size], too. ... Vince and Pat were both completely 'out to lunch.' I thought they were drunk but I spoke to Pat and maybe he's just going senile."
Hannibal noted that Smith isn't the first person that has said Patterson may be going senile, and it was said that Patterson's memory isn't that good these days.
In the same video that he read the message from Smith, Hannibal also recalled how he talked to Al Rosen, who spoke at the funeral and was Johnson's best friend for several decades. Rosen told Hannibal that nobody from the Johnson family was offended by Vince's behavior, and the family was not offended at all by Vince's speech. Hannibal said it sounded like Vince did do his strut, but Vince is somewhat always in character mode, and then just told a joke.
Rosen later spoke to Hannibal TV for a second video, which you can see at the bottom of this post, to clear up some of the rumors and speculation coming out of the funeral. Rosen said he wanted to set the record straight, adding that the Johnson family appreciated every person who attended the funeral, and were honored to have everyone there for Rocky. Rosen also said, speaking on behalf of Rock's mother Ata Johnson, that she was honored that Vince and Pat attended. Rosen said Vince is like family to the Johnsons and has been there since the early days, through each generation, including the current generation. Rosen also called Patterson family and said the family absolutely did not feel disrespected.
Rosen also said the Johnson family was honored that Vince took his time and made the trip down to Florida for the service. It was noted that Vince sat there for around 2 hours before he finally got up to speak in front of the crowd that was 99% wrestlers, including WWE Hall of Famers Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Gerald Brisco, and others. Apparently Vince was not on the program, but he wanted to get up and say a few words to honor Johnson anyway. Rosen said Vince's speech was short but direct, and exactly what Rocky would want someone to say about him.
"Was Vince short? But he was probably the most direct," Rosen said. "He said exactly what Rocky would want somebody to say about him - he's a talented, gifted worker. And he said the most, probably the best, thing he ever did, which he [Rocky] admitted to me hundreds of times, and that was marrying Ata, and then having a baby named Dwayne, and he also spoke of his other two kids."
Rosen did say Patterson didn't always use "church language" during his speech as he recalled stories from over the years with Johnson. Rosen said there was no truth to the rumors on people pulling Pat off the stage, but his mic was turned off. After Patterson's mic was cut, he said one more sentence and then walked off the stage, according to Rosen, who added that Patterson never disrespected his longtime friend Johnson.
The Johnson family was said to be absolutely blown away by the amount of people that showed up and paid their respects. It was also noted that the funeral ran long because of the speeches, and that's why some people left after speaking because of other commitments.
"I'm telling you direct, as part of Rocky's family for the last 43 years, we were honored to have every person that I named, and those that I did not name," Rosen said, adding that there was nothing but love and respect felt by the family.