WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson passed away at the age of 79 earlier this month. To honor his mentor, Chris Jericho did a tribute episode on his Talk Is Jericho podcast to reflect on Patterson’s career both as a wrestler and backstage. Jericho recalled when Patterson was put in charge of an overseas tour in 2002.
“The first show we did in Tokyo with WWE, I think it was the first time they’d ever been to Japan maybe in 10-15 years or whatever it was, and we sold out Yokohama Arena in 10 minutes. And it was right when I won the Undisputed Championship,” Jericho recalled. “So the main event was Jericho vs. The Rock, and we did Tokyo, we did in Malaysia and we did Singapore.
“And all three shows were huge, especially Yokohama, and the main event was Rock and I for the title. And I was the champion, so I beat him, but then as you did at the time, if you remember, after the main event was done, you would stay in the ring and just do a promo, like an improv bit, especially with Steve [Austin] and Rock because they loved doing it.
“So Rock was on the tour. It was one of his last tours, and Pat was the agent for the tour. And I think it’s because Rock wanted him to do it, maybe Pat wanted to go to Japan or whatever it was. So it was one of the few times when we did an international tour where Pat was in charge. This is 2002.”
Jericho said after he and The Rock did their improv promos, Patterson was furious noting that the crowd would forget their match and only remember their comedy. He said Patterson was still mad even after The Rock pointed out that he probably would never wrestle in front of this audience ever again.
“We would go do the match, 20-minute match. Rock and I always had great chemistry,” Jericho noted. “We tore the house down and had a lot of fun, and then afterwards, we would do 10, 15-20 minutes of improv comedy. And people loved it, but I remember going to the back after the first night.
“Pat was furious. He’s like, ‘What are you doing? You have this great match, and then you go talk for 20 minutes. And then no one remembers the match. They just listen to you guys bulls–t with each other doing this gaga. You’re doing this gaga, and it’s the s–ts!’ And meanwhile, the crowd was going nuts and having a great time.
“And Rock was like, ‘Pat, I’ll probably never come back to these countries to wrestle again,’ because he was going to do the movie star thing, and he’s like, ‘I don’t care! This is bulls–t!’ And then the next night, we did it again.’ You don’t listen to me! Both you guys don’t listen! F–k this!’ And he got so mad at us.”
Jericho noted that at the end of the tour, there’s typically a big party, but Patterson wanted to cancel the party so that everyone could make their flight home on time. Jericho said he convinced Patterson that he would get everyone in on time, but he revealed that he was the only one that was late.
“At the last night, we’re gonna do an end of the tour party,” Jericho stated. “And Pat was like, ‘This is not a good idea. I know how this works. No one’s going to show up for the bus. Everyone’s going to be drunk. Everyone’s going to be hungover. This happens all the time.’ I said, ‘Pat, this isn’t the ’90s. The guys are different. I’ll make sure that everybody makes it to the bus on time. I promise. I will make sure that everybody makes it to the bus,’ and he’s like, ‘Okay, if you can guarantee that everybody will be on the bus at 7:00 when we have to go to the airport, then have the party.’ And I’m like, ‘Absolutely.’ So I went to the front desk, and I made sure everyone gets a wake-up call.
“Make sure they answer. Go knock on the doors. Here’s the guys that might be a little bit more troublesome. So morning comes and I wake up, and I’ve f–king missed the alarm. I’m late, and I run down. It’s one of those things where you throw all your stuff in a bag and run down there, and Pat’s standing at the bus. Everybody made it to the bus on time except for me, the guy who promised that everyone would make it to the bus on time. He’s smoking a cigarette. He’s like, ‘I just have to laugh. What the f–k?’ I felt so embarrassed. Pat’s gonna be so mad.”
Jericho has credited Patterson for teaching him all he knew about the psychology side of the wrestling business. He recalled during The Nexus era where he had to put over Heath Slater. He said he was not happy with that decision, until Patterson explained in terms he understood why it was a good idea.
“We were doing something where I had to work with Heath Slater, and Vince wanted me to put him over. You know me man, but I flipped out,” Jericho admitted. “I’m like, ‘What? This guy’s nothing. Why do you want me to put him over?’ Whatever reasoning was, I went straight looking for Pat, and I went to Pat. I said, ‘Can you believe what this f–king guy wants me to do? He wants me to put over Heath Slater. Can you believe that? What should I do?’ Pat’s smoking a cigarette in a no-smoking area. of course.
“He goes, ‘Do it!’ I go, ‘What?’ He goes, ‘Just do it!’ And he was basically telling me that everyone knows you’re going to beat this guy, but you’re a heel. If he beats you, you can flip out. You’ll get way more over by losing this match. You’ll have much more of a bone to pick and meat to chew on for a promo. He said, ‘No one’s even going to remember this guy beat you next week. They don’t even know what his name is, and they still don’t know what his name is.’ This actually gets you moreover as a heel to lose this match to this opening match jobber, and I never thought of it.
“And if Vince could have described it that way, I wouldn’t have had problem, but Vince did not speak like Pat did. Pat could speak wrestler talk. Vince does not know how to speak that because he’s never been a wrestler. So instantly, you think, well, Vince is out to get me, or he’s trying to screw me or whatever, but Pat could explain it in a way that I understood it. And he was right.”
Triple H has recently called Patterson the second-most influential person in the wrestling business. Jericho agreed with that, and he talked about how Patterson’s influence on the business will live on for generations because the veterans of today are using his teachings to help the younger talent today.
“I think that Pat’s theories and Pat’s concepts will be passed down for generations to generations,” Jericho said. “For me, once again, being so ingrained with Pat into my wrestling DNA, I had both Darby Allin and Jungle Boy over the last couple weeks say when they worked with me for the first time, that’s when they started understanding that it’s not about how many moves you can do.
“It’s about connecting and about fire and about putting things in the right spot, and Isiah Kassidy said the same thing. All the stuff from teaching them are all things that Pat taught me, nine years into the business, and I think Pat’s fingerprints in the business will always be there because of the guys that he helped.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.