We lost one of the greatest minds in pro wrestling history this week as Pat Patterson died at the age of 79. Patterson spent over 60 years in the business and has been described as “Vince McMahon’s right-hand man” for his work in WWE.

Triple H was blessed enough to spend nearly 25 years working with Patterson as both a wrestler and in backstage roles. He talked about Patterson’s legacy in an interview with Ryan Satin of FOX Sports.

“Pat could be? if you made a list of the most influential people in this business ? and I’m not just talking in-ring career ? but everything from the moment you get into it until the time you’re not in it, most influential people, probably Vince is at the top of the list and I don’t know how you could have anyone higher than that. But Pat would be in there as a tight second,” stated Triple H.

“The longevity of it, the contributions to it, not only as a worker as Pat is an afterthought a little bit on the work rate side sometimes. But you think a guy who was on the San Francisco territory for 14 years as a top guy; that just doesn’t happen.”

Triple H then talked about Patterson’s feud with Bob Backlund in the early days before Patterson joined WWF and connected with Vince McMahon Sr. He was often the creative force behind many of the pro wrestling inventions during the global expansion of the business in the 1980s.

People talk about the Rumble all the time but there isn’t a day that goes by for me in the PC ? whether I’m talking to talent or producing TV or we’re writing something or anything that has to do with WWE ? that there isn’t some piece of Pat attached to that. It’s always there,” Triple H said before telling Ryan what he told the talent and crew who lined up to pay tribute to Patterson.

“I know there’s a lot of you that maybe never met him, but trust me, this could be the most influential guy to your career that you’ll have the opportunity to make a tribute for. Even if you’ve never met him and you believe, ‘Ah, I never met Pat and I he never had anything to do with me,’ he does. Every guy that came before you that’s teaching you on any level, something that they had came from Pat’s learning tree. That’s not an exaggerated statement in any way.”

Patterson heavily influenced Triple H ? and since The Game is the executive producer of NXT ? then Patterson has also influenced the NXT talent. He talked about working backstage with Patterson and the little nuggets he’d throw out to talents.

“He’s one of those guys who’d sit there and watch something and just throw out a little pearl of wisdom. He’d be like, ‘Oh, it’s genius.’ That’s just how he was. All the people that are in there ? Matt Bloom, Shawn [Michaels] ? we learned so much in our careers from Pat,” said Triple H.

Hunter noted about how when you get older, you find out you’re emulating your parents and he made that same comparison to emulating Pat Patterson when talking to NXT talents.

“Every talent that I’ve ever been around ? especially the generation from ’95 when I came to WWE thru [today] ? that doesn’t put Pat on the top of that list of people that helped them the most? I was lucky enough to get to work with him day in and day out as a talent and then as I was coming up and being in production meetings, there were lots of times Vince would look at Pat and I and go, ‘You guys, go try to make this better,'” recalled Triple H. “It wasn’t my stuff or a show I would even be on and Pat and I would go off into the stands, sit for a long time and try to think of different ways to do it.

“Those times, for me, were so valuable and I can’t state it enough. I think so many of us wouldn’t be anywhere without his help and our success in the business.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit FOX Sports with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.