Pat Patterson Interview w/Newsweek

Discussion in 'General WWE' started by Solid Snake, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. Newsweek spoke to Patterson about his autobiography, Accepted, the changing landscape of gay tolerance in sports and the WWE product today.

    Newsweek : Some of your close friends in wrestling realized you were gay and were supportive, but did you experience any homophobia in your career?

    Never. My whole life in the business, years and years, I’ve wrestled just about everybody in the business. I’ve never had a problem. I turned out to be so good that they liked to wrestle with me because I made them look good. I had a reputation for being a good guy and friendly with everybody. The word “gay” or “queer” was never brought up.

    Of course, I hid it too. I didn’t want anybody to know I was gay. All these years, I had to hide. I traveled all over the country. A lot of guys had girlfriends here, girlfriends there, but I was too afraid to go to a gay bar. I had to wear a hat so I wouldn’t be seen. I hid for years. I kept saying to myself, “One of these days, I’ve got to come out.” That’s what I did on Legends’ House. I feel like I’m free now after all these years of hiding.

    How did the autobiography come about?

    It was not my idea to write a book. I’ve been in the [wrestling] business 58 years… Vince [McMahon] kept saying to me: “One of these days you’re going to have to write a book about your life and what you have accomplished. It’s a great story.” [WWE] kept pushing me and pushing me, so I said, okay, I’ll write it.

    The title of the book—Accepted—that didn’t come from me. I had no idea. They showed me the cover of the book and I just took it because it sounds good.

    How has tolerance and acceptance evolved in wrestling now, from your experiences backstage in WWE?

    It is a lot easier now, of course. People are more accepting now. [Current WWE Superstar] Darren Young, I didn’t even know he was gay… I was surprised when he came out. [Editor’s note: Young came out in 2013.]

    If you’re a performer, you’re a performer… gay or straight, it doesn’t matter. It’s no different than being a singer. If you perform really well, the fans will love you. It’s entertainment, if you go out there and give your best, that’s all that matters.

    In the book you talk about the infamous “Montreal Screwjob” that took place in 1997. As one of Vince McMahon’s right-hand men, did you really not know it was going to happen?

    I really did not know. I was so mad when I found out. I grabbed my briefcase and I left the building. I went to the hotel, had a couple of drinks, and I didn’t know what to do—I thought I was going to quit the business. I then had another cocktail and said,“Wait a minute, it’s like I’m hiding.”

    I went back to the arena and I went right to Bret Hart. He and I get along so good and I helped him in his career. It was hard for him to believe I didn’t know [because of my friendship with Vince].

    For a couple of years, he didn’t speak to me. I would bump into him and say: “Bret, all these years, we were so close.” I wanted him to shake my hand and he finally did it.

    Speaking of Vince, he’s 70 and still running every aspect of WWE from television tapings to executive board meetings. Do you see him ever retiring?

    Never. [Laughs] There was a convention for workaholics in Chicago once and I said to Vince: “You should go there.” You know what happened? No-one showed up… they were all too busy working.

    Former WWE Champion and headline star Roman Reigns was recently suspended for violating WWE’s anti-drugs policy. Has he possibly hurt his career?

    No, I don’t think so. Everybody makes mistakes one time or another. We all do stupid things at one time or another. We have to be smart… when you’re young you don’t know anything. I think he’ll be alright.

    Dwayne Johnson once said you were one of his “greatest mentors” in WWE. Did you know from a young age he’d turn out to be a huge star?

    Not at all. I used to wrestle his father [Rocky Johnson], and his wife, Ata, was sitting at ringside with the baby—that was the Rock. He called me because he wanted to break into the business. He must have been 19, 20. I called Vince and said, “You want to see that kid.”

    After his first movie, he said, “Pat, you’re going to walk the red carpet with me at the premiere.” That made me feel good.