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Wrestling / Ken Patera

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Kenneth Wayne Patera (born November 6, 1942) is a retired American Professional Wrestler and Olympic weightlifter from Portland, Oregon who is best known for his work for WWE and the AWA in the 1970s and 1980s. He debuted in 1973 and would compete for a variety of territories. Among his in-ring achievements, he was a former WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion, a 2x AWA World Tag Team Champion and a 2x NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion. In 1980, The Wrestling Observer Newsletter named the Texas Death Match he had with Bob Backlund on May 19th "Match of the Year."

"Olympic Strongman Tropes":

  • All-American Face: As a member of the Olympians with Brad Rheingans.
  • Arch-Enemy: André the Giant, Bobby Heenan
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: To say the least. He was a four-time champion at the U.S. National Weightlifting Championships, came in third in the 1977 World's Strongest Man Competition, and won gold at the Pan-American Games in 1971.
  • Finishing Move: Swinging Full-Nelson Neckbreaker, Bear Hug
  • Heel: Pro Wrestling Illustrated named him "Most Hated Wrestler" in 1977 and 1981.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Shortly after Patera finished his two-year prison term, he was rehired by the WWF and agreed to become a babyface who had atoned for his ways and — most importantly — that Bobby Heenan had abandoned him and in fact all but became estranged from him while in prison. Following a series of vignettes which chronicled Patera's life — a mix of real-life (such as his Olympic and weightlifting career, and what led him to prison) and kayfabe (his storylines, including Heenan abandoning him) — that aired on national television, the storyline advanced to Heenan growing disgusted with fans embracing a "criminal" and demanded to confront him on television. Patera obliged, and after Heenan viciously insulted him, Patera had enough and beat Heenan to a pulp. Patera naturally began feuding with the Heenan Family and even got a few shots at his old Intercontinental Championship (by now, held by the Honky Tonk Man), but a legit injury ended his push, and he soon reverted to mid-card status.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: He had his first significant feud, against Johnny Valentine in Mid-Atlantic, as a face. He turned heel and was very successful in that role. He went face in 1987 WWE.
  • Hot-Blooded Sideburns: In his early days.
  • Jerk Jock: An excellent athlete who was an arrogant heel.
  • Leotard of Power
  • Lightning Bruiser
  • Power Stable:
  • Red Baron: "World's Strongest Man"
  • Small Name, Big Ego
  • Tag Team:
    • Both in the AWA: The Sheiks, with Jerry 'The Crusher' Blackwell; and later The Olympians, with Brad Rheingans.
    • WWF: Semi-regularly, with Big John Studd. Their most famous match was against André the Giant, where they beat Andre unconscious and then cut his hair.
  • Ur-Example: Paved the way for other Olympians (i.e. Mark Henry and Kurt Angle) to come into Pro-Wrestling.
  • Wearing A Flag As A Wrestling Attire
  • Wrestling Family: His daughter Heather, who also competes under the name Miss Natural, and is a 6x WLW Women's Champion under that name.