Pierre Clermont, better known by the ring name Pat Patterson (January 19, 1942-December 2, 2020) was a Canadian-American wrestler until right before the beginning of the 1980s explosion of WWE. It is his behind-the-scenes work during the modern era that has driven some of the concepts that are well-known today.
As a wrestler, Patterson was originally known for his Camp Gay gimmick in the NWA's San Francisco territory. This is Truth in Television: He really is gay, though in person he's more Straight Gay. He held the Tag Team titles there ten times with various partners, and San Francisco's U.S. title six times.
He joined the World Wrestling Federation in 1979, and quickly won the North American Championship from Ted DiBiase. It was then turned into the Intercontinental Championship, and he held it for about a year. He would retire from active duty in 1984, and become a referee.
Not long after retiring, Patterson went behind the scenes, and quickly became Vince McMahon's "right-hand man". He is best known as the progenitor of the Royal Rumble match, and often booked it personally early on. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.
He returned on-screen at the beginning of the Attitude Era as one of Mr. McMahon's mooks, alongside Gerald Brisco. At one point he won the WWF Hardcore Championship (at age 59), and once defended it in an evening gown match.
Unfortunately, he left WWE in official capacities in 2004 under accusations he had sexually harassed some of the men in the company. One of his alleged victims was Roddy Piper, who once accused Patterson of groping him in a shoot interview(which he later recanted). His reputation has been repaired since then, and he serves a consulting role with the company to this day. He currently appears on the WWE Network's reality show, WWE Legends House.
He passed away from cancer on December 2, 2020. He was 79 years old.
Some tropes involving the wrestler:
- Camp Gay: His early character. In his earliest gimmicks, he'd wear lipstick and pink trunks.
- HeelFace Revolving Door: In the mid-1980s, Patterson was primarily a neutral to face-leaning backstage official in the United States and most of Canada ... except in Montreal, when he was a full-fledged heel. Patterson hosted a Talk Show with Fists segment called "Le brunch de Pat," aired only in the WWF's French-Canadian markets, where he asked questions in English and translated their answers in French to mock and insult the faces and praise the heels. In 1987, Patterson teamed with the heel New Dream Team (Dino Bravo and Greg "the Hammer" Valentine) against face tag teams — almost always, these were six-man teams featuring ex-Dream Team member Brutus Beefcake (who had newly turned face) and the Rougeau Brothers (Jacques and Raymond). Until the advent of video sharing services, none of Patterson's mid-to-late 1980s heelish personality traits were shown or referred to in the United States.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: With the decimation of Kayfabe, this is how he tends to come off when people hear about his time as an official in WWF.
- Mooks: This is how most Attitude Era fans remember him.
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Occasionally served this capacity with Gerald Brisco, under the command of Mr. McMahon.
- Only Sane Man: It's said that Patterson is largely responsible for keeping Vince grounded and being able to talk him out of some of his more outlandish ideas (see The Smart Guy for the prime example). Since leaving his inner circle, the difference is very noticable.
- Open Secret: Prior to his officially coming out, everyone knew Patterson was gay. However, other than the occasional veiled reference, it was just one of those things that nobody talked about.
- Straight Gay: Him in real life. Smarks know he's gay, but his later Mook character had no stereotypical or camp tendencies, and they dance around the issue in Legends House.
- The Smart Guy: Backstage during the '80s, Pat would be the voice of reason to Vince's crazy booking ideas. Probably the greatest example came in 1990 when Vince wanted new acquisition Mark Calaway to debut from inside The Gobbledy Gooker's egg as "The Eggman", but Patterson instead persuaded him to let Calaway use the gimmick he'd come up with for him instead- The Undertaker!
- Yes-Man: Subverted. He's one of the few people that was willing to say no to Vince and be straight with him.