Clark started performing in 2014, at Maryland Championship Wrestling, becoming the first graduate of their wrestling academy alongside Ring of Honor Top Prospect Lio Rush, with whom he won the MCW Tag Team Championship. He also made appearances for, among other indie promotions, CZW, before appearing at season 6 of WWE Tough Enough in June 2015, being eliminated in the fifth episode due to a lack of humility. Four months later, he signed a developmental contract and was assigned to the NXT brand, debuting on television on July 20, 2016. March 1, 2017 was the last time "Patrick Clark" was to be seen.
On May 24, 2017, he debuted a new, flamboyant, Prince-based persona called "The Velveteen Dream". With this persona he became the NXT North American Champion in 2019 and had notable feuds with Aleister Black, Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano and Ricochet.
- Agent Peacock: The flamboyant and at times borderline androgynous mannerisms do little if anything to hide the fact that he's a well-put-together athlete that can kick your ass.
- Ambiguously Gay: Lots of Prince references abound as per his wardrobe and mannerisms (and the name of his finisher), but he's also been seen blowing kisses and licking his lips seductively in the direction of his opponents.Dream: (on losing his title due to outside interference) "The Dream has never complained about being able to take on more than one man at a time."
- Anti-Hero: Underwent a sort-of HeelFace Turn in late 2018? One of those cases of a guy getting so over that he didn't necessarily have to change his character (he's still full of himself) to be more noble. It didn't hurt that the man on the other end of the feud in question was Tommaso Ciampa, one of the most hated men in WWE and perhaps all of North American wrestling at the time.
- Batman Gambit: Pulled an epic one on The Undisputed Era in 2020 after his return from injury, goading Roderick Strong for several weeks with close-to-the-bone promos and character beats (e.g. revealing tights with the face of Strong's wife strategically placed directly over his crotch a la Rick Rude). Strong's known to have some hothead tendencies within the group and is very protective of his family, face or heel. This pissed Strong off enough to eventually get him to agree to a steel cage match. Once in the match, when the rest of the Era predictably stuck their noses into matters, Dream literally threw the match * and then locked himself inside the cage with Adam Cole and proceeded to beat the tar out of him, revealing that Cole and an NXT Championship match were the end goal the entire time.
- Break the Haughty: He was eliminated in Season 6 of Tough Enough after placing in at the top three weeks in a row for his perceived failure to learn the value of humility.note
- Bullying a Dragon: Seems to have a bad habit of this. One of his first appearances in the 'Velveteen Dream' gimmick (although he was still known as Patrick Clark) was interrupting a very irritated Shinsuke Nakamura. Predictably, Nakamura used his face as a Kinshasa practice dummy. Later, he singles out Aleister Black, who by that time had already firmly established himself as a guy not to be messed with.
- Expy: Very early stages of Goldust. Does he actually swing that way, or is he just messing with opponents' heads? No one quite knows yet, but unlike Goldust who created this effect on purpose for years, The Dream seems to be doing so merely as a side effect of the fact that
- The Fighting Narcissist: He's reeeeaaaaallly full of himself.
- Finishing Move: A extremely impressive and high elbow drop from the top rope that he calls the Purple Rainmaker.
- Hoax Hogan: Dream had some attires that resembled Hulk Hogan, usually having the colors of the Hulkamania Era (yellow and red), as well some mannerisms as ripping his t-shirt and even using the Leg Drop as finisher sometimes. This was even subject of a fan-made custom titantron for him.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Implied. Dream's feuds with Aleister Black and Ricochet seem driven at their core by a desperate need to be acknowledged as equal to (well, better than) established independent wrestlers despite having far less experience.
- Jaw Drop: This was his reaction to Ricochet jumping out of the ring and landing a perfect front flip right in front of him, essentially refuting Dream's own claims that he could do better anything Ricochet could do.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Dream is an arrogant asshole even as a face, but on occasion makes an effort to do a nice thing or two, such as reciprocating Matt Riddle's offered bro-fist after defeating him to retain the North American Championship.
- Lean and Mean: A flamboyant heel with a brutal streak, one of the things that makes the Velveteen Dream stand out is his unusual build. He's athletically built with lean muscle as opposed to sheer bulk, but he's also extremely tall and long-limbed.
- Mythology Gag: His first NXT match was with Lio Rush. The two were a tag team fresh out of training when both were still in their late teens.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: An interview with Aleister Black reveals that his given name in this new persona is still Patrick (which makes sense as he appeared at one point with this gimmick before his ring name was changed.) This is perhaps an indication that 'The Velveteen Dream' is a manufactured alter-ego in-universe as well.
- Purple Is Powerful: He wears purple quite a lot, the lighting and steam effect of his entrance is purple, and his finishing move is called the Purple Rainmaker.
- The Runner-Up Takes It All: Eliminated in Season 6 of Tough Enough, still got a developmental contract, and eventually won the NXT North American Championship. Contrast it with the winners of the competition; Josh Bredl, who never got a match on NXT, let alone a TV appearance, before being released in 2017, and Sara Lee, whose appearances on NXT are limited to one tag team match during a live event before being released in 2016.
- Say My Name: The entire basis of his feud with Black. He eventually gets what he wants although he has to get a serious ass kicking on the way.
- Selective Obliviousness: After Ricochet brings up the fact the Velveteen Dream has competed on Tough Enough and got eliminated in one of the earlier episodes, he brushes this off by claiming he doesn't remember it happening.The Dream: The Dream has no memory of that.
- Signature Move: A rolling Death Valley Driver he calls "the Dream Valley Driver".
- Wore a pair of Rick Rude-inspired pants with his and Black's face on either side during TakeOver: WarGames, and has worn similar pants on every PPV since then. Even the commentators keep calling it "Rick Rude Pants". Also wore ring gear for his match during TakeOver: Chicago that was an obvious one to Hulk Hogan prince puma.
- Also, his ambiguous mannerisms and affinity for the color purple are one to Prince. His finisher is even called the Purple Rainmaker, which is in fact a double pun referencing both Prince and "The Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada.
- NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2 had him come out in Hollywood Hulk Hogan attire, and used the Figure-Four Leglock on his opponent.
- Third-Person Person: Refers to himself exclusively as 'The Dream'.
- Villainous Breakdown: At NXT TakeOver: Chicago II, after failing to put away Ricochet, he screams at him that he's a home-grown talent while Ricochet should be wrestling in Bingo Halls "for a hotdog and a handshake." Much like the rest of his fare in his feuds with Ricochet and Aleister Black, this deliberately ignores Patrick's own independent experience before becoming The Dream.