Pat Patterson | ‘Hard to Emulate’ Ring Psychology and Teaching the Greats

Pat Patterson has been credited for being one of the most influential wrestlers of many of the top talents over the years. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Randy Orton, and Kurt Angle have all put Patterson over as a mentor in and outside of the ring. Some of our favorite stories are ones that show respect between one wrestler and another. This piece is no exception!

The reviled team of Billy Graham and Pat Patterson [Photo Copyright - Viktor Berry]
The reviled team of Billy Graham and Pat Patterson [Photo Copyright – Viktor Berry]

“Pat Patterson was impossible to duplicate.”

In an interview featured on the now-defunct website, An Illustrated History of Professional Wrestling in Northern California, “Superstar” Billy Graham talks of his days teaming with Pat Patterson in the early 70s and what he learned about ring psychology through being his partner.

“As Pat’s partner, I studied his every move and tried to emulate him. But, the best I could do was to make an attempt at imitating his wrestling style. It was impossible to duplicate it, the man was light-years ahead of me, and I never became the worker that he was. In the ring, Patterson was a flawless heel — vicious and aggressive. Everything he did was believable and was done with perfect timing. Even to this day, I still think he throws the best-mounted punch in the business. Pat would build the heat to a fever pitch. Then, when the babyface started his comeback, this ‘vicious’ heel would cower and start begging off, feeding the babyface with precision — thus avoiding the impending riot.”

“Without a doubt, Patterson took the best headshot to the ring post that I’ve ever seen. Everyone, including me, was convinced that he’d just torn his head off, as there was no question that his forehead had made contact with that post — again, with perfect timing. In 1971, a headshot to the steel ring post meant only one thing — you had to be hurt, you had to be cut — it’s only logical. When flesh meets steel, that equals blood.

“And when Patterson got color, it always came from the right side of his forehead over his right eye. The blood flowing down just one side of his face was very impressive to me, it seemed to give the injury a more credible look. And that’s what the San Francisco territory was built on, logic and credibility. No helter-skelter, impromptu, last-minute finishes or decisions. Every angle, every finish, in every town, was thoroughly thought out and plotted by a brilliant promoter.”

“In the ring, Patterson was a flawless heel — vicious and aggressive. Everything he did was believable and was done with perfect timing.” – “Superstar” Billy Graham

Billy Graham and Pat Patterson [Photo Copyright - Viktor Berry]
Billy Graham and Pat Patterson [Photo Copyright – Viktor Berry]

The reviled team of Billy Graham and Pat Patterson would go on to win the NWA World Tag Team titles (San Francisco version) in January of ’71 while engaging in a heated feud with Patterson’s former teammate Ray Stevens and High Chief Peter Maivia.

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The quote above is shared here with thanks to our friends over at Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page.

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