Royal Rumble creator, Pat Patterson, dies at 79

World Wrestling Entertainment legend and creator of the Royal Rumble, Pat Patterson, has died at age 79; the organization confirms.

“WWE extends its condolences to Patterson’s family and friends,” the company said on Wednesday in a statement; TMZ reports.

Patterson who considered himself as wrestling’s ‘first gay superstar’ was a key part of WWE for decades and he was widely known as Vince McMahon’s right-hand man.

He began wrestling career in the 1950s before he finally joined WWE in the late ’70s, where he famously engaged in a series of awesome matches with Sgt. Slaughter.

Patterson became the company’s first Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion in 1979.

He later became a colour commentator for WWE and continued to work in the ring and the booth until he retired in 1984.

At that point, Patterson joined McMahon as a WWE executive and in 1988, he pitched the idea for the Royal Rumble.

In his book, “Accepted: How the First Gay Superstar Changed WWE,” Patterson explained how the Rumble came to be.

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He wrote, “The first Royal Rumble was on January 24, 1988, in Hamilton, Ontario. The difference between WWE’s Royal Rumble and a traditional ‘over-the-top-rope battle’ royal is that the participants come into the match at two-minute intervals and not all at the same time at the beginning of the match. I wanted to create something special.”

Patterson famously came out as gay during a 2014 episode of “WWE Legends House” opening up in front of guys like Roddy Piper and Jimmy Hart. It was a powerful moment.

The late wrestling legend was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.

However, tributes are already pouring in from stakeholders in the sector.

Triple H wrote, “No words can describe what he gave to us. His body as an in-ring performer, his mind as a storyteller, and his spirit as a beloved member of our large WWE family. I will miss him for so many reasons. It’s never goodbye, it’s see ya down the road. Love you, Pat. Abooze.”

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Shane McMahon said, “I can not express how crushed I feel right now with the loss of Pat Patterson. A true member of my family, mentor and dear friend. I love you PA trueGod speed.”

Also, Jim Ross said, “Just heard of the passing this morning of the great, Pat Patterson. True legend of the pro wrestling business. A wonderful mentor who taught me so much. RIP old friend.”

While Stephanie McMahon wrote, “I’m deeply grateful to have grown up with WWE Hall of Famer, the first-ever Intercontinental Champion, the father of the #RoyalRumble and the first openly gay wrestler of his generation. Thank you for teaching me how to not take it all so seriously. Abooze.”

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