In 1979 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Pat Patterson became the first Intercontinental Champion in WWE (then WWF) history by unifying the WWF North American Championship and a South American Championship. He is credited with the creation of the Royal Rumble, where the first-ever was held in 1988, a match that has since become the WWE’s second-biggest annual event to WrestleMania. And Patterson is also credited as the “first openly gay superstar,” according to the WWE.
Patterson passed away at 79 years old this morning, the cause of which not yet revealed by the WWE.
The wrestling world collectively mourned the loss.
Patterson is known as a pioneer in the wrestling industry who is largely responsible for the WWE-style storytelling we’ve seen across multiple decades. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.