To many wrestlers, the single greatest tag team of all team was Pat
Patterson and Ray Stevens during their 1960s heyday in San Francisco under
promoter Roy Shire. They each brought their specialties to the Blond
Bombers. "They got heat. They got natural heat. They could work with
anybody," said Red Bastien. "They could take the lowest guy on the totem
pole and they'd have a great match with him. It was really an art, two guys
According to Patterson, they were great because Stevens always wanted to
have a good time. "We had fun, it didn't matter, we had fun. We had fun
going to the town, we had fun being in the ring, we had fun in the dressing
room, we had fun coming back from the show. It was great," said Patterson.
"Ray [was] always fun, always happy, nothing bothered him. ... In the ring,
he was a master, no question about it. I learned a lot from him."
"Pretty Boy" Patterson was in Oregon as a singles wrestler, and because of
the natural tie-in with the San Francisco promotion, the wrestlers were
familiar with Stevens. Again and again, Patterson was told that he was
similar to Stevens and would be a great partner for him. Patterson wrote a
pitch to Shire. "Of course, I mentioned that all the guys suggested I would
be a good partner for Ray Stevens," Patterson said. "When the time came, he
called me, 'I can get you started on a certain date.' ... I said, 'A lot of
guys suggest that I could be a good partner for Ray Stevens.' He said, 'The
boys don't make the decisions here, I make the decisions.' Roy Shire was
very hard to work for."
In 1965, Patterson arrived in San Francisco, and three months later Shire
told Patterson to dye his hair and become a Blond Bomber.
Patterson and Stevens would have two reigns as NWA World tag champ out of
San Francisco, and one run in the AWA with the World titles. "Work-wise, we
basically had the same style," said Patterson. "In the day, guys didn't take
as many bumps as they do today. We were known for taking big bumps."
According to Bill Watts, Patterson is being modest. "Pat could do bumps, and
Ray was off the charts," The Cowboy said.
Patterson, born Pierre Clermont in Montreal in 1941, would use his new
knowledge to become one of the most respected minds in the business, helping
to book in San Francisco and Florida, and, after his in-ring retirement in
1984, the go-to guy backstage for the WWF for match finishes and advice.
Once he felt their run in San Francisco was done, Shire sent Patterson to
Amarillo and turned Stevens babyface. Upon Patterson's return six months
later, the two former partners would feud for close to two years. In 1978,
the chance came to be on the same side of the ring again. Patterson had
finished a run in Florida and was in limbo. Stevens suggested he join him in
Their run ended when Patterson got the chance to go to New York. He was
billed as the promotion's first Intercontinental champion and had a storied
run against Sgt. Slaughter. A heftier Stevens would venture to the Carolinas
again, and school rising stars like Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat further.
He too would end up in the WWF, feuding with Superfly Snuka, and would work
occasionally until 1991.
Patterson continued working for the WWF/WWE up until October 2004, retiring
to his Florida home.
- Steven Johnson and Greg Oliver