In a post on Instagram, The Rock wrote “I’ll see you down the road” and talked about how instrumental Patterson was to getting him a job in WWE:
“A (WWE) hall of famer, TRUE trailblazer and one of the most brilliantly creative wrestling minds the industry has ever known. He was also responsible for calling Vince McMahon when I was training to become a pro wrestler (my $7 bucks days) and said, ‘Vince you gotta see this kid work in the ring’.
“Vince flew me to RAW a few weeks later and I had my first match EVER in Corpus Christie, Texas.
“The rest is history and years later, here I am writing this post.”
In 2016, Newsweek ran an excerpt from Patterson’s autobiography about the first time The Rock contacted him about wanting to get into the wrestling business:
“He had an in at the FBI but wanted to try wrestling first. When I saw him in action, I called Vince [McMahon, WWE chairman] and told him he wanted to see this kid, not tomorrow but yesterday. They brought him to the office and he had a meeting with Vince and he was hired. His career was out of my hands from that point forward. I didn’t exactly give him a job, but part of what I did was let the office know who I thought we should look at. And in Dwayne, I really saw something special.”
Patterson spent 41 years working for WWE from 1979-2020, first as an in-ring performer before transitioning to a backstage role. He’s best known for being the first intercontinental champion in WWE history and his role with McMahon and Gerald Brisco during the attitude era as part of the rivalry with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
WWE inducted Patterson into its Hall of Fame in 1996.