Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement… Another Wednesday is here, so let’s put another pro wrestler through the grinder to see if it’s a Yay Or Nay for them to be in the Hall of Fame…
Now the past few weeks I’ve been taking a look at former WWE Champions, and the next in line is the Undertaker, however since he’s still technically active and with the promotion, so instead of the Phenom who is a slam dunk for the Hall of Fame anyway, might as well look at an Olympian…
And of course I’m referring to Ken Patera, who qualified for the 1972 Munic Olympics, was a Gold Medalist at the 1971 Pan American Games and placed first at four consecutive US National Weightlifting Championships. Patera is as legit as they came back in the day.
His career in pro wrestling started in 1972, breaking in with the AWA where he would stay through the summer of 1974, getting several shots for their Tag Team titles before moving on to Mid-Atlantic Championship wrestling, where he stock skyrocketed with a feud with Johnny Valentine and wrestling as a babyface. Like his time with the AWA, Patera would get shots at championships, but wouldn’t win anything before moving onto the NWA Tri-State (aka Mid-South Wrestling) in 1976 and appearing in Philadelphia for the then World Wide Wrestling Federation in a couple of quick appearances
Following a brief return to Mid-Atlantic, Patera would start a full-time run with the WWWF as a heel in 1977, and was pushed as a main event quality star, getting shots at the WWWF Title held by Bruno Sammartino and Superstar Billy Graham. Patera saw action against every from Chief Jay Strongbow, Peter Maivia, Ivan Putski, Bob Backlund and many other wrestling legends. During his time with in New York, he would go on a long tour with All Japan Pro-Wrestling,
He would return to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling where he captured the territory’s Heavyweight Championship from Wahoo McDaniel, working shows for Maple Leaf Wrestling up in Toronto. However the best would come in April of 1980, Patera would defeat Pat Patterson for the WWF Intercontinental Championship title and defeat Kevin Von Erich for the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship. This is without question the high-point of Patera’s career.. After losing both titles, Patera would head off to New Japan for the early portion of 1981 before heading back to the Mid-Atlantic and then the AWA
It is during this return to the Minnesota-based territory where Patera would be apart of the Heenan Family, a stable of ‘elite’ wrestling talent managed by Bobby The Brain Heenan, an association that would last from 1982 to 1984, a period of time that saw him win the Tag Team titles with Jerry Blackwell before heading back to the WWF, where he was apart of the famous ‘Cutting of Andre The Giant’s hair’ angle.
Unfortunately… during his time with the AWA, Patera and Masa Saito had a strong craving with McDonalds, where they were denied service which saw Patera throw a walk through the window… and then assaulting a pair of police officers who came to arrest them… and to show how slow the justice system works, it would take 16 months before Patera was sentenced to serve two years in prison, with the sentence starting in 1985 when he was in the WWF and in a high-profile level.
Two years later, Patera would be brought back to the WWF, as a babyface. His arrest and prison sint was worked into an angle of him saying Bobby Heenan ‘sold him down the river’ and saw him feuding with his former manager and his stable. However a bicep-injury would derail him and saw Patera drop down the card, putting over younger talent while a reoccurring theme of the commentators saying Patera would retire.
After leaving the WWF in 1988, he would return to the AWA in 1989, he would win the AWA Tag Team Titles, but an injury would force the titles to become vacant… and this was the last high profile match Patera would have. He would hang around working some independents until 1991 when he formally retire. He would have a few matches in the late 90s, and have one last match in 2011 with Bob Backlund in of all place ‘Juggalo Championship Wrestling’.
Even in this summarized form, you can tell that Patera had a long career, a proven draw in some of wrestling largest promotions in the 70s and 80s, though he was never a World Champion, he was used as a top contender for the AWA and WWE top prizes and in top-level programs.
To say that Patera is yet another case of the ‘why isn’t he already in’ question, and this doesn’t just apply to the WWE, but also the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame. Considering that at the time of this post is 72 years of age, so him getting inducted into at least the WWE Hall of Fame should happen sooner than later, hopefully this upcoming year.
But what do you, the wrestling fan who came across this video / blog post think? Should Patera go into the WWE Hall of Fame? Leave your thoughts and opinions below!
Until next time, have a good one everybody!