Long before Xavier Woods had an UpUpDownDown channel on YouTube, Patrick Scott Patterson was bridging the gap between video game culture and professional wrestling.
A self-described video game advocate, he also wound up in the confines of the squared circle, where he once ranked as high as #409 in the PWI Top 500 in 2004 under the in-ring name of Scott Phoenix. Some people will scoff at that ranking, but Ion the other hand will respect the fact he's taken a thousand more bumps than I have in any ring other than the virtual ones of 2K Sports.
Tonight (Thursday), Scott will return to the wrestling world he once inhabited as a competitor for the NWA Parade of Champions in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday night. He won't be wrestling though -- Scott will be calling some of the action from ringside as a guest commentator. Before we get to that I wanted Scott to tell people a little bit about his history in the gaming world. Incidentally he prefers to go by Scott in conversation, but is credited as Patrick Scott Patterson for all media appearances.
So how did you first become a video game advocate?
Long story short, video gaming was my first love as a young child. Over time I wanted to know everything there was about it -- not just playing all the games from going all the way back then to every generation successively -- but I wanted to know about who made these games, how'd they come about, how'd the industry come about, how did all of these evolve. Over time that passion ended up becoming a profession, and these days I produce online content where we talk about the past, present and future of gaming (and) I speak at live events and appear in documentary films about the subject.
It feels like there's an educational shortfall when it comes to preserving the history and informing today's generation of gamers about where it all came from. There's not a hundred plus years of history like there is for the squared circle, but sadly in 50 years much has been lost, forgotten, or just flat out inaccurately reported.
This is true in all forms of entertainment. This is true in film, this is true in books and television and everything else. I think it's important to know where you came from and how you got to this point, so you can fully understand and appreciate it -- and love it for the art form that it is.
How did you fall in love with wrestling?
I was born and raised in the Dallas area. The younger generation of wrestling fans don't even know it at this point, but at one point in time the city of Dallas was the hottest up-and-coming talent factory that there was. We had not just the Von Erichs and the Freebirds -- as well as like the Jerry Lawler vs. Andy Kaufman feud as the first instances of 'sports entertainment' as well as Gorgeous George going way back.
It's a good coincidence that the Fabulous Freebirds are going into the WWE Hall of Fame this weekend,.
The Freebirds were so influential in what McMahon went on to do by the way. The Freebirds introduced the Rock'n'Wrestling thing even before Vince McMahon did. So they were based down here - but so many talents started in the Dallas area that went on to become bigger and bigger stars: 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Booker T, JBL, I could go on and on. A lot of guys didn't get their start here but came down here and got their first break - people like Sean Waltman, Mick Foley, Ultimate Warrior and Rick Rude. At one point in time almost every major talent you would see either started here or came through here on their way to the top.
What made you to want to step into the squared circle?
I just had a passion for it - it was something I grew up (with). I was in middle school and high school and I didn't have a lot of friends. I was bullied, I was beat up a lot, made fun of a lot. I was a real skinny lanky uncoordinated kid. Professional wrestling was my escape during those times. I could live vicariously watching them onTV and imagine that I was going out there with some entrance music and the crowd going crazy and I was throwing these people around that were giving me a hard time at school -- I was throwing them around the ring and putting the beatdown on them.
And what happened when you decided to pursue that passion?
Spur of the moment I called a local wrestling school and they were having tryouts that weekend. Common sense would have been like 'Okay -- maybe I can spend the next three months, go get in a gym, get in a little better shape, and give it a go.' No - I decided 'Alright I'll see ya this weekend.' There were four of us in the tryout and somehow I got in. I think it was the fact I was so out of place, and despite everything I was put through I wasn't going to quit. That promoter at the time was like 'Well this guy is willing to spend thousands of dollars so I'll take his money for as long as he's gonna stick around.
Who were your trainers at that school that broke you in?
That was headed up by a guy named Kit Carson - one half of a tag team down here called Team Extreme. Occasionally he'd bring in some of his other friends. He'd bring in his partner Khris Germany, sometimes he'd bring in the original Awesome Kong - obviously not Kia Stevens - one half of the Colossal Kongs. Once I was through that school the promoter really wasn't - since he wasn't getting any more money he wasn't eager to keep me at it. I went and I found another school that was close to where I lived. There I was training with Awesome Kong - Dwayne McCullough was his real name. They were briefly in WCW. You're never supposed to quit learning in the business - so other people along the way would teach me things. I can't just point at one person.
What frustrated you about working on the indies?
Towards the end of my time in the ring there was a discussion among several indie promoters in the state of Texas about having a Texas Heavyweight Champion who could go outside the state to (represent). Everyone agreed it was a good idea but no one could agree on who held the belt. Self-serving egos got in the way.
So for a large part of the 1990s a lot of people forgot that NWA even existed. How did we get from there to the revival and the Tournament of Champions?
I think one of the things that helps the modern version of it is that it's not trying to be what it was. It's trying to appeal to those fans who aren't interested in backstage vignettes and stock prices. They want to see some hot action in the ring. They want to see a good show. I think catering to that is what's brought some stability to NWA (today).
What brought you back after retirement?
I always kind of kept one foot in (wrestling). David Fuller stuck around and stuck around and stuck around. We all said 'He's going to be the guy that inherits the whole territory' and that's what happened. We reconnected on social media a few years ago and talked about some things, it was late 2014. I hadn't been to any event for a long time. He was doing an anti-bullying rally and I thought that would be a nice thing to speak in so I agreed to do that. Then he's came up like 'Yeah you want to do some commentary?' I did some color commentary for a match or two. He worked me - turns out he already had me penned in.
What will you be doing at the NWA Parade of Champions in Fort Worth tonight?
I'll do color commentary for Rob Moore's play-by-play. Yeah - let's do that - I'm excited to be here! I'm kind of a smart aleck by nature anyway so I always like color commentary in any type of competitive or entertaining thing. It needs to be entertaining but still have some insight. I'm not going to go up there and be playing a gimmick. It's 2016, plus I'm not a wrestler any more. I'm up there as me. But occasionally I'll fire off a quick one liner that's fun or entertaining. But I used to be in the ring - so I can speak to the pressure of being up there in front of a crowd - or if I see a move I never liked being performed on me I can say that as well. 'Chops? Boy I don't miss those at all!' I think having a little direct insight with that experience, you can tow that line, what it's like in the ring.
Final thoughts on calling the card on Thursday?
Whether it's eSport video game competition or it's professional wrestling, I think a color commentator needs to help paint the picture. The play-by-play is telling you what's going on and the color guys needs to be telling you why it matters and why you should care.