Ken Patera had an impressive career as an olympic weightlifter, powerlifter, strongman and wrestler for many years before I ever heard of him. I was introduced to him in 1987 when the WWF began hyping his return to wrestling after serving an actual prison sentence. In the old days he was a bad guy or “heel” as they’re known in the wrestling world. Upon his return he felt slighted by his former manager Bobby “the Brain” Heenan and so turned against him and his gang of thugs known as the Heenan family. Patera was now a good guy or a “face”. I remember watching wrestling as a kid wondering who this big brute was. He quickly won me over by strangling Heenan with a belt and swinging him around the ring. I don’t remember much about him after that as his hype was short lived. Injuries resulted in him leaving the WWF in 1988. For a short while before leaving he had teamed up with another rather forgettable wrestle Billy Jack Haynes. The Patera-Haynes tag team may not have made waves in real life but in the wrestling federation that took place on my bedroom floor, well that was a different story entirely.
I’m not sure why we decided this, Patera and Haynes were far from out favorite wrestlers, but for some reason Doug and I gifted them with super-human strength. It may have had to do with the sheer size of the Patera figure; it was an absolute beast. I had fatter wrestler toys and taller wrestler toys but I think Patera was the biggest. He was just so thick and heavy with enormous arms. He looked like he could kick the ass of all my other wrestling toys put together: So he did. I had Patera and Doug had Haynes. I must’ve gotten the Patera figure after that team-up was already established on TV because I don’t ever remember a time playing with Patera as a solo act. We made the Pater-Haynes team an unstoppable force of nature. Able to lift the entire wrestling ring up if they felt like it to crush over some unsuspecting foes head. Not to say that they never lost, bad guys have a way of finding a face’s weakness. A well placed foreign object always did the trick. Patera was strong but not invincible. As a kid I looked up to wrestlers and some of them are genuine heroes of mine. Ken Patera is not one of those guys. I barely remember his matches and his short stint in the WWF had little impact on me. I did however have a ton of fun playing with him so for that Mr. Patera I’m glad you never died of a drug overdose. 7 out of 10.