In the wrestling arena, referees are uniquely responsible for ensuring matches progress fairly while also bearing witness to monumental moments in the sport's history. Among the ranks of these referees, Nick Patrick stands as one of the most experienced and recognized figures.
Having officiated matches for the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) from its inception in 1988 until its curtain call in 2001 and subsequently lending his expertise to the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) until 2008, Patrick has undoubtedly been a part of some iconic showdowns.
Recently, on the "Monday Mailbag" podcast, Patrick was asked to identify the most significant match he was honoured to officiate within WCW and WWE.
Nick Patrick's Pinnacle: Starrcade 1997 Showdown
From his WCW tenure, Patrick instantly pointed to the monumental bout between Hulk Hogan and Sting at Starrcade 1997.
Despite being shrouded in controversy - some of which involved Patrick himself - this match is the main event of WCW's most lucrative pay-per-view ever. Beyond its commercial success, the Hogan vs. Sting showdown was the crescendo of an intricate near-two-year WCW vs.
NWO narrative, cementing its importance. "In the annals of WCW, the clash between Hogan and Sting was unparalleled," expressed Patrick. Patrick shifted his focus to WWE and highlighted a fierce duel between JBL and The Undertaker.
Although he refrained from specifying which of their encounters he was referring to, discerning fans might remember the unforgettable face-off at SummerSlam 2004. During this event, Patrick played a pivotal role as the assigned referee from the "WWE SmackDown" brand.
The intense and electric match culminated with The Undertaker controversially using a title belt against JBL, only to later chokeslam him through a limo's roof. That said, later in the same year, the two titans locked horns again in a savage Last Ride Match at No Mercy, also officiated by Patrick.
Given the central event stature of the No Mercy bout, it's plausible Patrick was alluding to this confrontation when discussing his WWE pinnacle. In essence, Nick Patrick's vantage point has provided him a front-row seat to wrestling's historical moments, and his choices offer a glimpse into the significance of these events.