Ken Patera tells a crazy Andre story during a recent radio interview

I heard an entertaining whopper of an interview with former WWF Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera on a Minneapolis radio station recently.

Patera was very up front with the hosts about the long-term effect of his ring injuries (“I’m basically an invalid”), but he, like many others, told a dubious Andre the Giant drinking story.

According to Patera, at some point in the 1980s, he, Andre, Dick Murdoch, Dino Bravo, and Captain Lou Albano were in Las Vegas for a WWF show. Thinking about the names involved, I’d have to guess this alleged tale took place around 1984 or 1985, which were the only years I can think of that Murdoch was in the WWF.

Anyway, rather than get breakfast at Caesars Palace, Murdoch challenged Andre to a beer drinking contest that went eight hours, until 5 p.m. Patera said. You can hear the full radio interview on the KFAN FM 100.3 website by clicking here.

Here’s the tall tale part: Patera said Andre drank 116 beers, Patera drank 46 beers, and then both he and Andre went on to wrestle at the Thomas & Mack Center still drunk later that night, with both phoning in the match. “I think we touched each other three or four times. That’s it,” Patera said.

For the record, there is no mention of Patera meeting Andre in Las Vegas for the WWF in the 1980s on the great The History of WWE website, on which you can search for WWF arena results by years. No doubt Andre and Patera met many times – in the interview, Patera estimates they were in the ring together about 600 times.

Whatever, it was an amusing drinking story by Patera.

Of more interest was the former Olympian and strongman can’t even hit the gym anymore because of wrestling-related injuries.

“I haven’t even been in a gym for five, six years. I just gave it up,” Patera said. “Even the little dinky weights were just too much.”

Patera also continues to maintain that he had no part in throwing a boulder through the window of a McDonald’s in Wisconsin in 1984 because they wouldn’t serve him food after midnight. Patera said an 18-year-old kid was also pissed about the restaurant being closed threw the rock.

Regardless, when police tracked Patera down to his nearby hotel room with Mr. Saito, the two wrestlers ended up in a big-time brawl with 18 officers, which resulted in some serious injuries to the police. Both performers eventually served jail time for the hotel incident.

One of my favorite Patera angles from the ‘80s was his debate with Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, which occurred after Patera got out of prison. The debate is worth its own post someday.


  1. Evan J Rodgers

    It is terrible how badly alot of restaurant/fast food employees are often treated by customers.Food service is hard work and high pressure and often times the employees are over-worked and under paid, not to mention underappreciated.You would like to think that men of such hard work ethic and commitment to wrestling like Patera and Saito would have more respect for hard working citizens.I would like to believe that Patera and Saito did not do this to McDonalds, but who knows? He allready lied in the Andre incident story, so he may have lied about the mystery 18 year old boulder thrower. Nonetheless, Ken Patera was a great wrestler and great weightlifter. He was also great on the mike. He entertained millions and he was always one of my favorites. His contributions to pro wrestling should be honored.

  2. Joe Lowry

    Not for nothing, but excessive binge beer drinking, extensive steroid use as well as wrestling every night for over 15 years, combine that with some run ins with the law which led to prison time, I am sure my body would be telling me the same thing. Nice tall tale of Andre’s beer drinking, but as we all know Andre’s beer drinking has been documented all over the web and his usual sitting was about 100 beers…but anything over 100 for Andre was par for the course…

    • J. Cee

      Absolutely Andre self-medicated, but Ken Patera went from a formidable wrestler throughout the 70s to a jailbird in ’84. I remember reading about the incident in the newspaper and no mention was made of an 18-year old being strong enough to pass a boulder through a Mickey D’s glass door. Patera and Saito were the party responsible because they were ticked-off that the place just closed when he could see employees inside cleaning the dining room while doing the close. I worked in one of those places in ’81 and some customers act like jerks when they can’t understand the concept of store hours or at least time their partying accordingly. A whopper of an interview but a Big Mac of a lie.

      • thunder239

        Since you weren’t there how would you know it was a lie? And restaurant employees are just as big a jerk as any customer. I’m guessing you were one of them. A whopper of a story you told but a Big Mac of a lie.

      • Dano

        Calling a man a liar is not a good thing to do. Calling Ken Patera a liar is downright suicidal. Give your cakehole a rest and learn some respect.

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