Planet Kayfabe: Thoughts on Patrick Clark

Planet Kayfabe: Thoughts on  Patrick Clark

By: Paul Matthews



Hello everyone, Happy New Year, and thanks again for reading Planet Kayfabe. The former Velveteen Dream, Patrick Clark, has been making news again with his recent apology video and his new interview with Chris Van Vliet.  I listened to all of Patrick Clark on Chris Van Vliet’s show today and these are my immediate thoughts. CVV is a great interview. He’s fair, he plays the game a little but isn’t afraid to ask tough questions. He isn’t so easy to let someone off the hook as some “fan reporters” are.  I’ll get into greater detail, but off the top, I should say that as much as we all love a comeback story, I just can’t buy this guy.  His “apology” is vague. Like a child who knows they did something wrong but don’t want to admit it so they just say “I’m sorry for making you upset” instead of fessing up to what they did wrong.

Like many of you, I was a fan of Clark on Tough Enough (which he should have won, but instead a tall guy who went on to do nothing ended up winning) and he would be one of NXT’s biggest stars as the Velveteen Dream who played a sexually ambiguous and flamboyant type character. He got over well enough and his work was decent enough for his age, but it all went away when these allegations of grooming, pedophilia, and general sexual misconduct started popping up.

Screenshots of conversations were presented of very creepy conversations and requests. Such as asking for shirtless pictures and what school the teen he was talking to went to.  An investigation was done internally within the company and they saw no reason to release Clark at the time.  I am aware that he wasn’t charged with a crime, but that doesn’t change my mind that what he did was wrong. The screenshots are what they are.  That doesn’t change anything. He claims they were doctored without presenting any proof that they were.  He claims he was in character which may have come off as overly sexual to teens when he didn’t intend to be. Sorry, but that doesn’t fly with me. If my kid was talking to a grown man and asking what school they went to and for shirtless pictures and his excuse was “I’m just playing a character” I wouldn’t just be like “oh okay, way to respect the business.”

He doesn’t seem to own up to anything. He just vaguely apologizes to Triple H and Shawn Michaels without owning up to any wrongdoing. He admits to being young and immature but never explicitly says what he did wrong and why he feels he has to apologize. Its like his feeling is “You know what I did, do I really have to say it? I’m sorry ok.” For everything he was accused of, he has some lame excuse in his back pocket to innocently brush it away. “Oh, I was just being The Dream. Oh, I was just trying to help that guy. Oh, he messaged me first, I was just being nice. Oh, I had to protect my gimmick.”  Okay…

His weakest defense is when he runs down a list of celebrity men who were accused of similar crimes and he claims his celebrity made him a target and that because he wasn’t as big of a celebrity as Kobe Bryant that means he isn’t guilty because he has less resources and less room to fall. No, it means that there was a lack of evidence and you potentially dodged a bullet.

In every message with someone under-aged pre-Dream character he says he was just trying to “help” aspiring wrestlers. When asked about the nude photos, he dances around the topic and gives off generic platitudes like “Well I gotta let go of that negative energy, it’s in the past”. He doesn’t even say the words “those pictures aren’t of me” he just says he doesn’t know where they came from. He would later carefully say “I never sent any nudes of myself”.  Yet, somehow they are out there. At least give us the generic “I was hacked” excuse that all the other drug addicts give us when they are caught in trouble on social media.

In cases like this, you almost have to entirely rely on circumstantial evidence, which is still real evidence. I know some in the age of TV court dramas poo-poo that, but without circumstantial evidence, almost all sex offenders would be off the hook.  In Clark’s case, it seems like he got lucky. There wasn’t enough hard evidence to charge him with a crime and now, despite at the very least, it is evident that he had inappropriate conversations with teens that he shouldn’t have had, he’s trying to wipe his hands clean and say that because he was never arrested for it and never convicted that it means he never did anything wrong.

I’d accept Clark’s apology more if he was at least like “I never did anything sexual, but looking back, I should have been smarter and not have messaged these teens. I shouldn’t have left my DM’s open for fans and I only set myself up to get in trouble, but it’s my fault for continuing these conversations.”   At least say that.  I don’t expect him to be like “Yeah I was a groomer and a pedo, but not anymore, so forgive me.”  However, he should at least admit that it wasn’t the best decision for him to interact with young fans on social media, in character or not.  Which he doesn’t do at all. In fact he doubles down and makes excuses saying that he was just trying to help. Stuff like that indicates that it is probably that he would do that same thing again.

I know we all love a comeback story and it is sad that such a rising star had his career in pro-wrestling go to waste, but he did it do himself. It wasn’t like some freak injury did him in or some unlucky draw of the cards like a rare illness or some drunk driver ended his career. It was his own actions.  Not just this stuff with direct-messaging teens, but also snorting coke in front of cops and doing the “do you know who I am” routine with them to try and get off the hook. I know time has passed, but he still seems reluctant to fully accept responsibility and this apology is just his way of getting his face back out there and hope that someone in wrestling offers him a job.

I believe in forgiveness and second chances, but before you are redeemed, you must at least admit to some wrong-doing.  Clark doesn’t have to say “everything I was accused of his true”, but I wish he would at least stop making the lamest excuses as to why he was messaging teen-aged fans in the first place. I’m sorry, but “I was in character” and “I was just trying to help someone achieve their dream” are not good excuses.   Again, I have kids and if someone were do DM them asking for shirtless pictures and what school they go to I wouldn’t see it as a kind gesture of someone taking a special interest in my child’s future career after high school.  If you take it that way, then you are incredibly naieve.

When I heard about this apology and the interview, I guess I was hoping for more personal responsibility on Clark’s part. Instead, he takes little to no responsibility. His apology is vague and he seems mostly sorry for “wasting” the time of Paul Levesque and Shawn Michaels.  Not sorry for his poor decisions. Not sorry for his inappropriate behavior.  Not sorry for blowing his second chance with the company after they stuck up for him. Nope, just sorry that it didn’t work out with WWE.   Again, all this was his doing.



Patrick Clark has a long way to go before I’m convinced. Not that he has to convince me as I don’t run WWE or any wrestling promotion so it wouldn’t be up to me to take a chance on him anyway, but since he made his apology public and his feelings known, I as an observer are making my feelings known as well.

With the next apology I hope to hear less cliche lines like “I want to be free of negative energy” and “I can only share my truth”. Any time I hear someone use that phrase “my truth” I want to throw up.  There isn’t your truth or my truth. There is the truth.  Anything else is just a story or opinion.  Even if all the evidence isn’t out there the truth is you did DM teens. You did ask them to take their clothes off. You did ask where they went to school. That is inappropriate and if you’re not ready to admit that, then you aren’t really sorry.

Thanks again for ready Planet Kayfabe.  What do you think?  Are you more willing to accept that apology? Do you think WWE or any other promotion should bring him back right now?  Unfortunately, after listening to him again, my feelings are pretty much the same now that they were back when he was first released.  If WWE decides to bring him back, great for him. I hope he makes the best of the new opportunity and doesn’t mess it up.  I’m not sure I’d be ready to take that chance, yet, though.

For NoDQ, I’m Paul Matthews. Take care and God bless.