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Nick Hamilton

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Joseph Nicholas Patrick Hamilton Jr. (November 9, 1959), better known by his ring name Nick Patrick, is a professional wrestling referee. He is a former referee for World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment. He has also served as head referee for former WWE developmental territory Deep South Wrestling until that company's closing, and is former head referee for Florida Championship Wrestling.

Career

Hamilton is the son of wrestling legend The Assassin. He grew up wanting to become a professional wrestler, but an injury ended his wrestling career very early. Hamilton became a referee because he loved the sport so much. He used the name Nick Patrick to make a name for himself without his father's help.

He was a referee in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)'s Jim Crockett Promotions and was retained when they became World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He eventually moved up to become the Senior Referee in WCW.

When the nWo formed in 1996, he joined and became their official referee. He would allow the nWo wrestlers to cheat and he would show a clear bias towards the nWo. Because of this, he was forced into a match against Chris Jericho at the World War 3 pay-per-view on November 24, 1996 in Norfolk, Virginia. Jericho had one arm tied behind his back and still defeated Patrick.

Patrick's biggest night with the nWo was refereeing every single match on the nWo Souled Out pay-per-view on January 25, 1997 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

His nWo tenure came to an end at WCW Spring Stampede 1997. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were scheduled to defend the WCW World Tag Team Title against The Steiner Brothers. Due to out-of-ring attacks and such, the title match eventually became a singles match between Nash and Rick Steiner. Nash was allowed to appoint a referee and he chose Patrick. During the match, Nash removed the padding over the turnbuckle and dropped Steiner's face on it. Nash covered an unconscious Steiner and Patrick quickly counted to three, awarding the contest to Nash. After the match, Nash kept performing the maneuver on Steiner. Patrick had a change of heart and attempted to get Nash to stop. Fellow nWo associate, Ted DiBiase, also had a change of heart and attempted, with Patrick, to get Nash to stop. When Nash refused, both Patrick and DiBiase left to get help for Steiner. On the April 14, 1997 edition of Nitro, he unexpectedly appeared in the announce booth with Tony Schiavone and Larry Zbyszko. Wearing a green WCW polo shirt, he cut a promo explaining that he was sick of the way the nWo did business and Eric Bischoff. He explained that he never wanted to fight fellow referee Randy "Pee Wee" Anderson and asked for his job back. Both Schiavone and Zbyszko were skeptical, especially Zbyszko, who was intensely critical. They went to a commercial break with Patrick and Zbyszko arguing. The next week on Nitro, WCW executive J.J. Dillion announced that Patrick was being re-hired on a probationary basis. Patrick was a neutral referee from that point on and never sided with the nWo again.

Patrick created massive controversy over the WCW World Heavyweight Championship at Starrcade 1997 when he made a "fast count" in the Sting-Hollywood Hogan match; although that was the planned finish to the match, Patrick botched it by counting three at normal speed. Backstage wrestling lore suggested that Hulk Hogan wielded his backstage "creative control card" to make Sting look foolish. Other backstage lore suggested that WCW was trying to get Earl Hebner as the referee for the match and Patrick was the backup plan. Bret Hart stopped Patrick from giving Hogan the title, claiming the fast-count, and restarted the match claiming that he didn't want to see Sting get screwed like he was by Vince McMahon. After a subsequent rematch, the title was declared vacant. Patrick would referee another rematch for the vacant belt, taking over for Charles Robinson (who had been knocked out during the bout). Sting would win that match and WCW management upheld Patrick's ruling.

When WCW was bought by the WWF, he was one of the three WCW referees that had their contracts purchased, along with Charles Robinson and Billy Silverman. He became a referee for The Alliance of WCW/Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) wrestlers trying to take over the WWF. He even had a match against Earl Hebner at the WWF Invasion pay-per-view on July 22, 2001 in Cleveland, Ohio. Patrick lost to Hebner and Mick Foley, the special guest referee, gave him "Mr. Socko" after the match.

During the span of the Alliance, Patrick would continue to play a heel referee, siding with the Alliance wrestlers over the WWF wrestlers. For example, during a WCW Championship handicap match between The Rock and Booker T. & Shane McMahon at WWF Unforgiven 2001, Patrick would refuse to count when the Rock had Booker or Shane pinned down. At Survivor Series, Patrick knocked out Hebner to take over as referree during the "Winner Take All" elimination tag match. After he gave a normal "slow count" for The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin became enraged, knocked Patrick out, and brought Hebner back in as referree. After the Alliance angle ended, Patrick became an official WWF referee, portraying a down-the-middle, neutral referee once again.

After the brand extension, Patrick was used as the head referee on the SmackDown! brand. Patrick officiated the World Heavyweight Championship match at ECW One Night Stand 2006 between champion Rey Mysterio and Sabu.

Patrick left the SmackDown! brand on February 9, 2007. Mickey Henson took over as senior referee for the SmackDown! brand. Patrick remained with WWE, officiating matches in their new developmental, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW).

Patrick returned to the SmackDown! brand on February 8, 2008 and refereed a tag team match between Jesse and Festus and Deuce 'n Domino. However, he quickly disappeared again due to his injuries.

Patrick was eventually released from the WWE on August 8, 2008 after seven months of inactivity due to a chronic back injury.

On February 15, 2009, Patrick officially returned to wrestling. He was introduced as the on-camera commissioner of Rampage Pro Wrestling, an independent promotion based out of Warner Robins, Georgia. Patrick portrayed a neutral commissioner. Patrick refereed his first match since his WWE release at RPW's "Showdown" supercard at the Macon City Auditorium on April 10, 2009, officiating a no-holds-barred, hair vs. hair contest between Cru Jones and Dr. Johnny Gayton.

In April 2009, Patrick became RPW's television show director, replacing his father, Jody Hamilton, after the promotion released Hamilton due to financial cutbacks. The promotion re-hired Hamilton later in the year in October. In September 2009, Patrick became the promotion's legitimate general manager after the company fired Nigel Sherrod. When Patrick took over, he and Hamilton became the primary forces behind the booking.

In June 2010, the promotion was temporarily closed down due to internal disputes Patrick and Hamilton were having with others in RPW. The company decided to move forward, but not before firing everyone involved in the disputes, including Patrick and Hamilton. A few days later, Patrick signed on to become the general manager of Great Championship Wrestling, an independent promotion based out of Phenix City, Alabama. However, Patrick resigned from GCW after only two weeks.

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