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Sgt Slaughter Talks WWE Return & Turning His Back On The USA

Sgt Slaughter

Sgt Slaughter has discussed what drew him back into the World Wrestling Federation and how he handled his return as an Iraqi-sympathising villain.

Slaughter has left the company in acrimonious circumstances when Vince McMahon refused him to be a part of a deal with toy company Hasbro to be the spokesperson for G.I. Joe. With an opportunity to be a living, breathing hero Sgt Slaughter walked away from the WWF, but not before a litigious battle over the rights to the ‘Sgt Slaughter’ name.

Speaking exclusively to Inside The Ropes’ own Kenny McIntosh for issue 6 of Inside The Ropes magazine, the WWE Hall Of Famer has discussed what drew him back to the company:

“I had purposely completely distanced myself from the WWF. I never watched their shows. I didn’t want to hear about it. About six years later I did see that Mr. T had come in and was Hogan’s partner at WrestleMania and that it was a success. I’m happy that it was—but I did not have anything to do with the WWF. By this point, I was pretty much done with Hasbro. I had two more years on my contract but I was not doing anything—they had just signed me up for so many years and they paid me whether they used me or not. I was kind of on easy street. I started working the indies and went back to the AWA because they said they would promote G.I. Joe. Finally, I was in Chicago on a Sunday, waiting to do something the next day, and I saw an advertisement on the hotel desk, ‘WrestleMania VI, Toronto, Canada. Puke-A-Mania against The Ultimate Puke.’”

“I thought, ‘You know what? Maybe I’ll watch this.’ I tuned in at the sixth or seventh match, and the production was incredible. I had to rub my eyes. When I left the WWF six years before that they had maybe two or three cameras. Here, they must have had 12-15 cameras in this dome and it looked like there was 300,000 people there. It was just an incredible look.”

“As soon as the main event match with Warrior and Hogan was over, I started writing a note to Vince. ‘Dear Vince, I just finished watching WrestleMania VI from Toronto, Canada, and I have to tell you, that is the most incredible look on a television that I’ve ever seen. The production was just insane. Sincerely, Sarge,’ I put a little smiley face with my hat on it and, ‘P.S. the match between The Ultimate Puke and Puke-A-Mania . . .’ and I put in huge letters, ‘SUCKED!’”

Sgt Slaughter then went on to discuss Vince McMahon calling him up to discuss his feedback on the production values, and the main event between Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior:

“About two weeks later I got a call from Vince, who said. ‘I just wanted to tell you, I got your note, and I really appreciate your feedback on my production. We worked hard and I’m pretty proud of it and we’re doing great. I really appreciate your note. And, yeah, that match did suck . . .’ And then he said, ‘Which leads me to wonder, I see your Hasbro contract is up and I was wondering if you were ready to go back to work?’ I said, ‘Sure, I’m ready.’”

“I met Vince at his house the next morning and it was like we had only seen each other the day before. Before I could get out of my car, he came out of his house and hugged me. ‘So good to see you. How are you doing? I see that you’ve been very successful with G.I. Joe, and I’m happy for you,’ We went in his house he took me into his library. There, sitting on his desk, was a layout of the Coliseum in L.A. He said, ‘This is WrestleMania VII. L.A. Coliseum, 104,000 seat capacity.’ He was going through the whole thing. He said, ‘I want to break the [WrestleMania III] Detroit record, and I want to do it with you and Hogan. You want to do it?’ I said, ‘You’re damn
right I want to do it.’”

With a Hogan/Slaughter showdown so firmly imprinted in the WWF Chairman’s mind, Sgt Slaughter had one question – how were they going to turn the much loved Hogan into a villain? McMahon’s answer – they weren’t:

“So finally I said, ‘Let me get this straight, you want Hogan and I to go here . . . WrestleMania VI was only two weeks ago.’ He said, ‘I don’t waste time. I’ve got this and I’m going for it.’ I said, ‘Okay. Well, how are you going to turn Hulk Hogan into a villain?’ He stopped and looked at me, then said, ‘Hogan? No, no, no. You’re going to be the villain!’ I said, ‘Me?!’ I’m G.I. Joe! I figured you were going to make me the real, real American hero—as only you can do.’ He said, ‘We’ll get to that later. Right now, I want you to be this ultimate villain,’ and he started explaining this Iraqi sympathiser character.”

“‘We’re going to take our time and take it real slow. You’re going to not say anything at first, you’re just going to have a snarly look on your face and you’re just not a happy Sergeant. We’re going to do all these vignettes and I want you to say you’re upset that the United States of America has gotten so weak and so lazy that they allow a small little country like Iraq to overthrow Kuwait and take this, and do that, and you can’t stand to see what’s happening. Why don’t you go home and talk to your family about it? Because it could get a little rough.’ I agreed with him, but in my mind, I always preferred being the villain anyway, and this was like pouring gas on a fire—it was going to explode.”

With political tensions between the United States and Iraq running high at the time, Slaughter had to run the idea by his wife:

“At dinner that night my wife asked how it had gone with Vince and I said, ‘Great. I’m going to be an Iraqi sympathiser.’ I started going through the whole thing and her mouth dropped open. She said, ‘Bob, you can’t do that! You’re going to get killed!’ I said, ‘Yeah, it could be a little rough.’ She said, ‘Well, you do what you want to do. You’ve always done what’s best for your character and if you want to go that direction, you go for it—but just keep us in mind, will you?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’ll make sure it doesn’t go too far.’ I gave Vince a call back, and a week later I was out in a field with tents and tanks and live weapons, filming the vignettes.”

Sgt Slaughter then discussed bringing a manager to help with his transition from All-American hero to a Saddam Hussein-supporting bad guy, and for that role, Slaughter knew just the man for the job:

“The next piece of the puzzle was bringing in General Adnan, who actually knew Saddam Hussein for real when he was younger. When Vince and I started talking about me having a manager I told him, ‘I know a guy up in Minneapolis—I worked up there in AWA for a while—Adnan Al-Kaissie.’ He goes, ‘Billy Wolf? Yeah, I know Billy, he worked for my father. Do you think he would be a good manager?’ I said, ‘Well, he’s from Iraq. I’m pretty sure he’d be a good manager.’”

“So Vince’s people got a hold of him and the first night he came in he had dyed his hair and his moustache—he looked pretty presentable. Vince said, ‘Do you have the outfit we asked you to bring?’ He goes, ‘Yeah,’ and Vince said, ‘Can go put that on and then come back?’ Half an hour later he walked in and I thought it was Saddam Hussein walking through the door. I went, ‘Holy sh*t! He looks just like him!’”

“The only thing was, he had a belt with a plastic gun on it. I said, ‘Whoa, is that a real gun?’ He goes, ‘Oh, no. This is just a plastic gun,’ and he showed it to me. It looked like a real weapon. And I said, ‘Get rid of that. Don’t give anybody any ideas!’”

As it turned out General Adnan was no fan of the Iraqi dictator but that didn’t stop him and Sgt Slaughter from celebrating Saddam Hussein’s birthday in the middle of a WWF ring:

“I asked Vince what he thought, and he said, ‘I think it’s incredible.’ I asked Adnan how he did his promos and he started speaking Farsi, or whatever that language is. I looked at Vince and I just gave him a thumbs up. What I didn’t know was he went to college with Saddam Hussein and despised him because his brother was in Saddam’s army and his sister and a few other members [of his family] were forced to be in the army, because that was the only way you could make a living over there.”

“We were off to the races. Vince told me, ‘Sarge, whatever you want to do, you go ahead and do it, ‘cause I know you know what to do in this situation. But if you get too far over the line, I’ll pull you back.’ I said, ‘Anything?’ He goes, ‘Anything.’ When it was Saddam’s birthday I stopped at a grocery store to buy a birthday cake, and I had somebody set it up in the ring before I got out there. We came out and Adnan spoke first, and of course, nobody understood what he said. So I’d say, ‘What the general just told you, maggots, is that today is Saddam Hussein’s birthday and we’d all like you to stand up and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ with us to General Saddam Hussein.’ The people were going crazy—they were just fuming.”

To read the full interview with Sgt Slaughter then you can order issue 6 of Inside The Ropes magazine here or subscribe to get great wrestling interviews, features, and a whole lot more delivered to your door or available to download every single month.