I've decided that I have a love-hate relationship with wrestling. When wrestling is good, its really good, but when its bad... I don't know, its bad. But no matter how far I get away from the sport there is something that pulls me back in. A lot like the mob I suppose. Recently I had the chance to talk all things WWE with one of the most recognizable faces in sports entertainment, Sgt. Slaughter. And while he's a bit before the time I prefer, I was still pretty excited to get his thoughts on D-Generation X and Coliseum Home Video.
Jessie Hobson: So, what have you been up to, Sarg?
Sgt. Slaughter: We've been all over Texas the last couple days promoting Wrestlamania XXXII, looking forward to going to Dallas tonight and promoting it tomorrow there.
JH: Excellent. So, you're a brand ambassador for WWE right now, right?
SS: Yes, I am.
JH: So what all does that entail? Just kinda going from place to place and things like that?
SS: Right, yeah, I go all over the country promoting the product, live events, pay-per-views for television, medias and shows. Do a lot of charity work with the company Make-A-Wish, MDA, Special Olympics, Be a Star and it keeps ya pretty busy.
JH: You mentioned you are going to Dallas for Wrestlemania, are you going to have any involvement with the event this year or Hall of Fame?
SS: Well, I'll be at the Hall of Fame for sure. I'll be there starting March 31st for the Axxess, looking forward to meeting everybody there. Its always a fun time for us because its like a family reunion. We get to see some of the talent that we were in the ring with and get to meet the new talents, the ones that are up incoming, really exciting to meet a lot of the NXT talent. Been watching them and getting to know them. There's a lot to see out there, a lot to watch. The WWE is just a... busy, busy, busy.
JH: What makes the Hall of Fame so special for the newcomers or for those that don't know anything about the WWE?
SS: Its something you strive for. You can win lots of titles and do a lot of things in the world of professional wrestling and then the WWE, but when you get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame you know you've made your mark in the world of entertainment. So, its something for the young talent to look for and strive for... for us legends, Hall of Famers, to go to and listen to the stories to those being inducted year after year. This year I'm excited to hear Sting's story because he hasn't been with us very long. He was at Wrestlemania XXXI last year, and wrestled Triple H. Just wanna, try to hear his story. I've already met him once or twice, never was in the ring with him. Really interested to hear his story and see who he picks to introduce him into the Hall of Fame.
JH: We do know that Sting is being inducted, and what an incredible path he has had. Do you have any hints or thoughts on who else could join his list this year?
SS: Well, there's some time yet before they introduce the others. I'm not sure who's all going, there's some I'd like to see go in, but that's just my personal picks and I've always liked coming to Texas to see The Freebirds perform, and I hope that...
JH: Yeah, The Undertaker, ya know, he's a Houston native and it'd be great to see him get up there as well.
SS: Yeah, that would be a good one also.
JH: He's had a pretty interesting path. His character has definitely evolved and changed over the years. And speaking of that, you, yourself, with the mask, wrestled as Super Destroyer Mark II in the 70s, right?
SS: Yes, I was Super Destroyer Mark II and before that I was The Executioner and before that I was Beautiful Bobby.
JH: So, was the first time you put on the mask, was that with Super Destroyer? Or you put on a mask prior to that?
SS: I had already did Executioner.
JH: Your career had been established for six years up until that point?
SS: Yep. I started in 1974.
JH: Gotcha. At that point what made you decide to incorporate the Marine Corps into your persona, into your history?
SS: As we just spoke, I tried some other characters and they just weren't comfortable for me. I just decided I wanted to get comfortable... and one day I happened to be watching television and saw a movie called The D.I. starring Jack Webb, he was a drill instructor. And I thought that would be a perfect character for professional wrestling as a villain. So, I went down in my basement, pulled out my locker box and got my G.I. cover out, got my whistle, got my swagger stick and started doing promos in the mirror myself. And that's hot it all started, in 76.
JH: Well, it definitely not a bad move because, Sgt. Slaughter went on to be one of the most successful toy characters of all time.
SS: Yeah, I was Sgt. Slaughter before I was Super Destroyer Mark II. I was asked to come into the AWA in the Minnesota area and replace the masked man that was there. So, I put the Sarge back in the locker box for a while. I brought him back out when I got an opportunity to do a tryout with the WWE, 1979.
JH: I was going through your history and maybe it just wasn't as clear, but that definitely makes more sense looking back as far as the evolution of the Sgt. Slaughter persona. Speaking of Slaughter, I know you eventually became the character that we know as the G.I. Joe toy, but because of Jakks and Hasbro you haven't been able to cameo in any of the movies, correct?
SS: Right, conflicting toy companies, and when I was under contract, and am under contract with the WWE, the conflict of interest with the people that did the movies didn't allow me to be in them. Although, I was written into them, they had to phase me out. The last movie, they had to rewrite it, there was a General that was put in my place. Instead of Sgt. Slaughter, they put a General in there instead. Pretty good honor, being replaced by a General.
JH: I know you voiced the Sargent on the cartoons as well, I saw you were also involved with The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! How'd that happen?
SS: Well, I got a call, and they wanted to bring Sgt. Slaughter into the show and we worked it out.
JH: And beyond that, I also saw you did a tug-of-war with the Big Foot Monster truck, that was pretty interesting.
SS: Yep, man verses machine.
JH: Can you tell me a little about that, how it became what we see today when we look it up on YouTube?
SS: I was at a monster truck show as a guest, and was doing an autograph session there. And we did the pledge of allegiance and they did the opening of the show and Big Foot came out who was the star of the show, he came kinda toward me. We were in an arena where there were hockey boards around the inside of the arena. So, I had nowhere to go so I jumped on top of the board of the hockey rink, and just thought it would be kinda funny. So, I jumped off and hit Big Foot with an elbow on the hood, and the driver made the truck go backwards, and eventually, I know, the promoter of the show said we gotta do something with you and Big Foot. So, we sat down and thought and thought and thought. And then we thought, why don't we do tug-of-war against Big Foot, get a battle battalion. That's how it all started.
JH: And, did I read it correct, it did happen again?
SS: It did, it happened a few times.
JH: When you look up your name its one of the things that does come up, but you are definitely known as one of the more famous heels, how involved were you with the story-lines and feuds or was that kind of out of your hands?
SS: No, I was involved with all of them. Nothing better to have someone who created a character to be involved in the storyline.
JH: Exactly! We wouldn't have got the Wrestlemania VII cover with you and Hogan! I mean, hose Coliseum tapes, man. Those covers are so, they just take me back every time I see one. Is there any particular ones that stand out for you or is that Wrestlemania VII the main one?
SS: Well, I think Wrestlemania VII was one of my favorites because I had just won the title from The Ultimate Warrior and I had his, the title that he had had that night and it was purple. So, the leather was purple, and it always stands out to me.
JH: The Ultimate Puke!
SS: Sgt. Slaughter with a purple championship title pointed at Hulk Hogan...
JH: And you referred to him as The Ultimate Puke.
SS: The Ultimate Puke, yes.
JH: You had some other feuds obviously, with Iron Sheik has their been any improvements with y'alls relationship or is it still kind of on the rocks?
SS: Well, its mended itself a little bit. We really don't speak to each other much, just try to nod at each other. We know that we created a lot of history in the WWE and professional wrestling.
JH: That's definitely true, and outside of him you had some pretty interesting exchanges with the DX when you were the commissioner, looking back do you have any thoughts on that particular group? What do you think?
SS: They were right there at the right time. We were at war with WCW and they brought me in as a commissioner. We had to dig a fox hole, and keep fighting and eventually won the war. And, DX had a lot to do with it.
JH: I heard that you, like if you could wrestle anybody, I know you have had some tag-team matches with HBK, but you never really got the chance to have they great one-on-one battle with him.
SS: Yeah, I may have been in a couple Battle Royals with him, but I never got to really get in the ring with him. It would have been a real honor, would have made a good story.
JH: Did you ever intentionally spit a bit more at those guys because of the feud you had going on?
SS: (laughs) No, that's just part of my jawline.
JH: I gotcha. Are there any particular fans or cities that were harder on you, as a heel, than others?
SS: No, they were all pretty rough, we did our job.
JH: What do you think about all these pod-casts or movies breaking down the inner-workings or behind the scenes of wrestling? Do you think that's good for the industry or do you think we should keep it old-school?
SS: Well, I think its good to hear the stories. I still like to be surprised and entertained, so some of it gets a little over the line, doesn't need to get out there or told. I think the element of surprise is a great thing in the world of entertainment, especially sports entertainment. Not very fun to go to a magic show know how all the tricks are all done, wouldn't be much entertainment.
JH: That's a really good analogy. Its no secret that RAW's ratings have been slipping, do you have any ideas how to get them back up or is there anything planned to help get them back up?
SS: Well, I don't know if they're slipping, we're a 24/7 type of business. We don't have any off season. So, you are gonna have lolls, up and down, but there's a lot going on. We have Smackdown and NXT... all the things that are on the networks. I'm just finishing doing some voice overs for Camp WWE and a lot of interesting things coming up.
JH: Yeah, I actually keep seeing the trailer for that and that was going to be the next thing I was gonna touch on, how was that experience? I know you've done voices in the past, but was this one neat to get in the booth with all of the other wrestlers?
SS: No, you're in there all there by yourself.
JH: Okay, this is my last question, boot camp verses wrestling camp, which is the tougher?
SS: Back when I was in boot camp I'd have to say boot camp, but now I'd have to say wrestling camp because its a, there's a lot of great athletes out there now. You have to be prepared, and when you get there you better have your A game on, its gonna be a tryout. If anybody ever gets a opportunity to go to the fitness center and workout, you know what its like. And when you get a opportunity to go to a Tough Enough or a pro-wrestling training camp just be prepared and be ready.
JH: Excellent. Well, I'll be at the Hall of Fame, so if you see a chubby guy with a beard ask for a cobra clutch, it's me. And I definitely appreciate you taking the time, buddy.
SS: Okay, thank you very much for your time.
JH: Thank you sir, have a good day.
SS: Okay, you're dismissed.
Well, there you have it. Sgt. Slaughter will be in Dallas for the WWE Hall of Fame taking place on Saturday, April 2nd. Outside of that, if you are a Slaughter fan make sure you have WWE network so you can check out Camp WWE that will be available later this year. For more information regarding the network and all things Slaughter, click HERE.