5 Things I Never Knew About Sgt. Slaughter

Separating the man from the myth from the mustache.

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5 Things I Never Knew About Sgt. Slaughter

By Jeremy Azevedo
As a child growing up I the 1980s, Sgt. Slaughter was always something of an enigma. He was one of the only individuals that I can think of that broke the 4th wall so effectively, existing in animated form as a G.I. Joe and in person as a wrestler for the WWF.

Because these were easily the two coolest professions in the entire universe, it was always difficult to separate fact from fiction when dealing with Sgt. Slaughter.

Eventually, I grew up and the mysterious origins of Sgt. Slaughter were lost in the fuzzy recesses of childhood memory. And then, one day (last week, actually), I met the man in person. After I was done shitting my pants, I was finally able to clear up a few things once and for all. Following are five things I never knew about Sgt. Slaughter but was too lazy to look up on Wikipedia:

Fact #1: People always wondered which came first, Sgt. Slaughter the wrestler, or Sgt. Slaughter the Joe. As it turns out, the wrestler was the first and most successful real-life person to be made into a Joe by Toy manufacturer Hasbro. Sgt. Slaughter’s six-year absence form the WWF had much to do with his success as a G.I. Joe, which led him to be a spokesperson for the toy line. Not only did he do the voice for the cartoon, but he also appeared in live action segments for the show as well as commercials for the toy line. Sadly, an action figure based on William “The Fridge” Perry wasn’t nearly as popular.

Fact #2: When Sgt. Slaughter re-appeared in the WWF as an Iraqi sympathizer, the response from an American public was so severely negative that he was unable to appear in public for nearly two years. Even when flying or leaving a venue, he was routinely escorted from the terminal through a backdoor passageway. This was while the Gulf War was well underway, and was the modern day equivalent of a wrestler claiming to be Al-Queda on national television. During this time, it is theorized that Sgt. Slaughter may have had enough tomatoes and cabbage thrown at him to actually feed an entire nation of starving vegetarians.

Fact #3: At Wrestlemania VII, in which Sgt. Slaughter was to wrestle Hulk Hogan for the title, the volume of death threats made toward him (again, for his heel-turn as an Iraqi sympathizer) was so great that the WWF was actually forced to change the venue to one with higher security. This was at a time when people honestly believed that wrestling was 100% real in every way, so you can imagine the threat level there. Hillbillies were loading their muskets with buckshot nationwide over this one.

Fact #4: As a longtime member of the WWE family, Sgt. Slaughter is not one to be crossed. A young smartass wrestler once disrespected Slaughter to his face before a Royal Rumble (in real life) and was punished by having his name called about 20 spots earlier than expected. He was then chopped and slapped hard in the chest by all the OG wrestlers to enter the ring over the next half-hour, who mercilessly refused to throw him out of the ring until his chest was as red as a baboon’s ass.

Fact #5: Sgt. Slaughter was offered a minor guest-starring role in the upcoming G.I. Joe live-action movie, but was unable to make an appearance due to an outstanding name and likeness contract with Yukes, the video game developer behind the WWE Legends of Wrestlemania titles. An opportunity for some serious fan-service was clearly lost, but at least the new Legends game is looking really good.

Bonus Fact:
Sgt. Slaughter’s mustache isn’t quite as robust in real life as it looks on television, but his chin is like an anvil made of American steel and patriotism.