Boasting one of the most recognizable names (and jaw lines) ever, Sgt. Slaughter is an instantly recognizable American icon to WWE fans and general pop culture enthusiasts alike. A former U.S. Marine who proudly served his country, “Sarge” burst onto the wrestling scene in 1974 using his real name, Robert Remus in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), working for and being trained by WWE Hall of Famer Verne Gagne.
Four years later, Remus donned a mask as Super Destroyer Mark II, teaming with Super Destroyer Mark III managed by Lord Alfred Hayes. After a falling out with his partner, Super Destroyer Mark II took on WWE Hall of Famer, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan as his manager and began a series of ring wars with his former partner and Hayes.
It was not until six years after his professional debut that Remus decided to incorporate his status as a United States Marine Corps veteran and debut in WWE in 1980 as the brutal bullying drill instructor, Sgt. Slaughter, who referred to his outmatched opponents as scum, slime, and maggots. In less than one year with WWE, Slaughter was doing battle with legends like Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, Pat Patterson, and even Andre The Giant.
In 1981, Sgt Slaughter took his penchant for punishment to the NWA where he defeated Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat for the United States Championship. Sarge also proved he could still dominate tag team wrestling as well, teaming with Don Kernoodle to become NWA World Tag Team Champions.
Slaughter returned to WWE in 1983 and, still reviled by its fans, instantly main-evented against WWE Champion Bob Backlund, though he was unable to take the title from the All-American standard bearer. Almost a decade after his professional debut, Sgt. Slaughter had still not attained every competitor’s dream of being a World Champion.
In 1984, Sgt. Slaughter had heard enough anti-America rhetoric from WWE Champion, The Iron Sheik, and decided to defend the honor of his country, instantly making him a fan favorite with the WWE Universe. For an entire year, Sgt. Slaughter battled The Iron Sheik in almost all 50 states in bloody Steel Cage Matches and Boot Camp Matches. Sgt. Slaughter finally silenced the Iranian aggressor and was second only to Hulk Hogan in terms of popularity with the WWE Universe.
However, Slaughter was about to leave WWE right before the birth of WrestleMania in 1985 because of a dispute over action figures. Toy company Hasbro approached Sgt. Slaughter about becoming a character in their G.I. Joe franchise which included action figures. However, at the time, WWE had an exclusive agreement with rival toy company, LJN. Sarge had to choose between WWE and G.I. Joe and decided to battle Cobra Commander and his evil forces as an action figure, a comic book hero and even on the G.I. Joe animated series.
In order to continue his wildly successful wrestling career while being G.I. Joe’s best-selling action figure, Slaughter returned to the promotion where he began his career, Verne Gagne’s AWA. There, he defended America ideals against the Soviet Union’s Boris Zhukov, South Africa’s Colonel DeBeers, and even The Iron Sheik, who followed Sarge to the AWA looking for vengeance. While all of his opponents had the advantage of having Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissey in their corner, Slaughter delighted wrestling fans by besting his opponents in bloody Boot Camp Matches. Sarge earned AWA World Title matches against Stan Hansen and then against Larry Zbyszko on ESPN but was still unable to win his first World Title.
In 1990, the AWA’s demise was imminent, and Sgt. Slaughter returned to WWE and became part of one of the most infamous chapters in WWE history. Slaughter claimed America had gone soft as a result of the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union and did the unthinkable by becoming an Iraqi sympathizer during the Gulf War. Despite the distractions of death threats with enraged Americans, Slaughter finally won his first and only World Title when he defeated The Ultimate Warrior at Royal Rumble 1991 with the help of “Macho King” Randy Savage.
At WrestleMania VII, Slaughter was defeated for The WWE Championship by the red, white and blue-clad Hulk Hogan. Slaughter then found a way to sink even lower by flanking himself with fellow Iraqi sympathizers General Adnan (formerly known as his nemesis, Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissey) and Colonel Mustafa (formerly known his most despised opponent, The Iron Sheik). At SummerSlam 1991, Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior defeated the trio now known as The Triangle of Terror, Sgt. Slaughter, General Adnan, and Colonel Mustafa.
After the United States soundly defeated Iraq in the Gulf War and months of soul searching, Sgt. Slaughter pleaded with the WWE Universe to accept his apology and welcome him back as a champion for the American way pleading “I want my country back.” Cautiously, WWE fans gave Sarge a chance to prove himself and he did, teaming with the American flag waving “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan to take on all aggressors, foreign and domestic. Almost two decades after his professional debut, Sgt. Slaughter retired from full-time competition in 1992 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by former foe turned long-time friend, Pat Patterson in 2004.
In 1997, Slaughter returned as WWE Commissioner and did his best to control the chaos created by newly formed D-Generation X: Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Chyna. After a stint as one of Mr. McMahon’s evil lackeys in his war against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Slaughter largely disappeared from television and assumed a behind-the-scenes role with World Wrestling Entertainment. The beloved Sarge is now an Ambassador for WWE and busy as ever appearing at charity events all over America. He as the only Legend who is part The National Guard’s WWE “Big Guns” Team alongside the likes of John Cena, Beth Phoenix, and others. Sgt. Slaughter remains one of the most recognizable WWE personalities of all time and recently appeared on Comedy Central’s top-rated program, Tosh.0, NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and, most importantly, WWE’s annual Tribute to the Troops.
Looking as fit as he did when he first laced up his boots in 1974, Sgt. Slaughter always travels with his tights and boots and will fight for truth, justice and the American way at a moment’s notice.