Wrestler of the Day – August 7: Sgt. Slaughter

ATTEN-HUT! Today is Sgt. Slaughter.

The Sarge got his start in the AWA and NWA in 1972. We’ll join him in the WWF on January 4, 1981 for one of the best matches of all time.

Pat Patterson vs. Sgt. Slaughter

Patterson is in street clothes and the brawl is on as soon as Slaughter gets inside. A series of kicks puts Sarge down and Patterson chokes him in the corner. Slaughter misses a big right hand and hits the post, sending him to the apron. Back in and it’s time for a whipping from Patterson with Slaughter selling it like he’s been shot. Slaughter finally sends him through the ropes and onto the apron to get a breather but Pat is right back with belt shots to the back.

Sarge finally gets in a blow to the ribs and takes the belt before sending Patterson throat first into the top rope. He wraps the belt across Pat’s mouth and rips Patterson’s shirt off for good measure. More choking ensues but Pat charges at the ropes to send Slaughter out to the floor. Slaughter tries to come back in off the top but only hits the mat to put both guys down.

Patterson slams him down and drops a middle rope knee before hitting the same sequence again. He bites Slaughter’s forehead but Sarge kicks him in the gut and drops a few knees of his own to take over again. A kick to the head with the combat boot puts Patterson down again and Slaughter launches him to the floor. Back in and Pat punches at the ribs before catapulting Slaughter into the post, causing his forehead to burst open. It looks like he was stabbed to draw that much blood.

Pat goes after the cut but a low blow puts him back down. Slaughter pulls out brass knuckles but can’t see Pat after knocking him out. His face looks like Ultimate Warrior’s paint job. Patterson is back up and wins a slugout before hitting him in the head with a cowboy boot. Slaughter still has the knuckles on his hand. Another boot shot has Slaughter reeling and a third puts him down. Sarge is knocked into the post and onto the floor where he takes out a cameraman. The crowd is LOVING this. Pat just unloads with the boot until the Grand Wizard (Slaughter’s manager) throws in a towel to stop it. Sarge wanted to keep fighting.

Rating: A. Great great fight here with Slaughter’s blade job being one for the books. This was as brutal as you’re going to get for this era and the fans ate it up. One of the key things here is that Slaughter got to save face at the end with the Wizard throwing in the towel to stop it. Patterson rose up to fight the evil guy, which is what a hero is supposed to do. Great stuff here.

We’ll jump ahead a bit to October 17, 1983, still in MSG.

Sgt. Slaughter vs. Ivan Putski

Slaughter is EVIL. LONG stall to start as Slaughter doesn’t want to lock up with him. After about two minutes they lock up and Putski uses one of his signature moves: a headlock. It’s not an 80’s thing. It would still be boring by any standards. We’re three and a half minutes into this and we’ve had a headlock as our entire offense. Putski runs him over and puts on a chinlock. This is going to be really dull isn’t it?

Slaughter gets rammed into the post and Putski is in full control. Sarge finally hits an atomic drop but hurts his own knee on it. He manages to come off the middle rope but that leg is bothering him. This has to be legit as there’s no reason for him to sell like this. Slaughter “charges” at him in the corner but hits the post again head first. He manages to hook the Cobra Clutch but Putski makes the rope. Ivan comes back with a bunch of right hands….and one hits the referee for the lame DQ.

Rating: D. A lot of this was because of the knee injury as it would seem they went home early. That being said, the stuff before the injury was really bad with the vast majority of it being a headlock and punches. The early 80s were never really know for workrate and you can see that here very clearly. Putski just wasn’t that good.

Still in MSG on January 23, 1984, the night Hogan won the title.

Ivan Putski vs. Sgt. Slaughter

We get the shot from the back as Sarge comes out. I miss that camera shot. I think Slaughter is a heel here but he seems rather popular anyway. Putski, who might be 5’8 in heels, starts firing off punches but Sarge bails to the corner. They circle each other a bit more with no contact yet. Putski is small but he is RIPPED (and pretty clearly full of steroids). They finally collide with Putski shoving him around and slamming the Sarge down to stall some more.

Ivan hooks a headlock as Patterson talks about Putski loving to drink and sing. Back to the headlock as this is going slowly again. Slaughter finally comes out with an atomic drop and works on the back for a bit. That doesn’t last long though as Slaughter gets rammed into the top turnbuckle and may have been busted open in the process. Slaughter gets sent shoulder first into the post as Patterson says to stay on top of him. Is that what he got to do after the Alley Fight?

Slaughter reverses a whip into the corner and comes back with the Slaughter Cannon (running clothesline) to take over but he can’t slam Putski. Ivan is billed at 225lbs and Slaughter can’t slam him? The Cannon misses and Putski comes back with the Polish Hammer (double ax to the chest) and a shoulder to send Slaughter to the floor. In a funny bit, Sarge’s chin gets caught on the bottom rope to keep him from hitting the concrete. They fight on the apron and Putski knocks Slaughter back inside, which lets Slaughter beat the count and win by countout.

Rating: D. Another dull match here as is the custom for 1984. Putski just wasn’t that good and he looked freaky to say the least. He was just too muscular for someone his size and it never quite worked. Slaughter would go to the AWA pretty soon after this and stay for years until coming back around 1990 to be the turncoat American.

One more time, on September 22, 1984.

Adrian Adonis/Dick Murdoch/Lou Albano vs. Sgt. Slaughter/Wild Samoans

Before the match Albano says that this is due to him being accused of being a biased referee against the Samoans and the Sarge. Adonis and Murdoch are tag champions. Albano sneaks in a foreign object because that’s what he does. After a LONG stall we’re ready for the opening bell. We finally start with Afa vs. Murdoch and they trade full nelsons. It must drive Murdoch nuts to be in there against Afa as Murdoch was a member of the KKK.

That goes nowhere so here’s Adonis instead. Everything breaks down and Albano walks out like the coward he is, leaving this as a handicap match. Slaughter chases after him but comes back a few seconds later. The tag champions try to ram the Samoans’ heads together which has as little effect as you would expect it to have. Albano is back at ringside as we’ve barely had any wrestling in the first five minutes.

Adonis and Murdoch double team Sika until Albano comes in for some shots with that foreign object. Sika snaps up and it’s very quickly off to Murdoch again as we’re firmly in a comedy match at this point. Dick tries the elbow to the head and injures himself in the process. The tag champions are rammed together and Murdoch gets caught in the wrong corner. Albano is offered a chance to come in and says no way. He claims to have a bad back and sends Adonis in to face Sika.

Actually make that Sarge to a big pop and a knee drop to Adonis’ head. Murdoch is knocked to the floor as well but Slaughter goes after Albano, allowing the heels to take Slaughter down. Murdoch hits Slaughter with something from the announce table and Gorilla is freaking out. Back in and Adonis puts on a sleeper but the Samoans make the save. Off to more triple teaming in the corner and a back elbow to the face for two for Murdoch.

Adonis comes back in with a top rope elbow for two before Dick comes in to rip at Slaughter’s face. Slaughter finally gets in a shot to the face and it’s off to Sika who is dropped with a double back elbow from the champions. Albano comes in for some cheap shots but once again Sika snaps up and Lou runs away. Sika gets in a headbutt on Murdoch and it’s off to Afa. Not that the tag means much though as he is caught in a front facelock by Murdoch.

Adrian slams Sika down for two and hits a missile dropkick (a high spot in this era) for two. A top rope splash misses Afa but Murdoch breaks up a tag attempt. Afa gets in a big headbutt and it’s off to Slaughter as everything breaks down. Adonis gets tied up in the ropes so Sika and Slaughter pick up Murdoch and harpoons him into Adonis’ chest. A dropkick gets one for Slaughter and there are some headbutts by Sika.

Adonis breaks up a near fall and it’s back to Afa. Adrian gets a tag but walks into a bunch of headbutts to put him right back down. Slaughter rams Murdoch’s head into Sika’s and it’s off to Albano vs. Sarge. The Cobra Clutch is quickly put on but Adonis makes the save. Lou brings in the exhausted Murdoch as Sarge and Albano leave. Everything breaks down and Sarge runs in to slam Murdoch off the top for the pin.

Rating: C. This took awhile to get into but once it got going things improved a lot. The story makes sense as the tag champions can hang with the Samoans in a two on two match but when you give them Slaughter against the worthless Albano, Murdoch and Adonis are outmatched. It’s too long at 20 minutes but it’s not as bad as I was expecting it to be.

Slaughter would head to the AWA when Hogan rose to such prominence. Here he is at Superclash 1985.

AWA American’s Title: Sgt. Slaughter vs. Boris Zhukov

Guess who the champion is. Boris jumps the champ to start but Sarge uses the powers of American to get control. The camera jumps to the crowd for some reason. Back to Slaughter destroying Boris, sending the shoulder into the post. They head to the floor and Zhukov slams him onto the mound. Boris controls with basic heel tactics back in the ring. Swinging neckbreaker gets two.

There are three matches left after this one and I don’t think I could take anything longer than that. This show has completely drained me. Out to the floor again and Boris slams him on the announce table. A piledriver out there is countered and Boris is slammed off the top back in. Nelson says the ring shifted an inch and then a foot. Dropkick by Sarge puts Boris down and he loads up the Cannon. The Cannon (short clothesline) hits the referee instead and Boris hits him with a loaded elbow pad. Sarge is busted and as the referee checks on it, Boris shoves the referee for the DQ.

Rating: D+. My mind is numb at this point. These matches mean nothing and we’re getting one cheap finish after another. Also the insane amount of punch/kick matches are making this unbearable. There hasn’t been a single match that I would call good and we’re over two hours into it. This needs to get done because it’s too late to be saved. This match was just another on the pile tonight.

And Wrestlerock 1986.

AWA America’s Title: Sgt. Slaughter vs. Kamala

Slaughter is champion and is WAY over. He’s pretty much the most popular guy in the company, which is why he never got the world title. I mean, Heaven forbid the fans decide who the top guy is. That’s one thing that needs to be remembered about the AWA: yes Vince took a lot of their talent, but it was Gagne that screwed up a lot of stuff. If he had just given the title to Hogan like the people were SCREAMING for, Hogan wouldn’t have left.

Oh yeah the match. As usual with Kamala matches, he uses REALLY boring offense like you would see from any fat guy, including but not limited to chops, something resembling punches, shots to the throat, and a stomach claw. Slaughter makes his comeback, Kamala hits him some more, Slaughter Cannon, Kim Chee runs in for the DQ. Short and nothing of note at all.

And Superclash III.

Sgt. Slaughter vs. Colonel DeBeers

This is a boot camp match and AWA vs. AWA. DeBeers is a white supremacist of all things. That’s a gimmick for you. In essence it’s a street fight. Page is with DeBeers here. Big brawl to start as DeBeers is a bit slow. Sarge uses the riding crop a lot but DeBeers takes over a few seconds in. DeBeers chokes with a belt as this slows way down in a hurry.

It’s mentioned that the tag titles didn’t change hands earlier. Sarge takes over again and stomps away a bit. DeBeers is thrown to the floor but it’s not a DQ here of course. DeBeers goes into the post and Page gets in the ring. Back in the Colonel has a helmet that Slaughter brought in with him but can’t manage to use it. Page holds Slaughter up and Sarge moves. A few headbutts to the Colonel with the helmet puts DeBeers down allowing Slaughter to cinch up the Cobra Clutch to end it.

Rating: D. Short and bad here. Sarge would go to the WWF in a year or so and become a huge heel. Other than that though, this was nothing as DeBeers was part of the Team Challenge Series soon after this. Sarge would also but he left halfway through it. Weak match overall though.

Slaughter would come back to the WWF in 1990 but turn his back on America and support Iraq in the Gulf War. This led to a WWF Title match at Royal Rumble 1991.

WWF World Title: Sgt. Slaughter vs. Ultimate Warrior

Gorilla gives a disclaimer, saying that Slaughter and Adnan’s views don’t represent those of the WWF or most of America. If that was anyone other than Gorilla Monsoon, I’d say he wasn’t allowed to speak for America, but Gorilla Monsoon speaks for me. There’s a t-shirt idea in there somewhere. The belt is purple tonight in case you’re wondering. Yeah Warrior went a bit nuts (shocking I know) with having multiple belt colors for some reason. The heels try to attack him with the Iraqi Flag but Warrior will have nothing of it and clotheslines them both down.

Slaughter gets the flag shoved into his mouth and Warrior pounds away. He chokes Slaughter with said flag and chops away in the corner as Slaughter is in trouble. Warrior sends Slaughter into the corner for his over the buckle bump to the floor. Here’s Sherri to trip up Warrior and draw him back up towards the entrance. Savage is waiting on Warrior and beats the tar out of the champion with light fixtures as Slaughter gets a breather.

The Sarge wisely stops the count a few times, allowing Warrior to get back in. Slaughter pounds away in the corner as he starts softening up the back for the Camel Clutch. Apparently the middle eastern moveset comes with becoming an Iraqi sympathizer. The crowd absolutely HATES Slaughter here and boos anything he does. Warrior gets sent into the buckle but they clothesline each other down. Naturally a single clothesline is enough to counteract that long run of offense by Slaughter and get us back to even.

Slaughter gets up first and puts on a bearhug for a LONG time. Warrior breaks it up but walks right into a backbreaker for two. There’s the Camel Clutch but Warrior’s legs are under the ropes. Warrior Warriors Up and beats Slaughter down but here’s Sherri again to frenzy up the crowd. Warrior loads her up in the gorilla press and throws her onto a charging Savage in the aisle. Savage pops up again and blasts Warrior in the face with his scepter, allowing Slaughter to drop an elbow for the pin and the title, STUNNING the crowd.

Rating: D+. The match was dull for the most part but the heat was insane. The crowd audibly calls this BS and you can’t really argue that point. Aside from that, this sets up Wrestlemania really well, as we need a REAL AMERICAN to take the title back. Pay no attention to the fact that the war had already been over by Wrestlemania.

The obvious showdown from Wrestlemania VII.

WWF World Title: Sgt. Slaughter vs. Hulk Hogan

Hogan immediately chases Slaughter around the ring until Adnan is put on the floor. Feeling out process to start with both guys going into the corner. Hulk hooks a headlock to no avail but sends Slaughter backwards with a shoulder block. The champ hits one of the weakest chair shots you’ll ever see to Hogan’s back and pokes Hulk in the eye to finally take over. Hogan comes back with a clothesline and decks Adnan for fun too. A backdrop puts Slaughter down and Hulk sends him into the post.

Hogan hits a jumping knee to the back to send Slaughter into the corner and a slingshot sends Slaughter into the buckle again. Hogan gets in his ten punches in the corner for two but goes to the middle rope of all places, but Adnan breaks it up. Slaughter gets slammed down and Hulk drops a bunch of elbows. Now Hogan goes up top (!) but gets slammed to the mat and clotheslined to the floor. A better but still lame chair shot puts Hogan down again and it’s time to work on the back.

A backbreaker gets two for the champion and he stomps away on Hulk’s back. There’s a Boston Crab but Hulk is right next to the rope, making this pretty worthless. Another backbreaker gets two and it’s a third chair shot, this time to the head, gets two more. Hulk is cut over the eye. There’s Slaughter’s Camel Clutch but Hulk fights up, only to be rammed into the corner to send him right back down. Slaughter puts an Iraqi flag on Hogan and you know what’s coming now. A Hulk Up, big boot and leg drop later and AMERICA REIGNS AGAIN!

Rating: C. At the end of the day, if you didn’t know what was going to happen here then you’re either very young or have no idea how wrestling works. On top of the story, it’s Hogan in a match against a big man. What else could you possibly expect? Hogan winning is the 100% right decision and the match certainly isn’t bad. Slaughter was clearly a short term champion and there’s nothing wrong with that either. Decent stuff here and a feel good moment to end the show.

Slaughter and his evil cronies were still not done with Hogan. From Summerslam 1991.

Ultimate Warrior/Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter/Colonel Mustafa/General Adnan

Sid Justice is guest referee and Hogan is WWF Champion. Hogan and Slaughter get things going but the Sarge wants to stall. Slaughter pounds on him in the corner but gets caught between the right hands of both superheroes. Off to Warrior for a clothesline followed by a double big boot to put Slaughter down again. A clothesline gets two for Hogan and it’s back to Warrior. This is completely one sided so far. Hogan comes back in with a middle rope ax handle for two.

Sid breaks up some choking in the corner and the distraction lets Slaughter get in some shots on Hogan. Adnan, an old manager, comes in to rake Hogan’s back and slowly pound away in the corner. Off to Mustafa (Iron Sheik) for the gutwrench suplex and the camel clutch but Warrior makes the save. Slaughter comes back in to choke away in the corner and send Hogan into Sid for a staredown. Sarge jumps the distracted Hogan and stomps away on the back.

Warrior breaks up a top rope something by Slaughter, allowing for the hot tag to the painted one. Warrior cleans house on Slaughter but runs into Sid for another staredown. Back to Mustafa who gets caught in a suplex but Slaughter blocks a tag. Slaughter puts Warrior in a chinlock, only to have the Ultimate One fight up and clothesline Sarge down. There’s the hot tag to Hogan as Hogan chases the lackeys to the back with a chair. More on that later as Hogan throws powder in Slaughter’s face and drops the leg to win.

Rating: D+. I’m not a fan of this one as the match was never in doubt at all, but above that the Iraq War had been over for six months so the interest in the feud was done long ago. Nothing to see here but the fans reacted pretty well to it. This would have been better as a house show main event instead of the main event of Summer\slam. If nothing else there was a match around this time on a Coliseum Video with Slaughter/Mustafa/Undertaker against the superheroes. Wouldn’t that make a much better main event here?

Slaughter would rejoin America and team up with Jim Duggan at SNME #30.

Sgt. Slaughter/Jim Duggan vs. Beverly Brothers

Anyone think this might be a squash? They’re a new team here and it’s an attempt to make Sarge a face again that loved America. The announcers argue over the logic of giving Hogan Flair at Mania and Heenan keeps picking Vince’s arguments apart. This doesn’t even last three minutes and of course the proud Americans win.

Rating: N/A. This was quick and nothing of note. Yep that’s about it.

Slaughter would mostly retire after this point but would be named Commissioner in 1997. DX really didn’t think much of his authority though, leading to this match at In Your House XIX.

Sgt. Slaughter vs. HHH

Anything goes. Slaughter comes out to the same music that Patriot came out to for his PPV appearances. Slaughter pounds on Helmsley with his riding crop to start and pounds him down before stomping away at the ribs. HHH is thrown out to the floor and dropped throat first across the barricade as the match continues its slow start. Slaughter covers for no count, establishing that the fall has to occur in the ring.

HHH goes into the steps and gets kicked into the aisle with Slaughter still in full control. Back inside and Slaughter drops him with the riding crop to the throat before choking away. A clothesline gets two and Slaughter calls for his Cobra Clutch but HHH rolls out of it. Slaughter is whipped into the corner and out to the floor (a signature spot) to give HHH a breather. HHH whips him into the barricade for a little payback before throwing him into the crowd. Back to ringside and HHH chokes away, only to have to duck the Slaughter Cannon (running clothesline) which takes out the timekeeper instead. Slaughter is cracked in the back by a belt and we head back inside. A chain to the jaw puts Slaughter down for two as the timekeeper is taken to the back.

HHH drops the chain for some reason, allowing Slaughter to pick it up and give him a chance. Not that it lasts long or anything though as he is almost immediately backdropped to the floor to keep HHH in control. Back in and HHH goes up, only to dive into a boot to the jaw. Slaughter can’t slam HHH but can hit a suplex to put both guys down. The older guy goes up top but gets slammed down for another two count.

HHH grabs a sleeper for a good while until Slaughter escapes and puts on the Cobra Clutch, only to have Chyna come in for the save. Chyna gets yelled at so she blasts the referee and pulls in a chair. Slaughter sees her coming through and throws powder in her eyes, only to be blasted in the face by HHH’s boot. Another boot shot misses though and Slaughter puts on the Clutch. The referee wakes up to check HHH’s arm but Chyna kicks Slaughter low to break up the hold. A Pedigree onto the chair is finally enough to end Slaughter.

Rating: D. This just went WAY too long, running nearly eighteen minutes. They easily could have accomplished the same goals with about half the time and that’s a problem when you have a retired guy pushing 50 out there. Slaughter wasn’t really worth much here though, especially with Vince as the real boss of the company now.

We’ll jump ahead to Smackdown on March 1, 2000 for a showdown between real Americans.

Intercontinental Title: Kurt Angle vs. Sgt. Slaughter

Angle quickly takes him down to start but gets kneed in the ribs for his efforts. An elbow to the ribs drops Kurt again and there’s the Cobra Clutch. Kurt finally rolls into the ropes for a break and sends Slaughter over the corner for his signature bump. Back in and Angle kicks him down and nails the Angle Slam to retain. Short and ugly.

Slaughter would come back in 2006 and help Ric Flair fight off the Spirir Squad. From Raw on October 2, 2006.

Nicky vs. Sgt. Slaughter

The Squad has had their pants stolen and replaced by female cheerleaders’ skirts. Nicky is more famous as Dolph Ziggler. Slaughter no sells a kick to the face and puts on the Cobra Clutch before offering a little spanking. A gutbuster gets two on Nicky but he sends Slaughter to the floor for a beating. Back in and Nicky puts on a sleeper, followed by a kind of Codebreaker for two. DX pops up on screen and makes fun of the Squad’s attire, allowing Slaughter to get a rollup pin.

Rating: D. What are you expecting here? The Squad being dressed like women was a one off joke and thankfully this was a short match that didn’t make everyone look too bad. Nicky would be the only member of the team to ever mean anything as the rest of the guys were gone in about a year.

Another match, this time answering the challenge of an old school tag team at Vengeance 2007.

Smackdown Tag Titles: Deuce N Domino vs. ???/???

It’s an open challenge here so the challengers are unknown. Deuce says this place is full of old people. Domino doesn’t like them either. This team was either great or completely idiotic. In short, they’re Fonzie from Happy Days. Cherry, their manager, in short is hot. Deuce is more commonly known as Sim Snuka or the guy that kept Taker from breaking his neck at Mania 25. The challengers are Sgt. Slaughter and Jimmy Snuka. Allow me to quote the 25th letter of the alphabet: WHY???????????/

Smackdown Tag Titles: Deuce N Domino vs. Sgt. Slaughter/Jimmy Snuka

Remember that Snuka is Deuce’s father. JBL says if the champions lose then he’s calling Ron Simmons up and reforming the APA. JBL suggests their name could be the Coffin Dodgers. Oh that’s funny. Sarge looks good here and we get a jab at the Ultimate Warrior. They beat the tar out of Domino here as you would expect them to. Again though, this is on PPV in 2007. There’s the Cobra Clutch which is his signature finisher, which always amused me.

The one time he used a different finisher, he won the WWF Title. So naturally he used the old one and never did anything again. This has been dominance so far. Deuce finally comes in and this is dragging badly. Snuka beating up his son is just kind of surreal. I don’t know if I’d want to be in that position or not. Snuka hits a top rope cross body but Deuce rolls through for the pin.

How annoying do you think he’s going to be with that at Thanksgiving? He pinned his HOF dad on PPV. How cool would it be to be able to say that? Post match there’s a beatdown and Martel and Garea jump the railing for the save.

Rating: D-. The match was horrible obviously, but the point here was to have the legends get a chance out there again. That doesn’t make up for it though. This is just not something I want to see on a PPV show. On TV is one thing I guess, but no way this should be on PPV.

We’ll wrap it up with one more appearance at the Great American Bash episode of Smackdown in 2012.

Santino Marella/Sgt. Slaughter/Jim Duggan vs. Hunico/Camacho/Drew McIntyre

Camacho and Slaughter start things off and it’s quickly off to Santino. He gets in trouble in the evil dirty foreign corner and Drew pounds away a bit. A slam is countered and it’s hot tag to Duggan. There’s the Three Point Clothesline but everything breaks down. The ring is mostly cleared and the Cobra gets the pin on Hunico at 2:25.

Sgt. Slaughter is a great example of how awesome a character can be when he’s so simple. Slaughter was little more than a really excited patriot who fought for his country and had a cool voice. He became WWF Champion after being a big deal in the AWA and NWA. If you had him appear today, people would still cheer for him. The G.I. Joe stuff was even more popular and a big crossover deal. He may not be the biggest star ever, but his name is very familiar to a lot of fans.

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