Known as one of the most controversial wrestling storylines of all time, Sgt Slaughter has recently discussed returning to WWE in 1990 and turning his back on America to become an Iraqi sympathiser at a time when the Gulf War was kicking in to gear.
Slaughter’s career seemed to be reaching a peak in 1984 when he defended the honour of the stars and stripes against The Iron Sheik, including a memorable contest at Madison Square Garden. However, he would leave the company the following year before eventually meeting Vince McMahon to discuss a return in 1990.
His return would mark the start of his heel persona, and lead him towards a headline match at WrestleMania VII against Hulk Hogan. Whilst The Hulkster would win the match, the battle between the two would continue beyond the showpiece event which was not common at the time.
Speaking with Kenny McIntosh in the latest Inside The Ropes magazine, Slaughter has revealed that he was behind the storyline continuing.
Before the show I went to Vince and I said, ‘You always end WrestleMania with the hero being the victor, winning the title and that’s it. The programme’s over. Terry and I have hardly even wrestled each other. Why don’t you let me do something to him after the match and continue this thing?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t like to break away from tradition.
The WWE Chairman would eventually come round to the idea, and this is when Slaughter suggested the idea of throwing a fireball in Hogan’s face.
Finally, he came to me and said, ‘I gave it some thought, let’s do something. What have you got in mind?’ I said, ‘Well, what about a fireball? A fireball when he’s not expecting it. He’s coming back from the ring and I hit him with this fireball and do some damage to him, and we continue the program. He’s been burned and he’s the champion, but he wants me.’ Vince said, ‘I like that. Let’s do it.’
The WWE Hall Of Famer went on to discuss how the incident made him more hated than ever, even under the pressure that there was only one take to get the fireball right.
We set it up where Adnan and I were back in his locker room, and it’s a one-time thing—this was live. We had one chance to do it. He came walking to the door, and I hit him in the face with that fireball and he went down. He was yelling and screaming, and I was stomping on him. Those people hated me even more when I did that to him. So we carried it on—we had Desert Storm Matches, we had all these different types of matches.
Slaughter’s feud with Hogan would run until SummerSlam, after which he re-emerged as a babyface again. He would continue to compete until 1992. He remained prominent on-screen for many years after, as a key part of the Attitude Era where he was the WWE Commissioner.
He would go on to be inducted to the WWE Hall Of Fame in the Class Of 2004, and has continued to make sporadic appearances in the company to this day.