Sgt. Slaughter Talks about Wrestlemania
Robert Remus was once one of the most hated champions in World Wrestling Entertainment.
With his broad jaw, 6-feet-6-inch frame and arms like iron tongs to clamp his opponents’ necks, Remus, better known as Sgt. Slaughter, played a vicious villain for a large chunk of his WWE career.
In a WWE story line that cast him as an Iraqi sympathizer while Kuwait was being invaded by Saddam Hussein, Remus captured the WWE championship title in 1991 only to lose it to Hulk Hogan in WrestleMania VII in Los Angeles.
Sarge, as he likes to be called, was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004 and is still one of its most recognizable figures. In anticipation of WrestleMania, Sarge, 58, dropped by the Free Press to reminisce about fighting Hogan and to make some predictions for WrestleMania 23.
QUESTION: What have you been up to and what do you do as a WWE road agent?
ANSWER: I’m actually kind of an ambassador for WWE. I go around the country promoting events for the WWE, pay-per-views, golf tournaments and promote the WWE in general. I help with trying to find new talent, kind of a talent scout, and I also help the current Superstars become better and bigger Superstars. I work under (WWE chairman) Vincent McMahon and just kind of carry out his orders. He’s the general.
Q: Speaking of Vince McMahon, who are you pulling for in the Battle of the Billionaires? (McMahon was challenged by Donald Trump to a WrestleMania match. Trump picked Bobby Lashley to represent him; McMahon chose Umaga. The loser — either Trump or McMahon — will have their head shaved.)
A: Well, I’m going to pull for Donald Trump because I know how much Vince loves his hair. How much he spends on a haircut, we could all maybe make more money if he doesn’t have to get haircuts every couple of hours.
Q: Do you know what’s going to happen?
A: No, I don’t. I know both wrestlers who are involved, and I have to say, Vince McMahon’s got the edge because he’s got a pretty powerful wrestler in Umaga.
Q: So Sarge, what’s your fondest WrestleMania memory?
A: Well, I have a lot of memories of WrestleMania. Unfortunately, one of them, I lost my WWE title at WrestleMania VII to Hulk Hogan, so I can’t say that’s really a fond memory of the match, but there was a wonderful event in the evening because there were so many superstars there from the past and the present… In fact, Donald Trump was in the audience that night…It’s like the Super Bowl of wrestling for us because it’s just one of those nights that everybody’s watching.
Q: What was it like to go against Hulk Hogan?
A: We were kind of married to each other there for a while because of all the sellouts that were happening because I was the bad guy, I was the Iraqi sympathizer, and he was the All-American Hulk Hogan, and it was, you know, good versus evil like they’ve never seen before. And they’ve never seen it since. And it’s unfortunate that we can’t get it back to that. But he was a tough competitor. He took everything I could dish out, and he had this unusual way of conserving his energy, and the Hulkamaniacs gave him that when he really needed it.
Q: Will we ever see you back in the ring?
A: One never knows. You never know what’s going to happen in the WWE.
Q: I mean, there’s all these whispers that Hulk is going to come.
A: We’re a long ways from WrestleMania yet, so a lot of things are going to happen yet.
Q: What is it about WrestleMania that gives it this sustenance?
A: It’s amazing because when tickets go on sale, there’s not even a match announced, and it sells out…It’s amazing how the WWE has gotten where you don’t have to have a wrestling name like a Hulk Hogan or a John Cena to sell out…what makes it so unique is that Raw, SmackDown and ECW all combine on one night…You look at the audience and you’ve got lawyers, doctors, moms out there, kids, it’s a family, family entertainment event.
Q: Why are people so loyal to the WWE?
A: I think it’s just good versus evil. We’re the only entertainment sport where it’s still good versus evil. I don’t understand why hockey players are allowed to fight, why they don’t stop it. Why basketball players start fighting and baseball players with weapons take bats and throw balls at each other.
That’s what we are as wrestlers. That’s what you come to see. I think it’s a unique thing to do, especially with men and women in our sport who are so well trained to do what they do. It’s a unique spectacle.
Q: You’ve said that in the WWE, anything could happen, so if you could pick anybody to go against, who would you pick?
A: I’ve always wanted to wrestle the Rock. I saw him as a little boy when he would come into the locker rooms with his father and grandfather. He blossomed into this performer. I don’t think he was a great wrestler. He wasn’t anything unique as far as ability, but he had a unique way about him. Just the way he talked and his elbows. I would have liked to have wrestled him. He and the Undertaker, I’d love to wrestle.
My all-time favorite would be Vince McMahon. I’d love to wrestle Vince…We always talk about it, when his father was running the company, he said, ‘You know Sarge, I’d love to wrestle, but my dad won’t let me.’ And I said, ‘Why don’t you put a mask on, and I’ll wrestle you?’ ”