As seen in the video above, WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter had an in-depth interview with CBS Sports' WFAN. During the discussion, Sgt. addressed his once-controversial rivalry with Hulk Hogan that came to a head in the main event of WrestleMania 7.
Slaughter made a return to the WWE in 1990 after WrestleMania 6 was over, entering as a heel and turning his back on the United States after they began welcoming Russian Star, Nikolai Volkoff. Sgt.'s character of an "Iraqi sympathizer" remained in a heated feud with Hulk Hogan that culminated at WrestleMania 7 the next year. Behind the scenes, Sgt. revealed that the negative response to his character during that time had reached unparalleled levels of intensity. Individuals were even calling WWE offices issuing both bomb & death threats.
"Vince McMahon had called me up after about six years of hiatus from WWE, and he said he just got out of WrestleMania 6 and wanted to do WrestleMania 7," Sgt. said. "So, he's already looking at his main event, and he said, 'Are you ready to go back to work?' I said, 'Yeah, ready.' And he says, 'Well, come on to my house and I'll show you what I've got in mind.' So, I figured he's gonna take Sgt. Slaughter, G.I. Joe, the real American hero, and make him the real, real, real American hero. So I get to his house, he's got this layout of L.A. Colosseum, 104,000 seats, and he says, 'We want you and [Hulk] Hogan to be the main event.' I said, 'Okay, how are we going to make Hulk Hogan the villain?' He said, 'Hulk Hogan? No, he's not going to be the villain. You're going to be the villain!' I said, 'Well, how we gonna do that?'
"So he starts laying out the Iraqi sympathizer, and you think America's got weak, and a little country like Iraq taking over Kuwait and running the world, and you're back and you're not happy," Sgt. continued. "I said, 'Okay.' He said, 'Well, go home and talk to your family about it because it could be a little rough.' It was [financially] beneficial, yeah. But we had bomb threats, death threats every night. I came home from back to Philadelphia after winning the title from the Ultimate Warrior in Miami at the Royal Rumble, and one of the backstage hands said, 'Hey, have you talked to your wife?' And I said, 'No.' 'Have you talked to Vince McMahon?' 'No.' We didn't have cell phones, so, I get on the phone, my wife's answering machine. I call Vince, 'Oh yeah, Sgt., I just talked to your wife and I sent her to a hotel.' I said, 'What happened?' Well, somebody called up the wrestling office this morning and said they're gonna kill you, and kill me, and kill our families; Blow up our houses and cars."
Sgt. admitted that he did take the threats pretty seriously, but regardless, he was pleased that he was receiving such immense heat from his work. The one segment Sgt. refused to partake in involved him burning the American flag on television.
"I took it pretty serious, and then again, I thought, well, I guess I did my job right. I never really regretted it. The only time that I ever really had a problem with it was when they wanted me to burn an American flag and I wouldn't do that. So, I gave them a better idea: I thought, put the Hulk Hogan shirt on a flag pole and I'll burn that and say, 'It's Americana!' So, that's what we did and I think that it got the right type of 'heat,' as we say in our business."
You can listen to the full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WFAN with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.