There was a very strange and wonderful period of time in the late 1980s and early 1990s where Sgt. Slaughter, actual real (enough) person and successful pro wrestler, lent his voice and wild visage to the G.I. Joe franchise. He had several action figures in the G.I. Joe line, he introduced episodes of the G.I. Joe television series and issued orders to us, and he was a central part of G.I. Joe: The Movie.
What this all means is that the history of WWE is almost certainly canon with the history and universe of G.I. Joe. Which is pretty great. But arguably even more people know Slaughter through the Hasbro stuff than for his actual in-ring work. So in honor of Slaughter, and G.I. Joe, and hell, America, let’s relive the very best of Sarge as presented through the medium of G.I. Joe.
Those amazing toy commercials
Slaughter got to host pretty much every G.I. Joe toy commercial for years, and they’re all tiny works of art. Slaughter also looks like he’s having the time of his life, but that’s mostly because he’s not having to bleed for 20 minutes while fighting Nikolai Volkoff of whatever.
And he even got his very own special song, kind of!
Sgt. Slaughter debuts by single-handedly taking out like 500 robots
When Joe HQ is overrun by Cobra and a legion of B.A.T.S., everything appears hopeless … until Sgt. Slaughter rides in on a one-person tank, LEAPS OUT OF THE TANK, and then proceeds to royally f*ck up Cobra’s entire Christmas. It’s one of the most incredible, bombastic, over-the-top debuts ever, and I love it with all my heart.
Finding out Sgt. Slaughter is fifth in command of all members of G.I. Joe
This absolutely blew my mind as a child back when I saw the episode “The Most Dangerous Thing in the World.” Dr. Mindbender laid out a plan to undermine G.I. Joe by … promoting soldiers who were unorganized. I think that’s what made Vine go under, too. A screen showed the chain of command in order, and I’m pretty sure every other viewer did the same quadruple-take I did.
Like, yeah, obviously General Hawk is the leader of G.I. Joe. Duh, he’s the general. And of course Duke is second in command. Flint at No. 3? Yeah, sure, whatever. But then … BEACH HEAD?! And SARGE?! What in the holy hell is all of this? I mean, it’s not like there were many top-ranking dudes running around, but come on. Stalker? Hell, even Breaker. SOMEONE who’s been around since the very beginning of the Joe series. Or hey, I dunno, how about Scarlett you patriarchal jackasses?
Anyway, Sgt. Slaughter is like four laser blasts away from running all of G.I. Joe. Maybe they determined the chain of command by chin prominence?
Making every child terrified via extreme close-up
As noted above, Slaughter introduced and provided bumpers and “next time” previews for numerous episodes of G.I. Joe, and did so by using copious amounts of the phrases “Listen up,” “maggots,” “puke,” and “that’s an order.” Combine this with the fact that Slaughter has possibly the most face of anyone who ever lived, and you have the potential for great trauma. But we loved the weirdo, and these introductions both made G.I. Joe feel tethered to the real world, and made the show feel like a big deal.
Kicking immense ass in G.I. Joe: The Movie
A huge portion of G.I. Joe: The Movie (which is still awesome, by the way, Big Lob notwithstanding) is that ne’er-do-well and/or cad Lt. Falcon is air-dropped into Sgt. Slaughter’s torture-hole as part of an elaborate quasi-court martial in order to teach the dude some friggin’ discipline already. We’re introduced to Slaughter’s Renegades, who immediately became every schoolyard kid’s favorites. A Cobra defector who is a complete bad-ass? Yeah, dude. We’ll take it.
Slaughter, Falcon, and the new Joe recruits end up turning the tide in the climactic battle with Cobra-La, and Sarge gets to single-handedly kill(?) the biggest badass of the film, Nemesis Enforcer (also the best name for a metal band) via body-slam, elbow drop, axe-handle, and chokeslam.
Man, that movie ruled.