7 Things We Learned From WWE Most Wanted Treasures: Sgt. Slaughter / Iron Sheik
Wrestling fans were treated to an inside look at legends, The Iron Sheik and Sgt. Slaughter, during the May 16 episode of WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures on A&E.
Despite his run as Isiah Swerve Scott’s big nasty heater, Top Dollar; AJ Francis is actually a really likable guy. Thanks to his role on WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures, he has also gotten to learn the tips of the trade and share some old-time stories with some of wrestling’s greatest. This week’s episode is no different and Francis is transported to an era before Hulkamania ran wild.
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Francis signed up for duty alongside Hall Of Famer Sgt. Slaughter to help track down some relics of the past and discuss the legend of GI Joe’s greatest wrestler and one of his greatest feuds with the vile madman from Iran, The Iron Sheik.
Sgt. Slaughter Vs. The Iron Sheik
Boot Camp Match
You can’t begin a search for sacred items without heading to the WWE Warehouse first. Triple H reminisced with Sarge about their own bootcamp match and their history together before enlisting him to find some old memorabilia. Ben Brown had explained that the warehouse had a lot of Slaughter items but is lacking Sarge’s Campaign Cover and his Swagger Stick. Thanks to Sheik’s prominence being slightly before the WWE’s rise to prominence, there wasn’t a lot of Iron Sheik items, particularly his iconic curl-toed boots. The WWE also wanted to get their hands on the Persian Clubs.
Slaughter & Sheik Were Friends
They might have shed each other’s blood in the ring in a nasty Bootcamp match, amongst others, but the Sarge and The Iron Sheik were actually good friends. They first met when Slaughter came to learn under the tutelage of Verne Gagne, and Sheik was already there as a trainer as well.
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To earn extra cash on the side, Sarge and his dad had owned a roofing company that Khosrow had worked for – for Slaughter, it was a treat to see his friend transform from mild-mannered into the wild Iron Sheik.
A Visit With Mr. Bob Backlund
The Persian Club challenge was where Sheik would challenge opponents to try and manage the massive 75-pound clubs. The search began with AJ and Sarge headed to visit with Bob Backlund; the only other superstar to be able to wield the clubs. According to Sarge, Sheik had gifted them to Backlund. Backlund seemed to still be hot about Slaughter whipping him with the Swagger Stick and tried to cripple AJ by putting him in the Crossface Chicken Wing…
The Persian Clubs
…But he did have the clubs, two pair in fact. Sheik wailed on Bobby with the clubs after nearly completing the challenge, which set the stage for The Iron Sheik defeating Backlund to become the WWE Champion. As for the other pair, AJ challenged Mr. Backlund – if he would be able to complete the challenge, he’d be allowed to leave Backlund’s home with them and bring them to the Warehouse – which was a success. Backlund praised Francis for his efforts and handed over the clubs.
The Curled-Toe Boots
The search for the Sheik’s curled toe boots led Sarge and AJ to Long Island, New York, and to collector John Pantozzi. Sarge regaled AJ with the story of he and Sheik, leading up to the Bootcamp match. Pantozzi not only had the boots, but the entire original line of WWE figures signed by each legend, including the Sgt. Slaughter figure that you had to send away for.
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The boots have a slew of Sarge’s own DNA on them. Pantozzi refused to let the boots go without paying $510o for them, which Sarge and “Top Dollar” easily ponied up. After inspection of the boot by Ben Brown, it was revealed that it wasn’t the boot from the Bootcamp match, but it was a boot he wore in the WrestleMania 2 battle royal.
G.I. Joe Came Calling / Iraqi Turncoat
Looking for a new spokesperson, GI Joe wanted their first-ever real-life spokesperson, which is what made Sarge famous around the world, even as Hulkamania was gaining in popularity. Eventually, Vince would call him about headlining WrestleMania VII. Slaughter actually questioned how hard it would be to make Hulk a heel. Vince clued him in that it was Slaughter who they wanted to be the heel. He became an Iraqi sympathizer. Some fans took it very seriously and actually made death threats to the man and his family.
The Campaign Cover & Swagger Stick
Hat And Stick
Sarge has invited AJ and the WWE Universe to his home while they searched for two parts of Slaughter’s iconic ring gear. But he also showed AJ the gold coin that you needed to have to get admission into Stephanie and Triple H’s much-blessed wedding.
Sarge explained that he got the idea for the character by watching Jack Webb as Gunnery Sgt. Jim Moore in a movie called The DI. After assuring Mrs. Slaughter that he wasn’t dressing up for Halloween, he was off to the races. Slaughter had actually kept his very first Campaign Cover and the only Swagger Stick he ever needed. Slaughter humbly donated the items to the Warehouse.