WWE Hall Of Famer Sgt Slaughter has recalled the bizarre prank he pulled on The Ultimate Warrior that involved pulling out a potato in a steel cage match. Yes that’s right, a potato was used during a match!
Slaughter worked with Ultimate Warrior throughout the first quarter of 1991 even defeating Warrior for the WWF Championship at the 1991 Royal Rumble – with more than a little help from Randy Savage. It was Slaughter’s first and only time as the WWE Champion.
Speaking exclusively to Inside The Ropes’ own Kenny McIntosh for issue 6 of Inside The Ropes magazine, Sgt Slaughter has recalled his time working with Warrior and why after one match he had to have a little talk with Warrior in the showers:
“The first time I worked with the Warrior, Vince McMahon warned me, ‘I hope you’re ready because the Warrior is stout. He’s not soft. And I don’t know if you ever wrestled him or not, but he’s a handful.’ I said, ‘Well, I’ll get through it, I’ll be OK.’ In the first match we had, after he hit me with the first clothesline I couldn’t get up. I was seeing stars—the whole building was moving in a circle. I finally got the cobwebs out of my head and finished the match. I probably had a concussion but back then we didn’t think much about those things.”
“Afterwards I saw Warrior sat talking to somebody and I motioned for him to meet me in the shower—that’s where we always have our meetings. He walked in and shook my hand and he said, ‘Thanks, man, that was great.’ I said, ‘Good, but if you ever hit me with a clothesline like that again, it’s not going to be so great.’ He said, ‘What? Was that a little stiff?’ ‘Stiff?’ I replied, ‘I couldn’t even get up for the next one. Are you trying to kill me?’ He was like, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ like a little kid. I said, ‘Warrior, we’re in this for the long haul and I’ve got to do all these matches. You’re going to kill me if you continue to do those things.’ He goes, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll be OK.’ I told him, ‘Don’t back off from what you’re doing. Just be careful. Look where you’re aiming, you know?’”
With the warning seemingly heeded, Sgt Slaughter decided to play a joke on his opponent, whipping out the biggest Idaho potato he could get his hands on during a bout:
“I played a little joke on him one time after that. Before we had our last cage match together—I believe it was in Orlando—I stopped at a market and bought a vegetable. During the match, when he hit me with that clothesline, this vegetable went flying up in the air and started bouncing all around the ring. It was an Idaho potato, the biggest one I could find. When somebody hurts you, if you continue to get it, we call it a ‘potato’ or something like ‘Idaho’—that means you’re too stiff. So when he hit me with that clothesline, I had the potato inside my trunks and I threw it up in the air, and that thing started bouncing all over the ring. It was like a jelly bean. And he stopped mid-stride and went over and picked up the potato, and he was looking at it—he was almost talking to it. He looked up and he saw we were in a cage. ‘How did this damn thing get in here? How did this potato get in here?’ Then it registered to him that it was me—that I brought that potato and it was a joke, from the first match we ever had where he potatoed me and almost killed me.”
“He started to laugh—and I never, ever, saw him laugh—and he was laughing at the top of his lungs, trying to shove that potato down my throat. He said, ‘You son of a bitch. You brought that potato.’ I said, ‘Well, you potatoed me!’ After the match he jumped over to my locker room and he said, ‘You son of a . . . That’s the greatest rib that’s ever been played on me,’ and we both had a good laugh about it.”
Sgt Slaughter then recalled his final meeting with the Ultimate Warrior, over WrestleMania 30 weekend in 2014. Warrior was inducted into the 2014 Hall Of Fame on Saturday and made one more appearance on The Grandest Stage Of Them All the next night in New Orleans’ Superdome. Tragically on the following Tuesday, Warrior collapsed and died of a heart attack at the age of 54 years old:
“Before the Hall of Fame in 2014 [where Warrior was being inducted in his first WWE appearance in 18 years], I stopped at a market and got a potato, put it in a bag, and wrapped it up. I even put a bow on it. I thought, ‘That would be a funny joke.’ I looked around for him at the show but he was busy doing his promos so I couldn’t find him. I listened to him speak and I enjoyed it, then after the ceremony, I went to look for him again because I still had the package and I wanted to give it to him. I didn’t see him—they were rushing us out of there because it was like one in the morning.”
“So the next day, at WrestleMania, they introduced the Hall of Famers on the stage. And I said, ‘Well, I’ll find him during the day.’ I looked all over, all day long, then finally I just gave up and thought, ‘What the hell, I’ll just go back to my locker room and watch the last match.’ So as I was walking back to my locker room, I looked through a doorway and there he was, standing there doing a promo with a camera crew. So I walked in and I was listening to it and he stopped and said, ‘Oh, my God, Sgt. Slaughter! I can’t believe it.’ I said ‘Congratulations,’ and all this and that, then I said, ‘I have this package for you. I didn’t know if I should give it to you.’ He goes, ‘What is it?’ I opened it up and I pulled out this potato, and he just went crazy.”
“He got a camera crew to come over and had me tell the story. While I was trying to tell the story he was interrupting me and telling the story to the cameras about how he saw that thing bounce around the ring. Afterward, I said ‘Well, I hope I see you down the road. I hope our paths get to cross again. It was a great night when Vince McMahon told me I was going to be wrestling you and when our paths crossed. I hope our paths continue to cross.’ He said the same thing, then he said, ‘I couldn’t have asked for anybody better to be in the ring with me than you,’ and off I went. That was the last time I spoke to him.”
To read the full interview with Sgt Slaughter then you can order issue 6 of Inside The Ropes magazine here or subscribe to get great wrestling interviews, features, and a whole lot more delivered to your door or available to download every single month.