After decades of terrorizing enemies in the ring (and a famous stint becoming one himself), Robert Remus, better known to fans as Sgt. Slaughter, is a public ambassador for WWE. He can be seen on many nights representing the company at charity events and at local independent wrestling events.
"Part of my job is to send new talent [to WWE]", Slaughter, 65, said in a phone interview on Tuesday promoting WWE's latest DVD releases ("RAW 20th Anniversary Collection" and "The History of WWE: 50 Years of Sports Entertainment").
"I attend a few independent events. WWE has allowed me to go out and do that. The best way to find new talent is to watch them in action. The talent knows that so they put on an extra special show and work hard in their matches. I let them know I'm there to watch, like a drill instructor. If I see someone I feel is worthy and has what the WWE is looking for, I'll take their names and send them in the right direction."
One name in particular that Sarge has helped bring to WWE is Bryan Danielson, aka Daniel Bryan.
"A lot of us saw a lot in Daniel Bryan. He was on that circuit. I brought his name up and sent his picture and resume in pretty much all the time."
When asked how he feels the Daniel Bryan character is being treated in WWE today, Slaughter doesn't hold back.
"I don't think he's being treated fairly. [The people at WWE] are making him work awfully hard to be successful and he's not letting them down. He's working harder than ever. He's like a giant slayer. He takes on the biggest and the best. Kind of like Dolph Ziggler -- he's another talent I thought he wasn't being used right, and I brought it up in several production meetings that they shouldn't do his character as they were.
"It takes time. You can't do it for everybody. For example, a guy like Randy Orton, there wasn't much to teach him inside the ring. I wrestled his grandfather and his father. All the teaching for him was done outside the ring. He was a tough nut to crack. He had a mind of his own, and still does. He's another talent that exceeds and has so much ability."
Many fans remember Sgt. Slaughter as the Iraqi sympathizer, winning the WWE championship from the Ultimate Warrior at the 1991 Royal Rumble. What many people may not know is that in and around this stint, he was asked by Vince McMahon to become part of the backstage brain trust -- a position that led him to help discover one of the most iconic WWE Superstars of all time."One of my all time favorites is The Undertaker, who was in a box of tapes when I was working in the office up in Conneticut. Part of my job was to go through the boxes of letters and resumes. One of them happened to be a young kid by he name of Mark Calaway, who has short red hair and he was working down in WCW. It was a tape and a little letter saying he'd be interested.
"At the time, he was in a tag team. I remember on a Saturday I went to Vince McMahon's office and I said I got this guy you should give a tryout to and Vince said he trusted me. WWE brought him into Rochester, N.Y. I showed Mark where to go, [said], 'You'll be the first match on the show.' Halfway through the match, I was on head set and I hear Vince McMahon say 'Where did you find this guy? Send him to my office.' Mark came out of the ring and asked me how he did, and I said Vince wanted to see him. He thought he did something wrong."
Sarge also shared an interesting story about The Undertaker's name.
"We would have meetings after shows to talk about what happened and plan things out creatively," Slaughter said. "The topic turned to Mark and Vince said he had an idea for a character name and he brought up the name Paul Bearer. The next day I went to Vince and I said I didn't really care for that name for Mark in particular. I thought he looked different than that, and Vince said 'like an Undertaker?' and I said yeah! Maybe we should do Paul Bearer as his manager."
The Undertaker would debut at the 1990 Survivor Series and assume the name "Cain the Undertaker" for a short period of time, with Brother Love as his manager before the late, great William Moody joined him as Paul Bearer.
Slaughter, a WWE Hall of Famer, also shared a fascinating tidbit about The Rock and a possible origin of his famous catchphrase, "It Doesn't Matter."
"I don't know if it was the first time he heard, but I said it to him," Slaughter said. "It was just a thing that I used to say a lot jokingly to friends. Talent was always told to talk to the legends if you have questions, don't just mill around. Rock happened to walk by me and stopped to ask me something, and as he was asking I yelled 'it doesn't matter!' It stopped him in his tracks, and he was startled. I started laughing and he started laughing a little bit and I told him I was only kidding. Rock delivers it a little bit different than how I did, but you get the idea."