In a recent edition of Something to Wrestle, Bruce Prichard discussed Tugboat nearly main eventing WrestleMania VII against Hulk Hogan, the decision to turn Sgt. Slaughter heel, and much more. You can read his comments below.
Bruce Prichard on Tugboat nearly main eventing WrestleMania VII against Hulk Hogan: “I can tell you Warrior/Hogan was never in the cards at all, in any way, shape or form. The WrestleMania poster for WrestleMania VII – having Warrior and Hogan flags on the Coliseum – they were the two biggest stars in the company. That’s it…..there was no Warrior/Hogan, and in the back of Vince’s mind, he may have kind of maybe had been thinking about Sheik Tugboat. But at the same time, it was ‘Sarge is back and let’s try this and see how this works.’ But it was still early to pull that trigger. Sarge coming back – let’s get him in here established as a heel and the winds of change were in the air.”
On convincing Vince to go with Hogan vs. Slaughter instead of Hogan vs. Tugboat: “I wasn’t working in creative on a day-to-day basis, but I know I did talk to Vince about it way back then, as well as Pat. Both of us were like ‘I don’t think that Tugboat is strong enough to do this and pull this off.’ The feeling was going from Tugboat to Sheik Tugboat – we say that, that’s the working name and I’m sure we would’ve changed his name. At the same time – when Sarge was rumored to come back and when you go back and look at 1983 when Sarge left – Sarge was as big as Hogan. So, from a babyface standpoint, you had the two biggest babyfaces from six or seven years ago, but it was a big return with Sarge. It was like the idea of the All-American hero in Sgt. Slaughter turning heel on Hulk Hogan – it just felt a million times bigger. To add to that – again speaking about Jesse Ventura – when they made it legal or not against the law to burn the American flag, and Jesse chuckling that ‘Wouldn’t it be great if Slaughter came back and burned the flag?’ The wheels start turning. You look at that attraction versus having to turn Tugboat, and I don’t know that the audience was really buying Tugboat at the time.”
If using any of the above quotes, please credit Something to Wrestle with an h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.