Sgt. Slaughter has signed a new multi-year deal with Hasbro to get back into the fight with G.I. Joe. The Hall of Famer appeared on the latest Hasbro Pulse streaming event and revealed his first figure in the popular 6-inch collectors’ line, G.I. Joe Classified. Hasbro officials showed an image of the figure based on his appearance in the 1987 animated film G.I. Joe: The Movie.
The hardened drill instructor is a pop culture icon in and out of the ring. WWE released a Sgt. Slaughter figure last summer under Mattel’s Ultimate Edition line as a San Diego Comic-Con exclusive that sold out in minutes. Many were surprised at Slaughter’s reenlistment with G.I. Joe due to partnering with Valaverse for a crowd-funded action figure in 2020.
Several G.I. Joe characters were based on real people. Rocky Balboa was almost included in the line as the Joe’s combat instructor. At the last minute, Sylvester Stallone killed the deal in favor of the Rambo franchise. Stallone passing on G.I. Joe allegedly helped Slaughter get the gig as he wowed Hasbro executives and arrived at the meeting in a camouflaged limo.
Remember when Vince McMahon Sr. fired Hulk Hogan in 1980 for taking the role of Thunder Lips in Rocky III? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as Vince McMahon Jr. refused to let Slaughter go through with the deal since WWE had a toy contract with Hasbro rival LJN. McMahon issued an ultimatum, and Slaughter chose G.I. Joe.
The only Sgt. Slaughter wrestling figure currently available at retail is Mattel’s WWE Elite 89 series based on his Iraqi Sympathizer gimmick in the early 90s. While Slaughter became WWE Champion and headlined WrestleMania 7 with the controversial persona, wrestling fans prefer their military action hero with camo fatigues championing the stars and stripes.
While the Valaverse figure is a highly militarized offering armed with a bowie knife, heavy sidearm, and grenade launcher, the G.I. Joe: Classified figure will resemble Slaughter’s (babyface) squared circle exploits. No on-sale or pre-order date was announced by Hasbro during the stream.
G.I Joe’s offering will serve as a worthwhile substitute until WWE either rereleases the Comic-Con exclusive or produces a new version of a famed hero.