When the WWE related A&E Biography episodes gets it right, they can knock it out of the park. Sunday’s episode on Sgt. Slaughter deserves a salute for doing it correctly.

It’s mainly because it told the whole story of Bob Remus, bringing in his wife and kids, and a sister, plus a few people away from the usual talking heads, like his high school football coach. The home videos and photos were magical, and perhaps the most emotional part of the whole episode was him talking about his mom dying from cancer … though both Diane and Bob giving their perspectives on how the wrestling business led to their divorce was pretty damn close. Though, like a great wrestling angle, they reconciled, and showed off their grandkids.

But it’s also important to say that this is still a WWE production and Sarge has been a company man for a long, long time, as a wrestler, agent and ambassador. He knows where his bread is buttered.

To claim that his epic, bloody Alley Fight against Pat Patterson from 1981 “made him a household name” is misleading in a time before national promotions. That tape sure got duplicated a lot in the ensuing years (where I saw it), and Shawn Michaels saying it was recently shown to the NXT prospects is pretty cool.

When Busted Open radio host Dave LaGreca said that it was being a real-life G.I. Joe that made Slaughter a household name, that was more realistic – and true. There probably could be a whole collecting-relating episode just with Sarge’s garage, looking at all the G.I. Joe merch. (For one, I didn’t know that an LJN-sized Sgt. Slaughter figure was released by Hasbro, but slightly bigger than the WWF ones.)

The real disrespect happened with the blink and you missed it coverage of his time with Jim Crockett Promotions, where he was NWA World tag team champion with Don Kernodle, having epic matches with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood, which drew huge houses. Heck, Youngblood’s name wasn’t even mentioned.

Seemingly more time was spent on the fact that the Remus family move to North Carolina than his time in Charlotte.

But again, that’s what I liked about this – it was a human documentary.

Hearing from his wife, Diane, throughout, and her dislike for the business, brought perspective. Then to hear about the death threats he got as an Iraqi sympathizer at the start of the Gulf War? WWF even assigned armed guards to their home. Yikes.

Hearing from his daughters brought empathy, even if, as Kelly said, there was “childhood trauma” from watching her dad bleed against the Iron Sheik when they were in the front row at a WWF show in the Poconos. I loved that they touched on all his charity work and didn’t skip over his stint on the indies; for a time, he and Wendi Richter—two WWF exiles—were the top stars outside of the big companies.

They also could have skipped the whole time in the military thing, which probably would have happened a decade ago. Instead, Remus took us through how he saw the 1957 movie, The D.I., and was “mesmerized” and thought a drill sergeant would be a great villain. The name Sgt. Slaughter came from another movie, Jackie Gleason’s character’s name in 1963’s Soldier in the Rain.

Strategically, Biography brought it up when addressing the height of his popularity, celebrated by thousands and invited to the White House to meet Ronald Reagan.

“I wanted to be in the military,” Remus said. “I never served in the military but Sgt. Slaughter has.” It was a good wordplay, and fair.

Towards the end, Remus noted that “I’m never out of character” and that people often confuse reality and entertainment, but that he never did. He apologized if anyone was upset over the misleading sense that he served in the military.

The main part of the story is pretty well known to fans, and they didn’t dwell on feuds too much, keeping the show moving. Contributors included announcers Bob Costas and Sam Roberts, and wrestlers Hulk Hogan, Ted DiBiase, “Road Dogg” Brian James, Hacksaw Duggan, Ricky Steamboat, The Miz, Mick Foley, Greg Gagne, Bret Hart. It would have been great to hear from “General” Adnan Al Kaissie too, but perhaps WWE never filmed him back in the day, the way Biography was able to use vintage footage of Iron Sheik or Pat Patterson talking about Slaughter.

It’s a different time, with Bruce Prichard as the main talking corporate head, Vince McMahon nowhere to be seen (just heard on commentary, and briefly on a Tuesday Night Titans clip).

The old company line about WrestleMania 7—Hogan challenging Slaughter for the WWF World title—being moved from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where they were aiming for 100,000+ to the smaller Sports Arena, was always because of security concerns. In this new, more honest world, Prichard said that ticket sales were soft, that WWF didn’t want a “statement made at one of our events”, and perhaps most accurately given world events, “a lot of it was not under our control.”

Sarge even talked a bit about being a stooge / agent, always on the screen breaking up fights, and performing as an authority figurehead. But even better, he addressed life as a talent scout, watching tapes to find the next WWF stars. “I did everything else in the ring that I could possibly do,” Slaughter said. He is truly a great ambassador for WWE and, even better, the wrestling business.

A clip from 2004 was played, and Slaughter showed off his ring: “WWE Hall of Fame, that means everything to me.” From the company man comes the company line, but you know he means it too.

We’ll leave the last word with Hogan though, who, while he is usually known for hyperbole, in this case he was spot on: “The character of Sgt. Slaughter is going to live forever.”