Some didn’t spend their Fourth of July at the beach or barbequing. Instead, they embraced their inner-nerdom at the Florida Supercon at the Miami Airport Convention Center.
The eighth annual event kicked off on America’s birthday and continues through Sunday, July 7 with a full lineup of wrestling stars, voice actors, TV legends, artists and more.
Among those in attendance was Sgt. Slaughter, who has been an iconic figure of American patriotism throughout his career. However, the WWE Hall of Famer isn’t just known for his success in the ring, but as the model for the popular character in G.I. Joe.
“It’s great for people to come up to me here,” Slaughter said. “I just had a lady who came up with her nephew who said, ‘I grew up watching Sgt. Slaughter on G.I. Joe. I didn’t watch wrestling, but I did watch G.I. Joe.’ He happened to be a big G.I. Joe fan also. She shows him the animated movies and cartoons I was in. He was like, ‘That was really you. You were the real guy?’ I said, ‘Yeah. I’m the original G.I. Joe. The first animated live character.’ So it’s a lot of fun.”
The “Sarge” gets a thrill when people ask for an autograph, take a photo with him or ask to be put in the Cobra Clutch, his famous pro wrestling finisher. Having the event on this holiday brings an added feeling of appreciation.
“It’s a real honor here to be the ambassador for WWE and to represent them, but I’m probably ambassador for a lot of American institutions out there,” Slaughter said. “Freedom is not free. For us to be here today or go to a baseball game or have a wrestling match or just enjoy our day came with a lot of sacrifice. Some of them had to give their lives for us to do these kinds of things. It’s a real honor to them. So happy 237th birthday America, and don’t take it for granted. Enjoy every day, not just the Fourth of July.”
Fellow WWE Hall of Famer Hacksaw Jim Duggan is also known to represent the red, white and blue with pride. He finds it interesting to compare wrestling conventions with comic book ones.
“Just last weekend I did a totally wrestling convention up in Rhode Island,” Duggan said. “There was nothing like this. We didn’t have nearly as good a turnout. So it’s great to be here, as this is really a pop culture convention. It’s great. I get a lot of fathers who bring their sons or daughters up and say, ‘I was watching this guy when I was your age.’ So it’s nice to be remembered after all these years. It just shows the appeal to professional wrestling to all age groups…I wrestled Yokozuna here at the Miami Arena back in the day. He almost broke me in two. He did a big Japanese splash.”
For Hacksaw, it’s an honor to be seen as such a prominent patriot.
“A lot of folks go, ‘Hacksaw, you’re an American hero,’” Duggan said. “I say, ‘No, no I’m a guy who is privileged to carry our flag. The American heroes are all those brave men and women out there who keep us safe and free.”
Theodus Crane, known for his role as “Big Tiny” on the hit show “The Walking Dead”, has the size of a pro wrestler and a background in fighting. He enjoys conventions like the Florida Supercon because it not only gives him the chance to meet interesting folks but lets him be a fan, too.