Early in 2023, Lacey Evans returned to WWE television with a new gimmick playing up her real-life military background. She used the Cobra Clutch submission as her finishing move during this time.
WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter is the man who popularized that move, and the rumor mill indicated WWE wanted to bring him in kayfabe to pass the move down to Lacey. That never happened. Instead, Slaughter (and his daughter) got into a bizarre social media spat with Lacey over gimmick infringement. Slaughter later explained that he felt disrespected by the fact that he wasn’t asked for his blessing for her to use the move.
During a new interview with Chris Van Vliet, Lacey responded to a question about that situation by saying Slaughter and his daughter can kiss her ass:
“I think they’re frickin’ weak...And no disrespect to Hall of Famers in WWE that have paved the way. Yeah, he can kiss my ass, and his daughter can too.
...I don’t know where the hell that came from. They know the game. You go to work. You get told this is what you’re doing...a lot of people don’t know what was said and what was done, and how they discussed it with him and they talked to him. That is none of my damn concern.”
Lacey continued by saying there is a power structure in WWE, similar to the military, and her job was to carry out orders from above to the best of her ability:
“You tell me what the fuck you need, you tell me what time the bell rings, and I’ll do whatever it is ‘cause I got a family to feed, a husband to love, and I say that with conviction. Because I made sure I was in shape. I made sure I could do the flippy flops, the drop downs. I made sure to create the character.
They told me you’re gonna go out, you’re gonna do the Cobra Clutch and he’s gonna come in and help, and then whatever happened happened. Next thing you know he’s not out here, I’m still doing the Cobra Clutch. But don’t get mad at me, because I’m doing my job. You know what I mean?
Or, let’s have that conversation, right? And at no point was that conversation ever had.”
I don’t have much sympathy for tradition in cases like this. There isn’t much reason to think Lacey had a lot of political stroke behind the scenes in WWE to get things changed. If they told her to go out and use the Cobra Clutch, then she did exactly what she should have done.
If Slaughter wants to get upset about the lack of communication about it, he should focus his criticism on WWE for not reaching out to him about it. It’s not Evans’ responsibility to go out of her way to find the man’s contact info and ask him if it’s okay if she can do the job WWE is asking her to do. There were plenty of people in WWE much better positioned to have that conversation with him than Lacey Evans.
Based on Lacey’s answer, someone in WWE did indeed tell her that Slaughter would be on TV as part of her story at some point. That makes WWE’s apparent lack of communication with Slaughter even more confusing.
Later in the interview, Lacey considered the possibility that Slaughter was staying in character and just expressing kayfabe outrage about the Cobra Clutch, but she said she doesn’t play kayfabe games like that. Who knows, even retired wrestlers sometimes can’t stop working, but it would seem like he’s pointlessly stirring up drama with no payoff if that’s what he was doing.
What do you make of all the Cobra Clutch outrage, Cagesiders?