Fans surely recall Jesse “The Body” Ventura v. Hulk Hogan on Christmas Day in 1982 (Hogan won.) Ironically, it was in St. Paul, Minnesota–the state where Ventura was born and he would govern from 1999-2003. Today, at 68, he is a radio host for Russia Today in Minnesota.
After an 11-year career as a bad-boy pro wrestler, strutting around the ring in feather boas and leopard-skinned leotards, he took up acting and appeared in several films, including the 1987 thriller Predator. He portrayed a gun-wielding mauler who deadpans, “I ain’t got time to bleed”—a line he reclaimed for the title of his 1999 autobiography. His first foray into politics was as mayor of Brooklyn Park, MN (1991–95). Later in the 1990s he worked as a radio shock jock.
Ventura freely wrestled with the political establishment promoting populist ideas laced with a heavy dose of libertarianism. His surprise gubernatorial victory in Minnesota in 1998 made him the first Reform Party (founded by Ross Perot in 1995) candidate in the country to win statewide office. As governor, he made good on a pledge to support tax rebates and staffed his cabinet with qualified persons across the political spectrum. Ventura left the Reform Party in 2000 and subsequently joined the Independence Party. He decided not seek a second term as governor.
Upon leaving the governor’s office, Ventura worked as a political commentator, continuing to challenge mainstream politics and offering often controversial takes on current events. He hosted television shows reflecting his personal brand of politics such as Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura and The World According to Jesse; the latter aired on Russian state TV. He also published several books, including Don’t Start the Revolution Without Me!
Ventura floated an interest in the presidency this year, but said he would only do so under the Green Party banner. “If I do do it, Trump will not have a chance. For one, Trump knows wrestling. He participated in two WrestleManias. He knows he can never out-talk a wrestler, and he knows I’m the greatest talker wrestling’s ever had.” In an April 27 tweet, the former wrestler stated that he authorized a letter of interest on his behalf to be sent to the Green Party as a means of testing the waters.
Imagine a debate between two of the world’s most renowned talkers!