A journey that took him from the equally crazy worlds of professional wrestling and American politics, Jesse “The Body” Ventura paved the way for so many people–in BOTH worlds!
I grew up as a huge fan of politics & professional wrestling. They appealed to me for many of the same reasons:
- Both featured great communicators. Whether it was Bill Clinton talking about feeling our pain, or Ric Flair talking about riding Space Mountain, as a shy kid I admired people that could talk a good game.
- They were adversarial in nature. In wrestling you had good guys & bad guys. In politics you had the Democrats & the Republicans. Wrestling going to shades of grey during the late 90s followed in the footsteps of politics. Sometimes you didn’t know who to root for.
A lot of people my age or older are bitter over how the wrestling business has evolved. Maybe part of the reason I’m not as bitter over the state of wrestling is because I reserve most of my bitterness for the state of politics. Government is a much more important endeavor than sports entertainment, yet I think the average pro wrestler takes their profession & responsibility to their supporters more seriously than the average politician.
This isn’t a new development. That’s why I always thought that somebody that was hugely successful in pro wrestling could translate well to politics, given that they had a focused message and weren’t a complete train wreck out of the ring. They had a similar skill set to good politicians, and they cared more.
I wasn’t in the majority on this. After all, wrestling was a silly, uncouth bit of nonsense. People thought that all wrestlers were unintelligent maniacs that had to resort to beating themselves up to make a buck. The idea of a lowly wrestler sitting in public office instead of an intelligent lawyer or businessman or someone that had grown up in the political game was insanity.
Politics + Wrestling
Back in 1998, the idea of Jesse “The Body” Ventura being elected Governor of Minnesota was laughable to most observers. It wasn’t to me. While Jesse did have an in-ring career of some note, he is far more remembered in pro wrestling for his time as a color commentator. He had the gift of gab. He could talk intelligently & make people believe that whatever he said was real. Of course that would translate to politics!
He wasn’t the first man to step behind the microphone and call matches as a heel. Gordon Solie was joined on commentary from time to time by heels over the years, Roddy Piper being the most notable among those men. Jesse was the first to do it on a full-time basis for a national promotion, and he changed the expectations people had for wrestling announcing. Now, people expect a heel color commentator, and are disappointed when they don’t have one. Corey Graves can thank Jesse for his current role on WWE television. As much as we all love Bobby Heenan, it was Jesse’s absence while filming movies that gave him the chance to co-host Prime Time Wrestling & get all those commentary gigs at various arenas sitting next to Gorilla Monsoon. Which is another reason we are all thankful for Jesse Ventura…he stepped aside & gave us that Gorilla/Bobby magic.
Not a Fountain of Misinformation
Jesse claimed to call it like it was. He gave the babyfaces credit when they deserved it, but would also call them (and his broadcast colleague) out on their blatant hypocrisy. He typically defended the heels, but would acknowledge when they made bone-headed mistakes & deserved to lose. I do think the line he treaded is something that a lot of heel announcers after him failed to appreciate. You need to have some level of credibility. Jesse had it, most of the people after him didn’t.
And let’s be honest, everything bad he said about Hulk Hogan ended up being 100% accurate! The man formed the New World Order and was also a racist. Not the type of guy that the kiddies should be looking up to.
“The Body” Becomes “The Mind”
Despite being a great communicator, a war veteran, a former mayor & much more charismatic than his opponents in the election, not to mention having a stronger Internet presence than the others, Ventura was still considered the underdog due to his wrestling background. The world was shocked when the voters of Minnesota elected Ventura Governor on November 3, 1998. The polling had indicated that his two opponents were neck & neck several points in front of him. Norm Coleman was a career politician & Skip Humphrey was a career politician whose father was a Vice President of the United States and had the Metrodome named after him.
The odds & the polls were stacked against Ventura, but Jesse appealed to voters that were off the radar of the pollsters. Does this sound familiar to anybody else?
They Shocked The World
Ventura scoffs at the idea that he paved the way for the man currently seated in the Oval Office. While he & Donald Trump were friendly at one time, Trump’s right-wing policies since ramping up his political activity don’t sit well with Ventura. Ventura currently lives in Mexico, and finds Trump’s immigration policies offensive. However, one can’t deny that Ventura crashing through the celebrity barrier paved the way. Other people with more experience in television than politics would follow.
Jesse’s good friend & co-star in multiple movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger, became Governor of California. Arnold was always serious about politics, but the idea of him getting elected was doubtful until Jesse’s win in Minnesota. Jesse’s not very good friend Hulk Hogan considered a run for President, as he figured that if Jesse could be a governor, being President would be easy for the Hulkster, brother. An interview with Jay Leno on political matters put that thought to a halt. Jerry Lawler, Bob Backlund & several other wrestlers ran for various offices with limited success.
They Got Entrenched
It wasn’t until recently that political aspirants with wrestling backgrounds saw more success. WWE Hall of Famer Trump pushed the door even more open by naming Linda McMahon the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. To her credit, she’s one of the few Trump cabinet-level appointees that hasn’t done anything illegal, illicit or otherwise questionable. Linda had two high-profile Senate runs in Connecticut that didn’t result in much success. Does a McMahon even make it past a Senate primary without others paving the way to make “wrestler” an ok thing for a politician to have been? Probably not.
Glenn Jacobs did what Jerry Lawler couldn’t do & got elected mayor of a major city in Tennessee. At one time, Kane was a die-hard Libertarian that abhorred politics. Now he’s a run of the mill Trump Republican. The road was easier.
Trump Made It Bigger
If anything, Trump took Ventura’s road to success to the next level. Ventura ran as a third party candidate. He was able to use his force of personality on the people, but the politicians often didn’t go along for the ride. Maybe Ventura could have ran as a Democrat or Republican & found success. Neither party represented what he stood for. He wasn’t going to compromise. Trump was able to reach forgotten people like Ventura did, but he took it a step further. He made the Republican Party go along for the ride. He’s re-shaped the GOP in his own image. He didn’t have to compromise either.
Jesse Ventura had a large role in sending politics & wrestling in their current direction. Maybe it’s not the direction his supporters would have liked. One can’t deny that he paved the way for the people responsible for both.
Dr. Frankenstein didn’t like his monster either.
Kota Ibushi Headlining Wrestle Kingdom 14 : All But A Done Deal ?
Now that Ibushi lost the championship which meant so much to him and the G1 Climax coming up, does he come in as the favorite to win it all and headline Wrestle Kingdom ?
Now that Ibushi lost the championship which meant so much to him and the G1 Climax coming up, does he come in as the favorite to win it all and headline Wrestle Kingdom ?
At Dominion this past Sunday, Kota Ibushi was facing Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, in a battle where both men once again threw it all on the line. But this time, it was Naito who prevailed and recaptured the championship, for the 4th time.
A few months ago, I wrote about Kota Ibushi after he announced he signed a full-time contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling, mainly stating that the Golden Star was looking to win championships to cement himself as one of New Japan’s top stars, starting 2019. At G1 Supercard last April, Ibushi claimed the Intercontinental Championship from Tetsuya Naito, thus winning his second title as a Heavyweight in the company. Here we are past Dominion and Ibushi is now, surprisingly or not, left without the championship he won not so long ago… Again. For a good amount of fans, this loss confirms Ibushi’s status of favourite to win the G1 Climax this year, which to be fair, is a solid point in itself. After all, in both 2016 and 2017, Kenny Omega and Tetsuya Naito did lose the Intercontinental championship in Osaka-Jo Hall and went on to win the tournament.
However, I would like to ask : Is it the right time to write what would be the last chapter of Ibushi’s story ?
I will start things off by stating the overall reason this thought came up first. Kota Ibushi lacks the build and credibility to not only win the G1 Climax, but also to eventually become IWGP Heavyweight Champion.
Let’s not kid ourselves. If Ibushi is indeed winning the G1 this year, most people will expect him to defeat Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom. Now, think about this : Since claiming his first championship as a Heavyweight in New Japan last December, Kota Ibushi only had once successful title defense. The point with this is, besides winning the New Japan Cup four years ago, besides performing very well in previous G1’s, even making it to the finals last year, and adding some gold to his waist, Ibushi is still a bit unproven compared to both Okada and Naito. He is unproven because he has yet to cement himself as a defending champion within the Heavyweight ranks. Becoming IC champion was a big step in the right direction, but not managing to hold on to the title for longer than two months did not put him in the most favorable position to ultimately claim the Heavyweight Championship. Now, winning the G1 would also be a step forward, but this is where I remind you of Kenny Omega, who won the G1 after a fairly short IC title run in the first year of his Heavyweight stint, in a context where New Japan badly needed new stars, and someone to fill in for AJ Styles. As we all know, he ultimately lost to Okada in the Tokyo Dome and their rivalry grew from there.
The current context however is quite different when looking at Ibushi’s case. New Japan doesn’t desperately need to elevate people like it was in 2016, but they need to build these already elevated people up more than they currently are, so the responsibility of carrying the IWGP Heavyweight Championship doesn’t solely revolve around Okada and possibly Naito for the next couple of years. In that regard, when it comes to Ibushi, what he needs first and foremost is a decently long, as well as meaningful, championship run.
Let’s now take a moment to look at Ibushi’s inability to defend championships from the opposite perspective. Let’s assume the Golden Star manages to win the G1, how can anyone be certain he makes it to Wrestle Kingdom with the G1 contract ? Granted, since the G1 winner has to defend his rights to main event the Tokyo Dome, no one actually lost them. Yet again, Ibushi has barely managed to defend anything he has held in New Japan since becoming a Heavyweight. Lastly, in such a context, as most will be expecting Ibushi’s G1 win to result in him becoming IWGP Heavyweight Champion because this actually makes perfect sense from a storytelling standpoint, having him lose at Wrestle Kingdom is out of the question.
While I could go on with the different scenarios concerning Ibushi, let’s wrap things up by slightly touching on the new Intercontinental Champion, Tetsuya Naito. Naito has spent most of the year focusing on his new goal of becoming the first man to hold the Heavyweight and IC Championships at the same time. Now that he once again is in position to achieve this goal, we can wonder what this means for him, as well. One thing we can be sure of, though, is that if there is any other big favourite to main event the Tokyo Dome at the moment, it probably is the leader of L.I.J.
With this article coming to an end, tell me what you think ! What are your thoughts about Kota Ibushi winning the G1 Climax and headlining the Tokyo Dome for the first time of his career ? If not Ibushi, who is your favourite, and why ?
Chris King: One More Spear and Jackhammer for Goldberg?
After his WWE Super ShowDown with The Undertaker wasn’t well received, is there room for Goldberg to have more “proper sendoff” to end his career?
By now you’ve heard the troubling news that during Goldberg and The Undertaker’s first-ever-match something went terribly awry; Goldberg smashed his head square into the ring-post, instantly he began bleeding profusely and was knocked out. What followed was extremely hard to watch; several signature maneuvers were horribly botched, and I was 100% concerned for both superstars’s health and well-being. This is not what we hoped would occur, and this should not be the last image of Goldberg that we witness in WWE.
There was speculation that Undertaker was furious at Goldberg for his performance that appeared absurd to me; how could Undertaker a locker room leader held in such high respect get into a screaming match backstage? On top of that there was also rumblings about Vince McMahon the CEO of WWE, was fuming, and had to break things up between the legends. He apparently told both superstars they were finished wrestling careers were over.
Thankfully the rumors were quickly refuted by not only WWE officials who were in Saudi Arabia, and TalkSport’s Alex McCarthy, and Mike Johnson on PWINSIDER.
Goldberg has admitted he was knocked out during his match with Undertaker at #WWESSD and that is why the final minutes were what they were.
Undertaker was angry with how the match went, but reports suggesting things got heated backstage with Goldberg aren't true, I'm told.
— Alex McCarthy (@AlexM_talkSPORT) June 8, 2019
Mike Johnson confirmed that after chatting with WWE officials he can confirm that after the bout Goldberg was too weak to muster up the energy to engage in a heated altercation.
Johnson said: “I have not heard one person with any legitimacy claim this as being true. In fact, when I asked about that rumor, it was quickly shot down by those who were actually in Saudi Arabia, so I tend to think that story is 100% fiction.”
Goldberg the WCW veteran was last seen in the squared circle on the Post-Mania-Raw, twenty-four hours after dropping the Universal championship to Brock Lesnar. The WWE Universe gave him a standing ovation for his love for the business throughout his illustrious twenty-year pro wrestling career.
Goldberg has battled some of the biggest wrestlers in WWE; The Rock was his first feud after his arrival in 2003 at the Backlash pay per view, followed by his almost year-long rivalry with HHH and “Evolution” where he won the World Heavyweight championship. He finished his initial run in the company in 2004 in a “Battle of Behemoths” with Lesnar. In 2019, there are many new powerhouses since he left the company in 2004. Below I will be listing the 5 Potential Opponents for his final match in WWE.
5 Best-Suited Opponents For The Final Goldberg Match
5. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar toppled Goldberg for-the-first-time in his WWE career at WrestleMania 33; after a humiliating loss at 2016 Survivor Series, in a “Shocking” one minute and twenty-seven seconds. This was Goldberg’s first official match in WWE in twelve years; the two powerhouses have had a total of three encounters, they have manifested a buzz that surpassed all the other matches on the pay per view card. Despite the fact that Goldberg and Lesnar faced in each other only two years ago, it doesn’t rule out the possibility that Goldberg won’t come back for retribution. While this contest in the past has not been well-received by the WWE Universe, there’s still a sliver of a chance these Titans’ will go to war one final time.
With Lesnar as “The Beast in the Bank” his adversary could once again cost him the Universal or WWE Championship cash-in; reminiscent to 2004 No Way Out pay per view where Eddie Guerrero was challenging Lesnar for his WWE championship, and Goldberg (who had been given a front row ticket by Raw commissioner Stone Cold Steve Austin). He would then deliver a “Devastating” spear to cost Lesnar his championship, which led to their first clash at WrestleMania XX. Goldberg could cost Lesnar his opportunity and the two competitors could then revisit this hard-hitting personal rivalry.
4. Bobby Lashley
It’s still surreal to me that these two powerhouses have never crossed paths in both of their WWE tenures. Bobby Lashley returned to WWE after making an “Impact” (Pun intended) on the Raw after Mania 34. Despite being the fan-favorite to dethrone Lesnar at 2018 SummerSlam, Lashley was upset by Roman Reigns who eventually captured the Universal Championship. Goldberg vs. Lashley will still be a “Big Money” match that will put butts in seats and sell out arenas. This the kind of “once in a lifetime” physical confrontation contrary to Rock/Cena at WrestleMania 28 that people from all over the world would tune in to watch. The WWE Network could see a “massive” increase in subscriptions, and the weeks leading up to their collision we would most certainly be a pull-apart brawl and someone could likely to be taken to jail.
3. Goldberg vs. Lars Sullivan
“The Freak” Lars Sullivan has been leaving a pile of bodies on his path of destruction since his arrival on Monday nights. Currently, he’s annihilating the Lucha House Party, but after he’s finished bullying smaller wrestlers “,” Sullivan is going to be hungry for “Real” competition. Enter Goldberg. This wouldn’t do much for the WCW titan but it sure would be a “Huge” rub for the recent draftee. Sullivan was penciled into battle John Cena at WrestleMania 35 “,” but due to health reasons, it never happened. This victory over a legend of this caliber could catapult “The Freak” to the top of the food-chain in WWE.
2. Braun Strowman
To say “The Monster Among Men” has been mistreated would only be the tip of the iceberg. Strowman was the “Hottest” wrestler in 2017 with his horror-themed assaults on Roman Reigns. Unfortunately for Strowman, his name wasn’t “Roman Reigns” and despite his best efforts he never captured the Universal Championship.
Strowman was on a path of destruction until he went toe-to-toe with Universal champion Lesnar at 2017 No Mercy; in what should have been his coronation as the next champion, Strowman was crushed within a matter of minutes. Last year at WWE Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia he was heavily-favored to walk out with the vacated Universal championship; and instead WWE thought it was wise to start a lengthy program with Baron Corbin (who clocked Strowman in the back of the head with the title), and Lesnar dropped “The Monster Among Men” with 5 F5’s to start a second title-reign with the Universal championship. To say Strowman deserves a “Monumental” win would be a HUGE UNDERSTATEMENT!
1. Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns
The announcement of this match is enough buzz to sell-out WrestleMania 36. “The Big Dog” Roman Reigns has done it all in his short eight-year career, some accomplishments other wrestlers only dream to achieve. He defeated the seemingly-unbeatable Undertaker in his second loss in decades. Reigns is a Grand-slam champion, a three-time WWE Champion and former Universal Champion. Ever since the two crossed paths on the road to WrestleMania 33; and delivered a double-spear to Strowman on January 12, 2017, I believe this dream match has been quietly penciled in. Now that there may be “One More Match” for Goldberg before he calls it quits, this is the only true contest!