Former WWE superstar and former Minnesota Governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura was recently interviewed by The Atlantic. Ventura was asked whether or not he would advise The Rock to get into politics, and whether he thought pro wrestling had a relationship with politics. You can check out the full interview at this link and a except below:
Ventura: Well, I taught at Harvard. I went out and taught at Harvard when I got out of office and one of my classes one day you would have found very interesting. My class that I taught at Harvard—John F. Kennedy School of Government that particular week—was how pro-wrestling prepares you for politics.
Newkirk: Tell me more about that.
Ventura: Well, people kind of laughed about it and I said, “Well, wait a minute.” What wrestling does for you in politics, number one, in pro-wrestling you have to be able to talk. You have to able to communicate with a microphone. You have to be able to communicate to the public to either enrage them, motivate them, do something with them so that they will buy a seat and come out to watch you perform. Now what’s the difference between them buying a seat and giving you their vote? It’s basically the same thing, you’re selling yourself to them. So a pro-wrestler, that’s what he does for a living. He sells himself to the public. Him or herself. Whether you’re a villain or a hero or whatever.
Second of all, when you have a match it’s very ad-libbed and Murphy’s Law always happens every match. Anything that can go wrong will. So you have to be able to think quickly on your feet and react to it to keep a match flowing and current. Same thing in politics. You’re gonna get a question; you’re gonna get something that you’re not prepared for and you have to be able to handle that. I think wrestling gives you great experience in doing that. And finally—and this is what I told my Harvard kids—finally, foremost the person that you are in the ring in wrestling may be nothing like who you are in reality. You could be playing a role when you do wrestling and you could be completely different in your personal life. Well, in politics the same thing holds true.
Many of these elected officials are just like wrestlers in the public and then they’re the opposite in private. Case in point, do you remember a few years ago who was some congressman from Florida who voted against every gay bill and it turned out he was gay, do you remember that? Yeah, so there’s a classic example of it. This guy who was gay hid the fact that he was gay, voted like he hated gays, and so he created a personality that was completely averse to what he really was. And wrestling’s the same way. You know, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, what you see in wrestling may be nothing like what Jesse Ventura is outside the ring. That’s a performance, you know? And politicians are the same way. Who you see may be nothing like who they really are. They’re giving you their political television personality, not necessarily the person that they truly are. So it’s things like that that make wrestling truly an easy step to go from wrestling into the political arena because you’re so prepared for it on the speaking end. Well when I ran for governor, I never used one prepared speech ever.