MANY of my wrestling fans have asked me over the years, “Governor, what was it like working with Vince McMahon?” Now, if you know the legal history between Vince and I, then you know we got in a few disputes over the years. But while I was working for him, business always came first, not his ego.
People also ask me what I liked doing better, wrestling or commentating, and honestly, I enjoyed both but for different reasons. I truly enjoyed the wrestling when I did it, but commentating hurt a lot less, and by the time I started to commentate, I was making as much more more than I made wrestling. The business had switched to being based around television. Why would I go in there and beat myself up when I can make just as much money commentating?
People can say what they want about pro-wrestling – that it’s fake or whatever – but at one point in my career I actually wrestled 63 days in a row and let me tell you, that hurts. I always say wrestling is ballet with violence. Our moves and the final outcome is scripted and rehearsed like a dance, but that doesn’t mean the process of getting hit in the face with a metal chair or getting body slammed repeatedly doesn’t take a toll on you.
When I switched to being a commentator, it was the right time. It allowed me a smooth transition to go into retirement and I’m probably the only wrestler in the world who actually retired when he said he was going to. I don’t know of too many others that made the initial retirement statement and didn’t come back. When I left the business, I moved on and I’ve never looked back since. I’ve had many careers in my lifetime, and I’ve enjoyed every one to the fullest.
I’ll leave you with something to think about: politics is like pro-wrestling. In a way, wrestling prepared me for politics. When I was mayor and then governor, I discovered how much politics mirrors wrestling. In wrestling, we go in the ring and say horrible things about our opponent, but once the cameras are off, we’re all friends. Politicians are the same way. On stage, they say the worst things about the other political party, but once the media has the story, they’re in a back room making deals. It’s all acting, it’s all show business, just like wrestling.
Gov. Jesse Ventura