How Hulk Hogan Helped Prevent Jesse Ventura From Starting A Wrestlers Union

The employment status of professional wrestlers has long been a conversation point among fans. Instead of being full-time employees for their particular companies, wrestlers have been regarded as independent contractors, meaning the company they are contracted with does not withhold taxes but also doesn't pay health benefits, unemployment compensation, Social Security, or Medicare taxes. WWE Hall of Famer and former Minnesota Governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura has long been an opponent of wrestlers' independent contractor standing.

Ventura spoke about this on an episode of "The Steve Austin Show." He declared, "Vince [McMahon] is lucky I didn't go for the Senate, because had I gone into the Senate, I would've started a Senatorial investigation as to why pro wrestlers are called independent contractors when they're not."

On this issue, Ventura was one of the first proponents for the formation of a wrestler's union, which he tried to start. "The Body" was able to join the Screen Actors Guild due to his role in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie "Predator" and wanted to bring that to his fellow wrestlers. He told of addressing the locker room prior to Wrestlemania II, noting that no one's agent was around and he "gave a speech to the boys," encouraging his compatriots to refuse to go on without the opportunity to unionize.

"The next night I got a call from Vince who basically threatened to fire me if I ever brought it up again and read me the riot act," Ventura continued. "So when I came back to Vince, I told him point blank, 'Vince, I won't ever bring up union again.' I said 'If these guys are too stupid to fight for their rights, I have my union now.'"

A Shocking Betrayal

Jesse "The Body" Ventura would finally figure out what happened with his push for a union when he sued Vince McMahon

Ventura recalled his attorney's back and forth with the former WWE Chairman during his deposition. In a direct line of questioning, Ventura's lawyer asked McMahon if anybody had ever tried to form a wrestling union, to which Vince remembered Ventura attempting at one point. When the lawyer asked McMahon how he knew, he confidently said that Hulk Hogan had told him. Absolutely shocked at this new information, directly from Vince McMahon no less, Ventura was understandably taken aback. "It was like someone punched me in the face," Ventura told "Stone Cold" Steve Austin on his podcast. "This was my friend. And I thought, 'Hogan betrayed me? Hogan called Vince and ratted me?'"

Austin proceeded to ask why Hogan would do this, especially considering that "The Body" had openly spoken about their friendship. Ventura responded, "Hogan continued to lie and said he didn't do it. Well, in the trial, we got the records of WrestleMania III, the big one. Him and Andre." Ventura continued, "Well, Hogan made more money than all of us combined, including Andre. So naturally, he didn't want a union."