Graham Bensinger interviewed WWE Hall of Famer Jesse “The Body” Ventura, which will air this weekend on the nationally-syndicated sports interview series, In Depth with Graham Bensinger (click here for local listings). You can watch a preview of the episode in the video above. They sent us these highlights from the interview:
What’s the likelihood you ever try and run [for president]?
“Who knows? I’ll decide that next spring because I won’t get in now. Why would I get in now and waste money?… Let’s wait ’til it’s down to two of them. Let’s wait ’til the Libertarian convention next June, where the Libertarians announce their candidate and that candidate gets ballot access throughout the whole country. Then you time it out. You spend the least money, you come in, you destroy their two candidates ? if you’re allowed in the debate. If they got the fricking guts to let me in a debate, I’ll come in and destroy their two candidates and steal the election in November, just like I did in Minnesota.”
“Would you like to be president?”
“No, not particularly. But in the back of my mind, there’s always that patriotic voice saying to me, ‘If not you, then who? Who’s gonna restore America? Who’s gonna take on the two party dictatorship and beat them? Who can do that?’ Well I’ve done it twice; haven’t lost yet. Why do you think I’m a scary guy to them?… Because I’ve never lost to them.”
If he has hard feelings toward Vince McMahon:
“Is Vince [McMahon] a ruthless billionaire businessman? Yes, but you probably have to be. I bare no grudge against Vince.”
If he ever held a grudge against McMahon:
“No. I just, when I disagreed with him I did the proper thing ? I took him to federal court and beat him and I have a retirement now. He has to pay me for every tape I’ve ever been on as long as he sells them. So quarterly, I get a check from him and have since 1991. I call it my wrestling retirement. I’m the only wrestler in the world that has it ? a retirement. Even though technically it’s not.”
“You and Hulk were once good friends. What’s the likelihood of that ever being repaired?”
“Never? I can’t trust him. I’m never friends with anyone I don’t trust. I have to have trust with someone to be their friend. And he’s the one that ratted me out to Vince [McMahon] when I tried to unionize. I found that out under a federal deposition when Vince was put under sworn [oath]? My attorney said, ‘Did you hear Mr. Ventura?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well then how do you know he did?’ With no hesitation Vince went, ‘Hulk Hogan told me.’ And I didn’t show any emotion, but I almost tipped over in my chair because he was my friend? but then understand why. When we went to court, I saw in WrestleMania 3 Hogan got paid more than all of us combined. Now, why would he want a union when he’s getting taken care of?”
His lawsuit against Chris Kyle, who claimed in his bestselling book American Sniper that he punched someone at a bar who had insulted Navy SEALs. He later said the person he hit was Ventura, a claim Ventura said was a lie used to boost book sales.
“I said [to Kyle], ‘If you’ll go out with me to the media, admit you fabricated the story, I will forgive you and we’ll go our separate ways.’ He wouldn’t do it. He didn’t have the honor. He didn’t have ? this hero from the war didn’t have the courage to tell the truth. And he’s not a hero. You know why? He’s a backstabbing liar. He whored the trident for money and fame. He took an old-timer like me and threw me under the bus so he could get money. You know why he’s not a hero? Because heroes have to have honor. A liar has no honor.”
Why he got emotional after winning governorship of Minnesota when he received a pair of red Everlast gloves from his childhood idol and hero, Muhammad Ali, with a message that read, “To Governor Jesse Ventura: You shocked the world”:
“Because he’s your hero. And I get emotional now because he gave up the greatest title in the world, being a man of his conviction. And if I can be half that man ? he is the greatest. No, he gave up the title, the most prestigious title in the world, because he refused to go to war? And he stood up and said I’ll give up the greatest title in the world because I will be a man of conviction.”