Jesse Ventura met Vladimir Putin years ago, and according to “The Body,” the Russian president gave him something any top wrestler would love to hear: creative control.
Ventura joined Chris Jericho on the latest episode of “Talk Is Jericho” to talk about politics in and outside the wrestling ring, but the show was heavily focused on Ventura’s political viewpoints and plans. Ventura has started up a new Substack due to his show, “The World According To Jesse,” on RT America, a Russian television branch, being pulled off all outlets due to the war in Ukraine. Jericho asked Ventura if that’s why his relationship with RT ended.
“Totally, and it was actually our sanctions that took me off the air, not Russia’s,” Ventura replied. “First of all, DirectTV and all the providers took us off, so we weren’t gonna be on the air. Second, the banks shut them out, so we couldn’t transfer money, because Russian money was no good in the bank. So the sanctions they put on destroyed RT America.” Ventura is uncertain as to whether his final episode ever aired, but he did take a moment in that episode to make a strong stance on the war.
“My last show, five minutes in, I stopped the show and I said, ‘I do not support this invasion, I want to state right now, I’m totally against it and I’m demanding the bloodshed stop now and the war end immediately,” Ventura said. “Now wouldn’t that have been a good message to get to the Russian people? And yet, my message couldn’t get there because our sanctions took me off the air. Kind of weird that our sanctions actually stopped me from chastising Russia from invading Ukraine.”
“The World According To Jesse” originally started back in 2017, with the intention to “tackle today’s biggest political stories, as well as deeper issues such as ‘government hypocrisy and corporate deception’ through a mix of thought-provoking interviews and on-the-ground reporting” and promised that Ventura would be “just as bold and uncensored in his approach as he has been all his life.” According to Ventura, that held true for the entirety of his time on the channel.
“I’ll admit this, I met Vladimir Putin before I signed,” Putin said. “They flew me and my wife to Russia for the 10-year anniversary of RT. Putin was the keynote speaker. I met [Mikhail] Gorbachev that night too. The Putin I met that night I’m having a hard time identifying today, because the Putin I met that night walked across the room to me, I didn’t go to him.
“He came to me, held his hand out, said ‘Thank you, Governor.’ Called me by my title. And he said, ‘I want to assure you, you have total creative control and there will never be any interference in your show.’ And I said, ‘Thank you, Mr. President.’ And Chris, I have to tell the truth. For four years, they never interfered in my show at all. He was a man of his word, so I can only judge him by my relationship with him, and I’m trying to figure out who this guy is today. What in the hell happened to him, because I got the feeling when I met him, he truly wanted to be our friend. That was the vibes I got from him, and you know me Chris, I’m not too far off with my vibes, but this guy, whoever Putin is now, either he worked me like hell, and working a wrestler is tough to do.”
Ventura has kept himself relatively removed from the pro wrestling scene, but he last made an appearance as the guest host of “WWE Raw” in 2009, where he reprised his classic commentary position with Vince McMahon.
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