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What happened to Jesse Ventura after his pro wrestling career? Acting, politics...

When you think of Jesse Ventura, the first thing that likely comes to mind is the WWF, however, the former wrestler/actor who became a governor has done a lot more.

When you think of Jesse Ventura, the first thing that likely comes to mind is the WWF, however, the former wrestler/actor who became a governor has done a lot more.

From his strong views on the United States’ two-party political system, to his outspoken stance on the legalization of marijuana, the former WWF star has inadvertently become a voice of the people today and to be frank, he shows no signs of slowing down.

Jesse Ventura’s life after wrestling

A first foray into politics

Though it understandably shocked many, once Ventura left the WWF - since absorbed by WWE - he ran for mayor of Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis. Though many were initially skeptical, considering it to be just another run by a would-be celebrity, opinion quickly changed as it became very clear that Ventura had his finger on the pulse of the people. Behind a slogan of, “Had enough? Mad Enough? Vote Jesse Ventura,” he began to tackle issues that many were discussing, but few were pushing. Starting with public safety, Ventura took a no-nonsense approach to crime in the town, which of course was bolstered by his frequent references to his military service during the Vietnam War and on the back of it, he defeated the incumbent in 1991 and served as mayor until 1995.

Though he would later step away for a time to work as a ‘shock jock’ on a sports radio station in the Twin Cities, it wouldn’t be long before he returned to the political landscape. To that end, Ventura ran for governor of Minnesota under the reform party in 1998. Despite his unexpected success at the age of 47, there was still a great deal of reluctance to take him as anything more than a ‘newbie’ in the world of politics. Yet, once again Ventura himself to be a smooth operator as his strong-arm approach resonated with voters under 40. Often seen in Navy SEAL T-shirts, he even had a SEAL vanity plate on his car which read, “Mess with the best, die with the rest.” Ultimately, he did what many thought he could: win.

Tackling big business

What remains interesting about Ventura’s approach is the fact that though he was undoubtedly successful, having enjoyed a lucrative career in wrestling and film, he has always positioned himself as a voice of the working class. At the time of his gubernatorial victory, he and his wife owned a 32-acre ranch with nine horses, yet from the outset he made it known that he was very much against big business and its far-reaching effect on the political landscape. “Business as usual is over,” Ventura declared after winning office. “Things are going to be different around here.” In the end, Ventura served as governor from 1999 to 2003 at which point, he declined to run again, after citing the negative effects of excessive media attention on his family.

A life after politics

Following his time in office, Ventura opted to maintain a lower profile, however, that didn’t mean he wasn’t heard. From a number of books which he wrote to a a television series called “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” which he hosted, he continued to maintain a place in public consciousness. His 1999 autobiography, “I Ain’t Got Time to Bleed: Reworking the Body Politic from the Bottom Up,” was released to considerable fanfare. So too was 2011′s “63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read,” which he co-authored. The book claims to offer proof of “the official spin on numerous government programs is flat-out bullshit.” Indeed, it contained allegations ranging from John F. Kennedy’s plans to pull out of Vietnam, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, Nazis, military experiments on troops, Gulf War illness and the post-9/11 war on terror.

Where Is Jesse Ventura today?

Following a series of other books about conspiratorial topics, it was 2017 when Ventura’s name once again truly came to public attention, after he settled a defamation case against the estate of the late “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle, a former Navy SEAL. Following a five-year legal battle, the case was finally settled though the monetary amount was never disclosed. According to Kyle’s book, there was an altercation in which he punched a man in the face following remarks about the Iraq War. That man was later identified as Jesse Ventura, who in turn referred to the story as “fake news.”

More recently in 2018 and 2019, Ventura said he wouldn’t rule out a presidential bid in 2020 bid for president, however, it ultimately proved to be nothing more than an apparent ploy to increase media attention. At the time Ventura went as far to suggest that both the Democratic and Green parties should combine forces to defeat Donald Trump. “Donald’s a friend of mine; I just liked him a whole lot better when he was a real-estate mogul,” Ventura said in 2018 before ridiculing Trump’s lack of military service. The next time we saw Ventura would be in 2022 when he appeared at ‘80s Wrestling Con in New Jersey. Today, he is the host of the Independent Streak Podcast with his son, Tyrel, while also publishing an internet newsletter on Substack called Jesse Ventura’s Die First, Then Quit.