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Vandy! (September 1996)


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Issue # 269

Date:  Sunday July 18th, 1999  11:04 am

The Wrestling Booking Sheet

'The Body' makes another appearance
Sunday, July 18, 1999
By Mike Mooneyham

Unholy alliances have been a staple of the pro wrestling business for
many years. Inside and outside the ring, as part of a storyline or as
part of backstage politics, wrestling makes strange bedfellows.

Perhaps no partnership, however, was stranger than the one forged last
week when Vince McMahon introduced Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura as the
latest celebrity to take part in his World Wrestling Federation.

its official. Jesse "The Mind" will become "The Body" one more time as
he returns to the ring in his home state Aug. 22 at the WWF's Summer
Slam pay-per-view at the
Target Center in Minneapolis. Ventura will
make a guest appearance as a referee (most likely for a championship
match between Steve Austin and either Hunter Hearst Helmsley or The
Rock) and promised to bring "law and order" back to wrestling "because
I rule here."

Ventura, who has shrugged off criticism of his participation in the
event that some say could net him a million dollars, easily slipped
into showmanship.

When he was introduced by McMahon at a press conference Wednesday,
Ventura bellowed: "I'm bigger than you, McMahon, I'm more powerful than
you, I'm more powerful than the World Wrestling Federation. As long as
you're in this state, you hold no power here. its very simple. its
The Body rules, its my rules, or the highway."

Ventura, who turned 48 on Thursday, said he will be paid $100,000 for
the one-time-only event. Half will go to a foundation for abused
children and half will go to a scholarship endowment at his alma mater,
Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis. He also hopes to give out a
$5,000 scholarship annually, and added that the Make-A-Wish foundation
likely would also receive a donation.

But the governor, who has profited greatly since talking office, will
make much more. Ventura, who has made a number of merchandising deals
since arriving at the Minnesota Statehouse, will receive videotape
royalties and payment for use of his name, but he said the amount and
where it will go is confidential, raising the question of whether the
public that voted him into office and bestowed celebrity status upon
him has the right to know.

GOP Chairman Ron Eibensteiner called
Ventura's actions "an absolute
"its so obvious, so transparent, that he is using the office of
governor to promote his own personal enrichment," Eibensteiner said.

Ventura shot back, noting that GOP St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman just
struck a deal as a paid Saturday afternoon radio host. The governor
receives no money for his weekly radio show.

"Where's the outcry? See, for Republicans, he's an entrepreneur,"
Ventura said.

What strikes many wrestling insiders as strange, however, is that
Ventura, who is riding a wave of incredible popularity as one of the
most talked-about politicians in the country, would agree to lend his
name to an organization - while still immensely popular itself - whose
image has come under increasingly hostile media attack in recent months.

The facts speak for themselves. The WWF could use some good publicity,
and signing
Ventura was a real coup. In May, Owen Hart died while
performing a stunt at a
Kansas City event. In June, the artist formerly
known as Sable (Rena Mero) sued the WWF for $110 million, complaining
it wanted her to participate in a lesbian storyline, expose her breasts
on TV and appear in sexually degrading photos. A 7-year-old in
recently used a professional wrestling move on his 3-year-old brother
and accidentally killed him. The boy said "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and
The Undertaker were his favorites.

Add to the equation the fact that
Ventura and McMahon have been at odds
since he left the federation, and the association is even more
perplexing. There certainly was no love lost when
Ventura bolted the
WWF in the early '90s and joined the Ted Turner-owned WCW, successfully
suing McMahon in 1994 for $1 million for royalties and interest from a
wrestling tape.

"Since I'd beaten him in court, he wasn't ever going to hire me again.
It doesn't behoove promoters to have wrestlers who know what their
rights are,"
Ventura wrote in his recent autobiography.

So why agree to do the gig?

"There's no rule that says a governor can't have fun,"
Ventura said.
"There's no rule that says a governor on his own time can't be a human."

His appearance on the WWF event is simply a return to his profession
before he was governor, he said.

"The perception is that people need to be professional politicians and
that therefore being a politician is your entire life. Well, its not
Jesse Ventura's entire life and I think I was elected upon the fact
that I came from being a private citizen," he said.

Besides the money factor (it was not disclosed how much
Ventura will
personally pocket from the stint), there could be a personal reason
behind this unholiest of alliances.

Jesse may not like Vince, but McMahon would shake out as the lesser of
the two evils if
Ventura were weighing his options between the WWF and
Ventura parted ways with WCW on the worst of terms after a largely
unsuccessful announcing stint several years ago, and made no bones
about the fact that he didn't like then-WCW honcho Cowboy Bill Watts.
His opinion of current WCW boss Eric Bischoff is even lower. Viewers
could sense the uneasiness and tension between the two when both
appeared on the Larry King show following the death of Owen Hart.

"Maybe some of the guys aren't that comfortable at doing it,"
said concerning the stunt that claimed Hart's life (Don't expect
Ventura, however, to rappel from the rafters of the Target Center as he
did last year before a Timberwolves game). "There's the pressure of the
business. It is still a business that has no union, nothing that offers
any type of collective bargaining for people involved in it. It is
still backward in many of its business dealings today. There is the
pressure for these guys to perform, to make the money on their big

"I don't know for the life of me what collective bargaining and pay
have to do with a tragedy like what happened," retorted Bischoff. "It
seems as though Gov. Ventura can't help but be political when given the

"It has nothing to do with politics,"
Ventura responded. "It has to do
with the business of wrestling and the control factors that still exist
over all the promotions involved in it and not allowing wrestlers to

Ventura, however, retreated when asked about his interest in pitching a
union to the individuals present at Wednesday's press conference,
saying that it was only one person's opinion. He also reasoned that
Owen Hart made a personal decision to go through with the stunt and
could have said no.

Ventura's most bitter rival, however, is WCW world champion
Hulk Hogan.

Hogan, on the King show several weeks ago, referred to
Ventura's hotel
room (back in his wrestling days) as the "party room" because he had
all the stuff to party with. Expanding on those comments last week on
the WCW Live Internet show, Hogan said that "the boys" smoked marijuana
and that "Jesse had the supplies." Hogan also denied stories that he
had once "stooged" to McMahon that
Ventura was attempting to organize
and lobby for a union, even though he testified to as much in the WWF
steroid trial earlier this decade.

The rift between the two grew even wider when Hogan announced his "run"
for the presidency of the
United States several days after Ventura was
elected governor. It was a publicity stunt that many media outlets
treated as a legitimate story, but was an even more obvious ploy for
Hogan to attach himself to the tremendous notoriety his former
wrestling rival had generated. For in one fell swoop, Jesse Ventura
achieved more celebrity status than Hulk Hogan had in all his years
combined as a wrestling superstar.

Adding salt to the wound was an incident last year at a WCW event at
Target Center in Minneapolis. Ventura, in the early days of his bid
for the governorship, was using the show as an opportunity to campaign
when he was asked by WCW officials to cease and desist. He didn't
forget the slight.

The WWF, meanwhile, has extended the olive branch and seems more than
willing to let bygones be bygones.

"It'll be great to welcome Jesse back," said McMahon. "This event
promises to be the most tremendous Summer Slam of this millennium."

Mike Mooneyham can be reached by phone at (843) 937-5517 or by e-mail
at mooneyham. More wrestling news with Mike
Mooneyham is available every Monday on The Wrestling Observer Hotline.
The number is
1-900-903-9030. Calls are 99 cents per minute, and children under 18
must get parental permission before dialing.
The following column comes directly from

By Jim Ross
(For the week of July 15, 1999)

The announcement that Jesse Ventura will be the special referee for the
WWF Title match at SummerSlam has surprised and shocked a lot of folks.
Political pundits have particularly been hard on "The Body" who, of
course, is the governor of
Minnesota. Former Clinton advisor Dick
Morris went so far as to say that
Ventura committed political suicide!
That profound conclusion comes from a guy who got busted with a
Washington, D.C. hooker, whom he discussed high level information with.
Morris is now a tv political analysts. So much for Morris’ own
political suicide. Personally,
Ventura has never been one of my
favorites, however, I do admire what Jesse has accomplished away from
the mat-game and his participation will certainly make SummerSlam even
bigger and more profitable. Why do so many people feel it’s important
Ventura to reveal how much he will be earning?

Some of the questions asked of "The Body" on Wednesday by the media
were real dandies. The ASPCA should have been called to prevent the
continued beating of "dead horses".

Nicole Bass, Shannon Hall and Ryan Shamrock have all been released by
the WWF. Nicole indicated she made more money "apartment wrestling"
than as an entry-level WWF Talent and was given the opportunity to
return to that past vocation and it’s unique rewards.

The WWF is in the process of negotiating a mutually agreed upon early
release with Goldust, if you will.

Hulk Hogan’s crying the blues this week about the WWF surpassing WCW in
the ratings because the WWF made its product "XXX" are more lame
excuses coming from Turnerland. Objective booking, superior tv
production, and young, exciting athletes are all factors in the WWF’s
current ratings domination. Hard work and a complete team effort are
also difficult to overcome. Wrestling’s former top player might want to
check his mirror for some of those "reasons" he and his pals continue
to search for.

For the record, how large could the WCW kitchen truly be? Apparently
enough to accommodate many, many cooks. Could it be poor leadership?

Mick Foley has been a huge hit thus far in Australia. Mick arrived
Friday morning and promptly went to work, including greeting over 3,000
fans at Highpoint Shopping Center. Our friend has already been
interviewed on Channels 7 and 10 as well as ABC’s Recovery program.

Entertainment Tonight will soon be interviewing Shane McMahon and Chyna
for a piece that will probably air next week. ET will speak to the
controversial pair Monday in Los Angeles.

Ben Stiller of Hollywood fame and a famous comedic family is a big WWF
fan who may turn up on Raw in the next few weeks. (I hope he gets that
"stuff" out of his hair. Remember "Hello Mary"?)

The new UPN set for TV is really hot. Looks like George Lucas designed

Nothing has been finalized as to whom will comprise the SmackDown
broadcast team. Any suggestions?

Terri Runnels has a new contract with the WWF and could see an expanded
role on TV in the near future.

Droz is out for a week with a "stinger". Droz was injured Tuesday night
in Lexington, Kentucky.

Jim Cornette now resides back in his hometown of Louisville and will
work closely with WWF rookies and other prospects beginning this month.
JC has lost over 75 pounds and even has a suntan! Corney will be the
"matchmaker" in Louisville and will manage in Memphis.

Iowa State University will host Raw on Monday, August 23 and sold out
in 6 hours!

You might be seeing the customized WWF beverage truck in your
neighborhood soon as the "promotional vehicle" will soon be touring the
USA leading up to SummerSlam. (insert Lex Express joke here)

The WWF is very high on Vic Grimes, a developmental talent currently
assigned to PowerPro Wrestling in Memphis. Expect the 300 plus pounder
in the WWF soon.

God Bless Brian Hidlebrand, our friend who is battling cancer. A
benefit for Brian will be held on July 30 in Pennsylvania and the WWF
is making several of its stars available for the event. Terry "don’t
call me the Red Rooster" Taylor will wrestle Chris Jericho on that
special event, plus D’Lo Brown faces Al Snow and good old Mick Foley
will be there in support of his friend Brian.

LOD Animal will have back surgery Monday, July 19. LOD Hawk may be used
as a single. I am not aware of how Animal injured his back.

Speaking of
LOD, Hawk and Animal will be making an appearance at Toys
‘R Us in Ann Arbor, Michigan on Saturday, July 17. Other Toys ‘R Us
appearances include: PMS in Fayetteville, GA, Mark Henry in Crystal
Lake, Illinois and Jerry Lawler in Ft. Myers, Florida all on Saturday,
July 17.

J.R.’s BBQ sauce now has several companies ready to market my homemade
sauce. Stay tuned.

Shawn Michaels will be in Kansas City next week for a media day in
support of SmackDown on the UPN Network. SmackDown debuts Thursday,
August 26 from Kemper Arena taped Tuesday, August 24.
This Monday’s Raw, taped Tuesday in Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky
should really be a hot show. I don’t say that in advance too often so I
hope I don’t "snake-bite" Monday’s effort.

Thanks for your time and support of the WWF and the business in
general. See you next week.

Written by reader: Joseph W. Hamilton, Jr. (jwoutlaw)
I just wanted to respond to a letter I saw in issue #266. I don't want
to start a debate, just enlighten the reader who sent in the comments.
The comments I'm refering to are...

FACT OF HE MATTER IS...the Scorpion Death Lock came before the
Sharpshooter, and
TRUE hardcore has always been WCW (i.e:Cactus Jack vs
Vader in a Texas Death Match, Sting vs Jake Roberts in a Barbed Wire
Match, etc...) , Ric Flair, not Shawn Michales, was the first 60-minute
man of wrestling"

Well, the true fact of the matter is the Scorpion was debuted in Japan
around 1986, before there even was a Sting. True hardcore has been
around since the 1960's. Guys like The Original Sheik, Abdullah the
Butcher, onto Bruiser Brody, the Funks and even Dusty Rhodes were
hardcore before Hardcore was cool. I am not an old geezer by any
means, I'm only 26, but I do know a bit about the history of 'rasslin'.
As far as Ric Flair being the first 60 minute man, again, guys like
Harley Race, the Funks, Jack Brisco, even Bruno Sammartino and Giant
Baba were doing it before Flair even stepped into a ring.

I love wrestling as it is today, but everyone copies off of everyone.
Wrestling changes, but it will always stay the same.
The staff of The Wrestling Booking Sheet
Editor: Steve Appy
Columnist: Mark George
Columnist: SamJerry
Columnist: Fritz Capp
Columnist: Rick Phelps
Columnist: Cindy Barnes
Columnist: Josh Hewitt
Columnist: Swami
Columnist: Tom Misnik
Columnist: Nate Pelley
Columnist: Robert Troy (Osiris)
Tom Kirkbride
Columnist: Ryan S. Oaks
Columnist: Darren Kramer

Any submissions sent in by readers or columnists become the property of The Wrestling Booking Sheet, and are subject to editing due to grammar, spelling, or content. Any information taken from The Wrestling Booking Sheet must be credited properly, with our E-Mail address listed. We have no problem if you want to use our stuff; just credit it properly.

Copyright- Steve Appy of The Wrestling Booking Sheet ©1998, 1999, 2000


"When you're young and you pick up a guitar, it feels so powerful. It feels like you pulled the sword from the stone. I used to believe that it could save the world. But I don't really believe that anymore." - Bruce Springsteen

"The greatest challenge of adulthood is holding on to your idealism
after you lose your innocence and believing in the power of the human
spirit after you come crashing into the limits of the real adult
world." - Bruce Springsteen


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