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Jesse Ventura

Jesse "the Body" Ventura

From the beginning, Ventura took on the role of the bad guy in the theatrical world of pro wrestling. Also at the start of his wrestling career, Ventura took the name of Jesse Ventura, dying his long hair blond, and bulking up to look the part. He worked out at the 7th Street Gym in downtown Minneapolis, where he met the man who became his mentor—famous wrestling villain Super Star Billy Graham. Ventura studied Graham carefully, learning his banter and watching all of his matches.

Ventura made his pro debut in the minor leagues in Kansas City, where he substituted for a wrestler who didn't show up. As the bad guy in the scripted match, Ventura got himself disqualified by throwing his opponent out of the ring.

At the beginning of his wrestling career, Ventura worked on a match-to-match basis, typically earning $35 to $65 a performance, traveling around the Midwest. Commentators would bill him as coming from Hollywood, and began introducing him as Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

Ventura married Teresa Masters when she was 19 years old, he 24. By then, Ventura's hard work at the gym, and, he later admitted, steroids, which were legal at the time, had made him an imposing figure. A diet that included 12 raw eggs a day and 30 different vitamins also helped him to add muscle mass.

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Famous Sports StarsWrestlingJesse Ventura Biography - Minnesota Native, In The Navy, Motorcycle Gang Member, Jesse "the Body" Ventura