Jesse Ventura On Vince McMahon Lying About Wrestlers’ Pay

Jesse Ventura

Jesse Ventura has discussed the time he successfully took Vince McMahon to court over royalty payments, finding out that the Chairman had lied over amounts paid.

Jesse Ventura had a very successful time working for Vince McMahon, both as an in-ring performer and later at the commentary desk. However, he has noted that McMahon was dishonest with him over royalty payments.

Speaking on Talk is Jericho, Ventura detailed how his time in Hollywood gave him a different viewpoint on what he should be receiving from the wrestling business.

I did Predator, and I did Hunter and I did Hollywood. Well, all of a sudden, I’m getting royalty checks. When Hunter shows on TV, a check comes to me. When Predator shows the check comes to me. So I went into Vince and said, ‘Vince, how come everything I do in Hollywood, I get paid royalties, and you’re out selling videotapes all over the country of my broadcast, my matches, and everything about me, and I don’t get nothing? How come Hollywood pays me and you don’t?’

And Vince said, ‘well, I don’t pay royalties,’ which by law, he doesn’t have to. There’s no law that says he’s got to do it. Anyway, it stuck in my craw and every time I would negotiate with him, including when I stated the night I went into the Hall of Fame, the biggest thing I ever did in wrestling was that I made Vince McMahon – [I was] the first one to make him deal with an agent.

Jesse Ventura went on to recall the court case he had over royalty payments, and how it emerged Vince McMahon had lied about not paying them to anyone else.

Well, during discovery, we found out that Vince was lying when he said nobody gets paid for videotapes. Hogan was getting paid. Mr. T was getting paid. Cyndi Lauper was getting paid. All the people from the outside entertainment world were getting videotape royalties from the WWE. The only people not getting it were the wrestlers.”

So we were successful because my attorney when he had me on the stand, said ‘Jesse Ventura if you knew Vince McMahon was paying video royalties to Hulk Hogan, Mr. T., Cyndi Lauper, and all these people were getting videotape royalties, would you have agreed to work without royalties?’

And I said, ‘Absolutely not. I would never have agreed to work had I known they were getting paid, and I wouldn’t.’ And that’s what won the case. The case was won on quantum meruit.

Vince lied when he said he didn’t pay royalties when the reality was certain people of the handpicked group were getting royalties, and if he paid me then guess what all the boys might jump on board. But it depends if all the boys had a legitimate negotiation with him. See, my agent came and testified. You know that yes, I brought this up to Vince McMahon. And yes, Vince McMahon told me, we don’t pay royalties. So I accepted that as WWE policy. Well, it wasn’t, it was a lie.

Jesse Ventura has also recently teased a return to politics, with a run for President in the 2024 election.

With thanks to Inside The Ropes for the transcription.