But the former professional wrestler, called "The Body" until he retired in 1986, seems to relish this "not-playing-by-the-rules" thing. So there he was Wednesday, appearing on a nationally televised World Wrestling Federation press conference, announcing that he'll appear as a special guest referee at next month's SummerSlam.
"I will enforce the rules of professional wrestling, or lack thereof," he told the crowd. He then turned to his ex-boss, WWF Chairman Vince McMahon. "I'm bigger than you," he growled, "I'm more powerful than you, I'm more powerful than the World Wrestling Federation."
Dressed in a business suit, Ventura accepted his signature feather boa, a gift from wrestler Chyna. The Body then slid on his old jewel-studded shades.
He'll reportedly get paid $100,000 for reffing the August 22 event, held at Minneapolis' Target Center. Ventura says he will donate his fee to an abused-children's charity and his alma mater, Minnesota's Roosevelt High. No word, however, on what he's doing with the estimated $1 million in royalties and pay-per-view fees he could make from the match.
Meanwhile, TV's pundits seemed a bit confounded by a press conference that blended entertainment, politics and body slams. Fox commentator Dick Morris called the event "a ritual political suicide."
"In the last 15 minutes, this man has destroyed his political career," said Morris.
Still, Jesse seemed unfazed. "There's not a rule that says a governor can't have fun," he proclaimed. "There's no rule that says a governor, on his own time, can't be human."