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JESSE VENTURA COMMENTS ON UNIONIZATION OF WWE WRESTLERS, WWE RESPONDS

By Mike Johnson on 2009-12-02 15:09:17
World Wrestling Entertainment spokesperson Robert Mitchell responded to comments made by WWE Hall of Famer Jesse Ventura during an appearance on ESPN Radio Monday about WWE classifying wrestlers as independent contractors when they are not, by virtue of not being allowed to wrestle anywhere else.

Mitchell told The Hartford Courant: "We find it highly hypocritical that Jesse had no problem coming on Monday Night Raw last week to promote his new project or was happy to be paid all those years by the WWE as a performer.  He is just looking to garner additional press for his fledgling show, appropriately entitled 'Conspiracy Theory.'"

In an interview I conducted with Ventura on Monday for the PWInsider.com Elite section, we also discussed the unionization of professional wrestlers.  Ventura commented, "Well, it's also what's right or wrong.  What's the law?  If you look at self employment, the wrestlers are signed to exclusive contracts.  How is that being self employed?  You can't go work for another organization.  They own you exclusively. How does that make you self employed?  If they were truly self employed, I'd say fine, but when you look at the law and how it works, they're not self employed.  It's laughable.   If you look at it, wrestling's still the only industry that doesn't have a union and it's not a union to fight Vince.  It's a union to get retirement.  It's a union to get health benefits.  Let's remember, wrestlers are not financial planners.  You can go to Mickey Rourke's movie and see that clearly.  So, why shouldn't there be a retirement?  Why shouldn't there be strength in those numbers? But, it falls on deaf ears because, you know, Vince isn't going to unionize.  Unless they have the courage to do it themselves, it ain't gonna happen."

It should also be pointed out, in regard to Mitchell's comments, that Ventura did attempt to unionize the WWF talents in 1986 just prior to Wrestlemania 2 but those efforts fell apart when Hulk Hogan informed Vince McMahon of Ventura's efforts.