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Jesse Ventura proved less is more with this one-bump performance

On Christmas in 1982, fans who showed up to Minnesota’s St. Paul Civic Center to see Jesse Ventura get knocked around the ring received a magnificent gift of nothing disguised as everything.

In a battle of “Superstar” Billy Graham devotees, the man known as The Body wrestled rising good guy Hulk Hogan in a match that saw the villainous Ventura take one bump. The performance is especially remarkable, considering how often heels typically bump and sell for the hero. But as he revealed in a 2014 interview, the former governor of the North Star State was not enamored with taking such constant abuse.

“I took bumps when they meant something. A lot of guys take bumps for the sake of bumps. I don’t think that’s good either. I took them when they meant something. But on purpose, I didn’t like taking them because I knew that it would destroy my body because of the amount you worked. And if you could have a successful match without bumps, that’s even better, and I strived for that.”

Ventura succeeded here, wrestling for over ten minutes while keeping fans engaged with elementary offense and outstanding selling. The opening moments were a brilliant display of stalling, always a reliable trick for a bad guy, as Ventura had Hogan chasing him in and around the ring for so long that ring announcer Rod Trongard quipped, “Well, this looks more like a track meet so far.”

Once the action began, Ventura got the upper hand by cheap-shotting the Hulkster before immediately working over Hogan’s left arm, which had been injured months earlier in a storyline with Ken Patera. When The Body wasn’t cheating to maintain the advantage, he used other roughhouse tactics like snapping Hogan’s arm across the top rope several times to punish his adversary.

When it was his turn to take over, Hogan hulked up, caught Ventura in a bear hug, and rammed him into the turnbuckles twice. From there, Hogan attacked Ventura’s left arm with a series of aggressive moves, all building to the high spot of the match.

With Ventura in disarray and his arm dangling over the top rope, Hogan advanced to the ring apron and grabbed his tormentor’s limb. Immediately, the crowd erupted as Hogan gave them a look that let everyone know what was coming next: payback.

As Ventura had done to him several times earlier, Hogan snapped The Body’s arm across the top rope with such force that Ventura took flight. The crowd roared again as Ventura landed on his ass for the bout’s lone bump. Eventually, the action spilled to the floor, and the match was ruled a no-contest.

Still, the fans left happy even though they saw very little. And they excitedly returned in droves weeks later to see the rematch, a testament to the respective character work of Ventura and Hogan and their ability to tell a physical story. Especially by Ventura, who proved that less is more inside the ring.

So, dear readers, are you impressed with The Body’s one-bump bout? Is it possible to satisfactorily accomplish such a feat today? If so, who do you think could pull it off?

Let us know in the comments.

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