Thursday, February 29, 2024


Another pro wrestler from my childhood has passed away.

This time it's Mike Jones, who is best known for his time in the WWF during the late 1980s into the early '90s as Virgil.

Virgil was initially brought in to be 'The Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase's bodyguard. The role, as Dibiase's henchman, lasted until 1991 when there was a split between the two resulting in Virgil becoming a babyface as he entered into a war with his former boss.

To be quite frank, that is as far as Virgil got in the WWF. His star began to fall once he left the Dibiase feud.

His later years as a WWF wrestler saw Virgil work as a 'Jobber to the Stars' - a role which saw him lose to wrestlers higher up the food chain.

Jones joined World Championship Wrestling during its hot period with the WCW .vs. New World Order storyline. In that angle he was hired as the NWO's head of security under, yes you guess it: Ted Dibiase.

The trivia note about Virgil's name in WCW is interesting, but - to make it make sense - you first have to be aware of the backstory behind his WWF moniker.

When Jones joined the World Wrestling Federation, ir was during a time when Dusty Rhodes was the head booker of the NWA (later WCW). Vince McMahon decided to name Jones 'Virgil' as a rib on his rival - Rhodes - because Rhodes' real name was Virgil Runnels.

WCW, and Rhodes, got their own back on McMahon when Jones joined the company. The retaliation saw the former Virgil given the name of 'Vincent'.

To close, I'll share a personal memory I have of Virgil.

I met him in Cardiff in December 1993. I high-fived him as he came off his coach and then - later that day - I talked to him as he stood at the hotel desk.

Virgil saw that I had a copy of the latest WWF Superstars magazine and asked me if he could look through it. I handed it over and he began to leaf through it.

'I'm not in here, am I?' He asked me.

I knew he wasn't, so I confirmed it. 

He kind of looked a bit put off by that and stopped on the page with Mr. Hughes' profile. At that point, I asked 'is Mr. Hughes still in the WWF?'

Virgil didn't say anything, but shook his head to the negative.

My first off-the-record scoop!

Before we parted, I asked Virgil if I could have my photograph taken with hum. He obliged, but - as the photo was being taken - I felt his hand behind my head.

Days later, when the photo was developed, I noticed he had put his two fingers up behind my head to give me rabbit ears.

That has to be the first (and only!) rib a wrestler has done to me,

Virgil passed away yesterday morning. His later years were spent in ill health following strokes and a battle with dementia.

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