Virgil (Mike Jones) passes away

Mike Jones – who was best known as Virgil – has died following multiple health issues over the last several years.

Jones, who has multiple birthdates listed, was born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. and was one of four children. His brother Warren Jr. is deceased and survived by Donald and Antoinette.

While Wikipedia lists Jones as being born in June 1962, SLAM Wrestling did an extensive profile on Jones two years ago and his roommate Shawn Raneri stated his birth date was April 7, 1951.

We cannot confirm what his age was at the time of his passing.

His close friend and independent referee Mark Charles III posted on Wednesday morning:

My dear friends, it is with great sorrow that I bring news from the Jones family of the passing of our beloved Michael Jones, whom we know and loved as Virgil, Vincent, Soul Train Jones and more.

Virgil passed peacefully at the hospital this morning and I ask that you pray for him and for his family.

May his memory be eternal!

Jones played football as a defensive back at Virginia Union University and wouldn’t get involved with professional wrestling until years later. It was through a meeting with Tony Atlas that he was steered in that direction.

His career was linked with the World Wrestling Federation from the beginning, getting a match against Paul Orndorff on September 17, 1986, under the name “Luscious Brown”.

After the match with Orndorff, he was sent to Memphis to develop his skills and worked there through May 1987.

In Memphis, he wrestled as Soul Train Jones and was pushed immediately by beating Big Bubba (Fred Ottman) for the AWA International Heavyweight Championship, which he held for most of his time in the territory before losing to Chic Donovan in April.

Jones teamed with Rocky Johnson in Memphis with the pair winning the Southern tag titles on April 6, 1987, and held them for three weeks until Jones finished up in the territory.

He was repackaged as Virgil upon his return to the WWF with most under the belief it was an inside reference to Virgil Runnels a.k.a. Dusty Rhodes, who was the lead babyface and booker of Jim Crockett Promotions during that period.

As Virgil, he was paired with “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, who was the top heel during this era with Virgil portrayed as his servant and shooting vignettes of Virgil performing demeaning tasks such as massaging DiBiase’s feet and cleaning his boots. The racial dynamic was not lost on audiences and it was a portrayal that would be soundly criticized today.

Virgil played the role of the bodyguard, who could bump for the top babyfaces before getting their hands on DiBiase. It coincided with a massive boom for the company including the famous title switch on an episode of “The Main Event” in February 1988 where DiBiase “bought” the championship from Andre the Giant after beating Hulk Hogan with the help of Earl Hebner.

It set the stage for WrestleMania 4 in Atlantic City where initial plans called for DiBiase to win the tournament and the company to go outside its norm with a heel champion. However, they opted to go with Randy Savage and DiBiase would be his main opponent throughout the year with Virgil and Andre the Giant by his side.

The inevitable split occurred in 1991 with Virgil finally having enough and turning babyface at the urging of babyface figure Roddy Piper. It led to Virgil’s biggest match of his career at WrestleMania 7 in Los Angeles where Virgil defeated DiBiase by count-out with the Million Dollar Championship at stake.

Virgil won the Million Dollar Championship at SummerSlam at Madison Square Garden (although, had already taped television in advance with the title to air after the pay-per-view). DiBiase regained the belt on November 11, 1991, on the Survivor Series Showdown special in Utica, New York.

Virgil continued as a mid-card babyface throughout his WWF tenure and feuded with Repo Man in 1992 and included the two on opposite sides of an eight-man tag at WrestleMania 8 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

His last significant match with the company was on October 27, 1992, losing to WWF Champion Bret Hart on an edition of Superstars in Terre Haute, Indiana.

His role was to work with heels on the rise throughout his remaining period in the company and left the WWF in the summer of 1994. He returned for a short house show run against Jean-Pierre Lafitte (Pierre Carl Ouellet) in 1995.

After wrestling on the independent circuit for several years, he joined WCW in 1996 and renamed Vincent (a spoof on McMahon) as part of the New World Order and attached to another big era of professional wrestling and reunited with Hulk Hogan, Ted DiBiase, and Randy Savage.

Vincent had a similar role as he did in the WWF, largely wrestling on Saturday Night and being a background figure as the N.W.O. stable grew and grew.

The unofficial “B Squad” of the N.W.O. included Vincent, Stevie Ray, Horace Hogan, and Brian Adams, and had a feud in 1999. It led to a Harlem Street Fight at the Uncensored pay-per-view where Stevie Ray beat Vincent. The four had a battle royal for the “leadership” of the N.W.O. Black & White on the April 5 edition of Monday Night, which Stevie Ray won.

His next character was the short-lived “Curly Bill” as a member of the West Texas Rednecks with Curt Hennig, Bobby Duncum Jr., Barry & Kendall Windham.

When Vince Russo and Ed Ferrara took over WCW creative in October 1999, he was re-packaged yet again, as “Shane”.

His final character in WCW was Mr. Jones, being paired with Ernest Miller, who replaced him with Ms. Jones. His final match in the company was on April 8, 2000, right before the re-launch of the company under Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff.

In 2010, WWE used him in his old bodyguard role but paired him with Ted DiBiase Jr. for several appearances before the son of his former ally fired him in favor of Maryse. The run included a match on Raw in June where he teamed with DiBiase Jr. against Big Show and guest host Mark Feuerstein.

The remainder of his wrestling career was on the independent and convention circuit where he created an entirely different persona through his social media and an infamous “Lonely Virgil” meme of the performer sitting at an empty booth under a sign that read, “Wrestling Superstar Virgil” and he leaned into it.

He had the reputation of the ultimate hustler always pushing his 8x10s and popping up at random shows to sell his merchandise.

He made a handful of appearances in AEW in 2019 and 2020 as a sidekick for Chris Jericho and The Inner Circle, which were well received.

Jones was part of the first three GCW Spring Break events, including a three-second match against Ethan Page in April 2019.

In January 2022, he was part of Matt Cardona’s entrance at The WRLD on GCW pay-per-view at the Hammerstein Ballroom. After the appearance, Cardona, Brian Myers, and Mark Sterling did a podcast blasting Jones for screwing up his performance during the entrance. They noted that Jones’ social media is very entertaining, but it was the furthest thing from what the actual guy was like in person.

In 2022, Jones suffered two mild strokes and dealing with the onset of dementia.

We send our condolences to the friends and family of Mike Jones.

About John Pollock 5568 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.