Pittsburgher and WWF legend Virgil has died

by Thomas Leturgey


Michael C. Jones has died. The Wilkinsburg, PA native was an enigma to many fans of professional wrestling around the world. As “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase’s well-dressed and pumped valet, Jones was best known as “Virgil.”

Jones, who would have turned 73 on April 7, passed away on Wednesday morning, February 28, 2024 from complications from dementia as well as a number of recent strokes.

Long-time WWF favorite Tony Atlas discovered Jones working out at a gymnasium and encouraged him to look into professional wrestling. Jones, who moved furniture as a young man, made the call.

He worked in a variety of territories throughout the years, with names like “Mr. Jones” and “Soul Train” Jones. He and “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson were tag team champions, but it was his eight-year run as a bodyguard that fans most remember.

“Virgil” came onto the scene as the silent and menacing second to Dibiase in the World Wrestling Federation. In a sleeveless vest and bald head, Virgil did a lot of Dibiase’s bidding. In one of the most famous “babyface” turns in the WWF in the 1980’s, Virgil was angered by The Million Dollar Man and blasted him in the head with Dibiase’s famous “Million Dollar Belt.”

With Wrestlemania season picking up in the long-ago rebranded WWE, it should be noted that Virgil did win matches on professional wrestling’s grandest stage. Later, he would wrestle in WCW as “Vincent.” Legend is true. When Jones worked for WWF, his name “Virgil” was a dig at Virgil Runnels, the real name of “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. When Jones was a member of the NWO in WCW, his name was “Vincent” a shot at WWF boss Vince McMahon.

In more recent years, Virgil was best known for setting up tables are the most random of locals, selling autographs and pictures. As pushy as he was at times, Jones ended up being a beloved figure.

“He never said anything bad about anyone,” said KSWA referee Mark Charles III, the West Mifflin man who was closest to Jones in recent months. “Except for Sapphire.” Sapphire was a valet and dance partner for Rhodes during his WWF run.

Jones suffered from dementia, but according to his sister Toni, the WWF legend did not ever have cancer, as was previously reported. Jones’ hands let him down in the end, and a neck injury suffered decades ago resurfaced once he lost muscle mass from his wrestling days.

From left to right: Mark Charles III, Virgil (seated) and Koko B. Ware on February 3 in Washington, PA.

In his last public appearance on February 3, Virgil visited his friend, fellow WWF legend Koko B. Ware during a baseball card show in Washington, PA. Jones was frail—110 pounds by some estimates—but happy to visit with friends new and old.

Funeral arrangements are being finalized.

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