Where Are They Now? Virgil
Over the course of sports-entertainment history, few men have had as infectious a smile as Virgil. From his time wrestling with Jerry Lawler in Memphis, to his participation at WrestleMania and later the nWo, the man born with the name Mike Jones has seen it all in the wrestling business. Years after his departure from WWE competition, fans still remember the man who personified courage throughout an inspirational and accomplished career.
Virgil wasn't always a fan favorite though. Upon his arrival at WWE, he positioned himself as the assistant extraordinaire to the evil "Million Dollar Man" Ted Dibiase. Whether it was as partners or foes, they drew on the emotions of crowds all over the world. Virgil told WWE.com that the two were as close as brothers.
"It was the greatest experience of my life," said Virgil. "Ted Dibiase's quality as a wrestler was matched only by Ted Dibiase's quality as a man. We were together every day for years, and we never had a single fight," he continued. "It was two men getting along as gentlemen, professionals and friends. Together, we were the greatest act in sports-entertainment."
Before Mike Jones became part of sports-entertainment's greatest act, he earned a degree in mathematics from the University of Virginia. Upon his retirement from the sport, Jones put the degree to use. The man formally known as Virgil now teaches mathematics several days a week at a Catholic High School in his home town of Pittsburgh, Pa., and is known in the classroom as Mr. Jones. In his new role, the former Million Dollar Champion looks to pass on some of the knowledge he picked up from years on the road to his students.
"On the road, you learn how to respect people," said Jones. "That is a lesson that can be useful for my students or any students. WWE is a first-class organization, and while there you learn how to become a first-class individual," he continued. "You learn how to control yourself in different situations, how to act around people, how to bite your tongue, and how to turn the other cheek and walk away. All that stuff translates to the real world."
Outside of the classroom, Jones continues to make occasional appearances in the ring. In 2006, Virgil made a comeback to the squared circle as part of a tour with Armed Forces Entertainment. As part of the venture, he wrestled for troops in Korea, Tokyo, Guam and Honolulu, Hawaii. Despite being inactive for the last few years, the tour brought Jones some of the same feelings he experienced during his memorable matches in the early '90s. One of those matches, his victory against Ted Dibiase as part of SummerSlam '91 at Madison Square Garden remains the most exciting moment of his career.
"Standing on the top turnbuckle at the Garden, it doesn't get any better," said an emotional Jones. "Holding that Million Dollar Belt up as 20,000 people chanted my name, it was a moment and a feeling I'll never forget."
To those 20,000 fans and the millions more whose path he crossed over his long career, Jones sends a poignant message.
"I can't thank them enough," said Jones. "I want to wish them all the best in their health, and in their futures. I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart, and I appreciate all their support over the years."