Induction: The Return of Virgil – Who? Mike Jones!

34 Submitted by on Thu, 27 February 2014, 21:00

WWE, 2010

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Ever since “The Wrestler” hit theaters in 2009, a lot of past-their prime superstars have been pegged as “The Wrestler in real life”: a former big name now living in the past and struggling with addiction or financial despair. Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Jake Roberts, and many others have been given that dubious distinction. One scene in that movie that didn’t ring true, though, was where Mickey Rourke’s character appeared at an autograph convention and barely anyone showed up. In real life, many wrestling fans have long memories and are still willing to fork over cash to own a piece of history or take a photo with their childhood heroes, even if they’ve fallen on hard times.

virgil01 One notable exception, though, is for Virgil. Long before “The Wrestler,” lonely Virgil was an internet meme, sitting alone at wrestling conventions with no fans in line to buy his merchandise. Poor Mike Jones had to just sit there for hours on end as Eric Carmen’s “All By Myself” played in a continuous loop. Today, there is even a blog dedicated exclusively to photos of Virgil all alone at conventions.
It therefore seemed odd that WWE would bring back Virgil, who had gained fame for not being famous anymore. Yet that’s exactly what they did in May 2010. virgil02
virgil03 For a few weeks, Ted DiBiase, Jr. had been looking for an assistant, a sort of manservant who could watch his back and carry his bags. In other words, as R-Truth put it, “a Virgil.” Like Marty Jannetty, Virgil had become an archetypal character in wrestling lore.
And just as Jannetty made a brief return after Miz and John Morrison argued over which one was the “Marty Jannetty” of their team, Virgil capitalized on his name being tossed around as an insult. virgil04
virgil05 See, after R-Truth rejected Ted DiBiase’s offer…
…junior brought in Virgil himself to handle all his menial chores. virgil06
virgil07 On Virgil’s first night back with the company, the announcers were slow to recognize him and admitted to not having known whether he was even alive anymore.
Now, when you bring back “legends,” they’re supposed to give a rub to a younger wrestler trying to get over. Think of Dusty Rhodes and his sons, Ric Flair and Evolution, or Bret Hart and the Hart Dynasty. In this case, if anything, it was Ted DiBiase who was giving a rub to Virgil. That’s all kinds of backwards. virgil08
virgil09 At least WWE wasn’t spending anything extra on wardrobe anymore. Those shiny jackets and dickeys cost money, man!
Virgil’s moment in the spotlight was to end at the Over the Limit pay-per-view, where he would accidentally cost Ted his match against R-Truth. This was to spell the end for Virgil’s stint. Fortunately, if there was one thing Mike Jones couldn’t care less about, it was spelling. virgil10
virgil11 See, the plan was for DiBiase to fire Virgil for costing him the bout, but R-Truth ended up slapping Ted so hard, Virgil’s boss got a concussion and couldn’t remember the planned finish of the match, so Virgil got to keep his gig. With one slap, Ron Killings had no doubt earned Virgil more money than all of his convention appearances combined.
What was supposed to be a six-day, two-show stint ended up lasting weeks, allowing Virgil to make his return to the ring after DiBiase recovered from his head injury. Virgil teamed with Ted, Jr. in a losing effort against former nWo teammate The Big Show and the guy from Royal Pains. virgil12
virgil13 Ouch. He didn’t even get to execute his patented Bodyguard Bash.
But hey, money is money. virgil14
virgil15 The good times would not last forever for Virgil, though, as Ted replaced him with Maryse, who could take care of his needs better than the former Million Dollar Champion. But what about protection? Ted said he would just go to the drug store.
He was talking about condoms, folks. For sex!
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RIP Nelson Frazier. In related news, Trojan and Durex have filed for bankruptcy.

virgil17 Ultimately, Virgil’s return to WWE wouldn’t do anything for Ted DiBiase or Mike Jones himself, as Ted would end up retiring from the ring after failing to catch on, while Virgil’s merchandise tables are still as quiet as ever.

 

You would think that TNA would have snatched him up immediately, as this was around the same time they were hiring anyone who’d ever stepped foot in a WWF ring in the 90’s, like the Nasty Boys. The man who had previously been named to spite Dusty Rhodes, Vince McMahon, and eventually Shane McMahon could have had a run in Orlando as “Paul,” but it wasn’t meant to be.

Still, you’ve got to hand it to Virgil for squeezing himself into the picture, even though absolutely nobody wanted him there.

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He seems to have a knack for that.

Written by

A wrestling fan ever since the days of Wrestlemania IX, Art graduated from college in the same building where Art Donovan called King of the Ring 1994. He currently runs the "How Much Does This Guy Weigh?" blog, where he reviews New Generation-Era Monday Night Raws and Hasbro WWF figures. Email at: art@wrestlecrap.com
34 Responses to "Induction: The Return of Virgil – Who? Mike Jones!"
  1. Down With OPC says:

    Curly Bill FTW

  2. Peter says:

    Virgil wearing what appears to be an Ak Bars Kazan jersey in the second convention pic. Kind of ironic, given that the team plays relatively close to a barren region known as Siberia.

  3. Sean O says:

    So who’s the gal next to Savio in the last pic?

  4. Matt says:

    I saw Virgil a few months ago at a large flea market in Louisville. He had that banner with Ted Dibiase and his names on it. My friends and I wondered where Dibiase was until we realized that he wasn’t there and that must of been his only banner. He was there trying to sell autographs and bootlegs of his matches for $20. I saw only one or two people stop by.

    Also, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine was there on the opposite side of the flea market. He was selling autographs as well. He also had a sweet laserdisc of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre for sale in his booth.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Excellent induction. This was pretty much the definition of crap in that it wasn’t really even so-bad-it’s-funny, just poorly booked and pointless.

  6. Peter says:

    I think I’m one of the few that got an autograph from Virgil at a convention, it wasn’t pretty though. The guy basically begs people to come to his table, and he acts like a crack addict who can barely speak English. This was back in 2003.

  7. Preparation Triple H says:

    With a name like Nelson Frazier, I thought Mabel/Viscera was Canadian.

  8. AK says:

    I’ll admit it, I always liked Virgil. As the WWF would constantly remind us, he was unique in that he was billed as a Bodyguard and/or Manservant as opposed to the more recognized Manager or Valet.

    Once he broke away from DiBiase I thought he could have gone on to do something, which he did; job spectacularly.

    I have two favourite Virgil moments and sadly (or not) they are both at his expense.

    The first one was at the 89 Survivor Series after he took a DDT from Jake the Snake. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone sell the move as well as Virgil. Then when DiBiase rolls Virgil’s corpse out of the ring to the floor, good times.

    The other time was shortly after he turned face. I forget when it was but he was with Roddy Piper and Piper asked him something along the lines of what it takes to be a man (I really have no idea what Piper actually said) and Virgil responds by spelling out his name.

    After that, the first thing Jesse Ventura says is “Wow, after all that training Virgil learned how to spell his name” which I am pretty sure was followed by a “Will you stop?” by Gorilla Monsoon.

  9. Deathedge says:

    Wonder how much money he got for being a “legend” in WWE 2K14…

  10. graham says:

    virgil for hall of fame!

  11. Alan says:

    This is so sad it’s funny. The most sad part was Mike Jones trying to sell autographs in the NYC subway. I had seen the first “Lonely Virgil” pic awhile back & couldn’t stop laughing. $20 for a Virgil autograph? 20 cents sounds more like a good price.

  12. The Half Boy says:

    I had that Virgil figure, and it was one of my favourites. I’m not sure why. I think the pull back fist was just a bit better than something like the Gorilla Press Slam that most seemed to have.

  13. Bickle says:

    Last time I talked to old Virg at a conl he told me he made $50,000 a month wrestling on Japan. Unfortunately for him I can read enough Japanese and had a smartphone. When I asked him why I couldn’t find him booked where he claimed. He got all mad.

    The only way he’s making $50k a month in
    Japan is if some Yakuza…..needs a valet…companionship you know?

    • Mr. Stanek says:

      I’ve heard stories from others who’ve dared approach Virgil’s booth say that he’s claimed to have headlined a Wrestlemania against Hulk Hogan and that he was the one who lawn-darted Rey Mysterio. I’d like to think that these are exaggerations. But when you see him having set up shop in parking lots and subway stations you know the stories must be true.

  14. Al Lobama says:

    What is sorely lacking from this induction is Virgil becoming the first person Santino Marella successfully hit with the Cobra. Up until that point, nobody sold the move when Santino hit them with it, but not only did Virgil sell it…he sold it TERRIBLY! If any part of Virgil’s return was wrestlecrap, that was it.

  15. patricko says:

    Caught a house show in Lansing, MI, during the Dusty / MDM feud,
    (Not sure if they still do it, but WWE used to book double shots on weekends. Why ONLY work Lansing on a sunday, when you can Work Lansing at 1p for a matinee, and then be in Grand Rapids or Kalamazoo or Muskegeon for an evening show?)

    So the boys wouldn’t work too hard at any one show…

    Paid for the pleasure of them card subject to chang-ing Dibiase out of the show, and watching Virgil beat Dusty on a roll-up-with-tights after 45 seconds of action. Even when the camera wasn’t rolling, Virgil was doing all the heavy lifting….

    man, were we pissed….

    • Scrooge McSuck says:

      I would’ve demanded my nickel back.

    • Caveman says:

      I was at a WCW house show once (no, I didn’t pay for it, the tickets were free) and the (negative) highlight was a ~50 minute match between Virgil (I guess he was known as Vincent of the nWo B-Team then) and Gentleman Chris Adams. The most long-winded and boring match I’ve ever seen. One of the rest holds was over 10 minutes long!
      I guess they were stalling for time for some talent (Nash and Sting, I believe) that was booked to go after them no-showed (and nobody told WCW that, so they thought they’d be late).
      Curiously, the 3 Minute Squash match where Goldberg held Vincent’s fellow nWo B-Teammate the Giant (during his smoking on the way to the ring days) up for the Jackhammer for over 1 minute before slamming him to the mat with the ring moving a couple of meters was alot more entertaining than that super-long Virgil/Adams match.

      • Caveman says:

        I forgot to mention in the post above that after WCW finally realized their advertised main eventers wouldn’t show up, they offered refunds for the tickets. Even the (many) people that got free tickets to the show and demanded a refund were granted one. I wonder if those refunds were deducted from Virgil’s paycheck and are the reason why he is charging such insane prices for his autographs and bootlegs these days.

  16. Sheiky Baby says:

    Virgil inducted into the raisin balls hall of fame

  17. The Scanian Maniac says:

    Actually since I grew up with wrestling in the 80s/90s everytime people today discuss Virgil the famous Roman poet, the only thing that pops into my mind is the wrestler :-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgil

  18. Terrance says:

    Has there ever been a wrestling persona more politically incorrect as Virgil? The man deserved a better treatment. I’, surprised Vince didn’t have him shining shoes!

  19. Mr maddog says:

    I used to read a blog called the Virgil Bag. it was all funny and/or sad stories about people meeting Virgil at the cons. but Mike Jones found out it on Twitter and bitched about it so they stopped doing it. should have checked Tumble for another version, thanks Art!

  20. Felicity says:

    I wasn’t a fan of his Virgil gimmick, but I liked him very much as Vincent in the NWO. If I see him sitting alone at a convention I will go talk to him!

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