WrestleMania XXII is right around the corner. In a few days one of the most anticipated events in WWE history will have unfolded and (hopefully) new memories will have been made. And for Mr. USA, Tony Atlas, that will definitely happen, as he is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Let’s just hope the guy inducting him lasts a bit longer on the podium than he did in the ring 22 years ago.
He was the popular, thrilling antithesis of evil jobber Iron Mike Sharpe. He unselfishly bridged generations of fans whose heroes ranged from Bruno Sammartino to Jim Hellwig. And so without any further ado I bring you perhaps the most predictable #1 in the history of recorded top ten countdowns. This week’s Jobber Of The Week and our #1 WrestleMania jobber of all-time is, of course, S. D. “Special Delivery” Jones.
In the early 1970’s young Conrad Ephraim, a native of Antigua in the West Indies, would leave his homeland and relocate to the Bronx, NY. Possessing a well built physique he caught the eye of a local independent wrestler, Mr. Haiti. Seeing some potential, Haiti schooled Conrad in some basics of wrestling before sending him to meet a future WWF Hall Of Famer, Johnny Rodz. Rodz, a noted trainer, taught Conrad the ins-and-outs, and later introduced him to Captain Lou Albano.
Albano, apparently impressed, would inform Gorilla Monsoon and Vincent McMahon Sr. of this new prospect. Knowing the limited drawing power of a wrestler named “Conrad”, he rechristened him Special Delivery Jones, his gimmick being that of a former boxer with fast hands. New gimmick in tow, S. D. began his wrestling journey.
In the 70’s, S. D. travelled all over America. Starting out in the then WWWF, he also ventured everywhere from Florida to the west coast of California. A run as NWA Americas tag champs in 1975 with Porkchop Cash soon followed. To celebrate this winning streak, he would rename himself Roosevelt Jones. Wrestling in the south, he even crossed paths with future obsessive-compulsive puppy perv, Jerry “The King” Lawler. Perhaps tired of all the mileage, Jones reverted back to being S. D. and returned to the WWF in the late 70’s.
As the 80’s began, S. D. would embark on a decade of upper deck burned out light-bulb inspections. He may have come up short on the winning end, but not on infamous memories. S. D. ‘s wild ride was now in motion. First stop, the Philadelphia Spectrum, June 1982. In twenty man battle royal, Jones went toe-to-toe with everyone from Mr. Fuji to Ivan Putski. It came down to the final four of Jones, Adrian Adonis, Greg Valentine, and S. D. ‘s occasional partner, Tony Atlas. Atlas soon disposed of Adonis and S. D. took care of the Hammer with a devastating dropkick. The fact that they were in the city of brotherly love was clearly evident. Being friends, as well as the fact that the WWF patented Royal Rumble term “its every man for himself” was still six years from being invented, they decided to settle the match with a friendly coin flip. Atlas won the toss, and would gingerly lift Jones over the top rope for the victory.
Poor S. D. even jobbed to a 25-cent piece.
The 80’s rolled on and so did the losses. Being well liked in the back it’s no surprise that S. D. would occasionally team up with big names. And in the eighties, no name was bigger than Andre The Giant. In December of 1984, Andre would find himself scheduled to face his main enemies Big John Studd and Ken Patera. In the worst choice of his life he picked S. D. to go to war with him. In no time S. D. would wind up unconscious on the floor while Patera and Studd proceeded to cut off Andre’s dated French afro. Needless to say, S. D. never got the call from the big man again.
A few months later on March 31, 1985, he found himself across the ring from another giant, King Kong Bundy. However, this was no ordinary TV taping.
This was history.
This was MSG.
This was WrestleMania.
On the biggest stage of all, S. D. would go down in a record nine seconds. Well, the announced nine seconds plus another sixteen the timekeeper conveniently forgot. Of all places, of all times, the one man who was well known for being able to bring the goods and go for a solid 10 minutes and make his opponent look awesome took a fall in 23 seconds in front of a record audience. Damnit, where was Jose Luis Rivera when you needed him?
The mid-80’s would see a change in S. D. No, not in his won-loss record, but in appearance. The MTV influenced WWF was now more bright and gimmickey. Usually decked out in unfashionably drab satin jackets and claiming to reside in Philly, S. D. would return to his Antiguan heritage and start wearing his colorful headbands and native outfits. He would get in on the new-age WWF-MTV action as well, even singing a line in the “Land of 1000 Dances”, WWF’s All Star song off of the first Wrestling Album.
No Grammys for our lovable loser were in the cards, but perhaps something even better. In 1986, LJN would introduce the world to the most questionable piece of plastic this side of Mae Young’s hand. Yes, just what the world was waiting for, the S. D. Jones action figure. But hold on folks, that’s not the best part. You can choose which style S. D. you want – boring Philly S. D. or bright Antigua S. D. Why LJN went to the trouble of making TWO different jobbing S. D. ‘s while robbing me of any potential Mr. X or Barry O. figure still angers me to this day.
As we entered the late 80’s it was business as usual. S. D. had his pre-match pistol’s firing and lightning quick fists firing in action as well. Occasional wins over Mike Sharpe and Mr. X were spaced out with numerous defeats. By 1987 though, it was music time again. However, this time with the writing on the wall. There would be no solos for S. D. this time for the WWF All Star jam on Piledriver – “If You Only Knew”. Teaming up with two other vocally challenged stars whose ear torturing sounds could only be duplicated by a mad scientist’s trio of William “She Bangs” Hung and two matching clones, S. D. , along with Outback Jack and Jim Duggan would be relegated to rear chorus duty. Just as Jones was pushed to the outs of the chorus, he soon found himself on the outs of the WWF. As the 90’s arrived Vinnie Mac decided it was time for a change. S. D., as well as a lot of the old time job guys would soon be released from the WWF.
S. D., however, shed no tears and didn’t look back. He is still employed by the same newspaper company he has been with since the month he was released and has not returned to the ring.
This Sunday, the WWE will celebrate 22 glorious years since that famous first WrestleMania. As you watch Rey Mysterio, Kurt Angle, and Randy Orton go at it for over 20 thrilling minutes I want you to take a few seconds, no, make that NINE seconds to think of all those special guys like S. D. “Special Delivery” Jones. Without guys who sacrificed and gave it their all like him, you might be watching a roller derby pay-per-view this Sunday.
Thank you, Mr. Jones.