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Classic Superstars
by yo go re

Not every wrestler can just walk out in front of a crowd alone and be a success. It takes a special kind of skill to be able to "get over" all by yourself. Virgil So, often, a new worker is introduced in conjunction with an existing, popular wrestler - usually a heel - as an enforcer. The new guy is billed as a bodyguard, there to "protect" the villain from his many, many enemies. Such was the case with the Million Dollar Man's bodyguard, Virgil.

Mike Jones was an amatuer wrestler who made the jump to the pros. He originally wrestled in an obscure Tennessee federation before moving to the WWF, where he adopted the role of the Million Dollar Man's whipping boy. To help sell Ted's character as evil, he constantly denegrated Virgil, humiliating him as much as anyone else and often leaving him to take the brunt of attacks from his enemies. Though the gimmick never actually used any racist terms, the subtext - a rich white man "owning" a black man - was there.

Virgil's handing out free tickets to the gun show Virgil uses the exact same body as his boss - his suit is white and pink instead of green and silver, but it's the same sculpt, right down to the shoes. In keeping with the character's classic look, his tuxedo has no sleeves. Instead, he has bare arms: the better to show off the guns and look intimidating.

is it just me, or does that look like blackface? The likeness on Jakks' WWE figures are usually pretty good, but Virgil is definitely not. He definitely wasn't a bad-looking guy when he was active in wrestling, but this figure looks like a wax statue of Danny Glover that melted in the sun. His head is oddly long, and while they did a nice job on the five o'clock shadow, his skin color is all wrong - not every black person is the same shade, Jakks.

back of the bus, Virgil Virgil was often used to carry the money that Million Dollar Man threw around, so you could claim that the million dollar bill is actually his accessory, rather than Ted's - the figures come together in a Toys Я Us exclusive two-pack. His huge forehead actally means that Virgil is the bigger figure in this set, though there's no difference in articulation. Of course.

The name "Virgil" was actually a sly poke at WCW superstar Dusty Rhodes, whose birth name was Virgil Runnels. Except in rare cases, a promotion owns the rights to the names and likenesses of its characters. Therefore, when a wrestler jumps to a different company, nice suit he has to come up with a new gimmick. When "Virgil" went to the WCW, he first became "Vincent," a jab at WWF owner Vince McMahon, and later "Shane," after Vince's son.

In the middle of his WWF run, Vincent got to engage in another longstanding wrestling tradition: the face turn. That's what it's called when a bad guy turns good. For months, Ted had really been heaping the abuse on Virgil, making him sympathetic to the crowd. Things finally reached a head at 1991's Royal Rumble, when DiBiase demanded that Virgil strap the Million Dollar Belt around his waist after the duo won a tag team match. Virgil dropped the belt, but picked it up again on DiBiase's orders. Picked it up, sure, then cracked his former boss in the head with the diamond-encrusted belt, knocking him cold.

By himself, this Virgil wouldn't be worth getting. But the fact is, you're not getting him by himself, you're getting him in a set with his boss and his biggest enemy, and that is definitely worth it.

Who's your favorite enforcer? Tell us on our message board, The Loafing Lounge.


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