My goodness, Virgil gets unending abuse these days from the Internet wrestling community.
Granted, those of us who like pro wrestling and care enough to blog or tweet about it can be a hard-nosed bunch. But I’m just not sure what Virgil did in his WWF career to earn such contempt.
Virgil was the sidekick of “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, a crony who helped DiBiase get his ring jacket off and interfere if needed. I have distinct images of Virgil counting out crisp $100 bills during DiBiase promos.
Sure, there was racial tension in the pairing. You had the white DiBiase playing a millionaire who was accompanied by African-American Virgil, who in many ways acted as a servant. It was a typical wrestling stereotype, of which there were plenty in the 1980s. And many of us wondered whether the character’s name was somehow a rib on Dusty Rhodes, whose real name is Virgil Runnels.
The WWF kept the pair together for years before Virgil finally had enough of DiBiase and turned babyface, but Virgil had marginal talent at best and eventually found his way to mid- and lower-card.
However, you’d have to say he had a successful career in wrestling, because everyone who was a fan at the time remembers Virgil still today. Are we going to remember Zach Ryder, Rosa Mendes, or other second-rung players 25 years from now? Probably not.
But there’s Virgil, getting grief in 2012 for work he did in 1987. And I’m not sure why. Do you know?