By Mike Mooneyham
July 1, 2001
“No. 1” Paul Jones, one of pro wrestling’s top names during the ’70s and ’80s, will make a rare appearance as part of an event sponsored by Coward Baptist Church on Saturday. Jones will be at Friendfield Ballpark in Coward, which is located about 10 miles from Florence, to sign autographs and take pictures with fans beginning at 3 p.m.
The Exodus Wrestling Alliance also will present a show as part of “Youth Smackdown 2001.” Among those competing will be Ricky Morton of The Rock and Roll Express and George South. The ballpark is located on Friendfield Road in Coward. Admission is free.
Jones, a longtime Charlotte resident, enjoyed phenomenal success in the Carolinas and Virginia, Georgia and Florida, where he was the only wrestler to simultaneously hold that state’s two major titles, the Florida heavyweight championship and the Southern heavyweight title. He won the Florida title belt four times and the Florida TV title twice. He also held the Georgia heavyweight title.
[ad#MikeMooneyham-336×280]Jones achieved legendary status in the Mid-Atlantic region, where he was a seven-time NWA world tag-team champion with four different partners, two-time United States heavyweight champion, two- time Mid-Atlantic heavyweight champion and four-time Mid-Atlantic tag-team champion, pairing with such stars Nelson Paul, Wahoo McDaniel, Ricky Steamboat, Baron Von Raschke and The Masked Superstar.
Jones was involved in one of Crockett Promotion’s longest-running feuds with “Boggie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant.
“That was huge,” says Jones. “It went on for so long. It couldn’t believe it myself.”
One of the most memorable moments in Florida Championship Wrestling history was when Jones tossed his newly won Florida title over over the Tampa Bay bridge in 1973.
“That was the biggest thing Florida had ever seen,” says Jones. “They still talk about it.”