Former professional wrestler S.D. "Special Delivery" Jones passed away Sunday on his native island of Antigua, West Indies, from complications related to a stroke he suffered two days earlier. He was 64.
Jones, whose real name was Conrad Efraim, retired several years ago and moved from the Bronx to Antigua with his wife.
Jones was a top "jobber," or preliminary wrestler, during the early days of the WWE's (then known as WWF) national expansion. He also was a mainstay in the old WWWF (World Wide Wrestling Federation).
Billed as "Philadelphia's favorite son," Jones held several titles early in his career, including the Los Angeles-based Americas tag-team belts with Porkchop Cash and Tom Jones.
Jones worked at a telephone company before turning pro in 1971. He wrestled under the name Roosevelt Jones before settling on "Special Delivery" Jones as his moniker.
Melvin Nelson, who wrestled as Burrhead Jones and is sometimes confused with S.D. Jones, says S.D. appeared as another cousin of Mid-Atlantic star Rufus R. Jones after Nelson left the territory for Kansas City. Rufus R. Jones, whose real name was Buster Lloyd, had left the Carolinas with cousin Nelson to work part-time for the Kansas City promotion, but would occasionally make it back to the Charlotte-based territory to tag with S.D. for special matches against teams such as Gene and Ole Anderson.
S.D. Jones was trained by veteran performer Johnny Rodz and entered WWE in late 1976.
"Through that time, Jones was a competitor who always gave optimum effort in all of his matches. Many of his opponents knew that if they wanted to gain a victory over Jones, they absolutely had to dig deep to earn it," the WWE Web site posted Monday.
Jones was often featured in tag-team matches with "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas, and the two challenged Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito for the WWF tag-team belts on a number of occasions during the early '80s. Jones also teamed with the likes of Andre The Giant and Rocky Johnson.
Jones' last WWE appearance was in 2006 when he inducted longtime friend Atlas into the company's Hall of Fame.
Jones also had the dubious distinction of suffering the quickest loss at Wrestlemania when he lost to King Kong Bundy at the inaugural event in 1985 in an announced nine seconds. That mark was broken last year when Kane pinned Chavo Guerrero in eight seconds at Wrestlemania 25.
Jones retired after 22 years in the ring and took a job as a newspaper driver for the New York Daily News. He retired again in late 2007 and moved back to his native Antigua.
While Jones will be known primarily for putting opponents over and making them look good in the process, he was a solid performer and well-liked inside and outside the ring.
"Finally, S.D. will be looking down at the lights," one longtime follower commented.