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WWE star Tony Jones dies at 53

Tony Jones
Tony Jones (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Former WWE star Tony Jones has died at age 53.

Best-known as “The Shooter” to ring fans, Jones was an APW Universal Heavyweight Champion and notched up a string of appearances in World Wrestling Entertainment in 1998, 2001, 2003, and 2007 – but is probably most famous for his role alongside his on-again-off-again tag team partner Mike Modest, in Barry W. Blaustein’s 1999 documentary “Beyond the Mat.”

“All Pro Wrestling is extremely saddened to learn of the passing of former APW Universal Heavyweight Champion, ‘Shooter’ Tony Jones.

“Shooter, Rest in Power. Enjoy paradise with your baby girl. We’ll always love you, brother. Anthony ‘Shooter’ Jones 1971–2024.” His death was announced in a statement from All Pro Wrestling.

Further details about Jones’ death have not yet been released.

“My first ever wrestling show was at Pro-Wrestling Iron International Challenge Vol 1.

“When I first saw ‘Shooter’ Tony Jones, that man was something special, he was very talented and very underrated. RIP ‘Shooter’ Tony Jones.” Fans shared their devastation at the loss, with one saying on X.

“California indy wrestling mainstay. Most will remember him from ‘Beyond the Mat’ when he and Mike Modest had a try-out match w/WWF. “And JR telling him to add more muscle to his upper body so he’ll ‘Be in the hunt’.” another added.

Born in San Francisco, the 6 ft. 5 in. wrestling pro attended Archbishop Riordan High School where he was a prodigy in the fields of wrestling, football and running.

He continued his wrestling career at San Francisco State University, graduating with a degree in broadcasting in 1995.

At a weight of 270 lbs., Jones undertook professional wrestling training at Roland Alexander’s All-Pro Wrestling school and made his debut in January 1997.

Filmmaker Barry Blaustein’s Beyond the Mat traced his journey into the wrestling world and captured his WWE try-out match along with Michael Modest – real name Michael K Cariglio – in September 1998.

Jones was ranked in “Pro-Wrestling Illustrated” in 1998 at number 462 of 500 – but rose to 213 in the league table in 2004.

He had two children, however his daughter Selina died in 2000.

“My baby girl would have been 24 years old today. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think and love her to my fullest. Selina started to like pro-wrestling (I wonder why lol) so I’m sharing one of my past birthday wishes to my princess. Keep looking over me and I promise to always represent you. Happy heavenly birthday princess. Daddy loves you so much baby girl,” jones wrote in a Facebook post on Jan. 19, 2004.

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