WWE star Tony Jones dies aged 53: ‘Rest in power, Shooter’

Former WWE star Tony Jones has died aged 53 credit:Bang Showbiz
Former WWE star Tony Jones has died aged 53 credit:Bang Showbiz

Former WWE star Tony Jones has died aged 53.

Best-known as ‘The Shooter’ to ring fans, Tony 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 famed for his role alongside his on-off tag team partner Mike Modest, 52, in Barry W Blaustein’s 1999 documentary ‘Beyond the Mat’.

His death was announced in a statement from All Pro Wrestling that said: “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.”

Further details about Tony’s death have not yet been released.

Fans shared their devastation at the loss, with one saying on X: “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.”

Another added: “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’.”

Born in San Francisco, 6ft 5in-tall Tony went to the 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 270lbs, Tony 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.

Tony was ranked in the ‘Pro-Wrestling Illustrated’ Top 500 in 1998 at number 462 – but rose to 213 in the league table in 2004.

He had two children, and was left devastated when his daughter Selina died in 2000.

Tony wrote on Facebook on 19 January, 2004: “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.”