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Rufus R. Jones (1933-1993)


Real NameCarey “Buster” Lloyd

Lifespan - 7/4/33 - 11/13/93

6’5” 275 lbs. - Kasnas City, MO


Athletic BackgroundFootball (South Carolina State), Boxing (Golden Gloves)

Teacher(s)Tony Santos

AliasesBig Buster Lloyd

Peak Years`71-`82

Place in HistoryFor decades in pro-wrestling, there was a fairly prescribed set of attributes that blacks had to have if they wanted to be featured stars in a territory.  They needed to be either physically imposing, preferably with an impressive physique; they needed to dance in the ring; they needed to “talk black” on their promos and they needed be get along.  Rufus R. Jones fulfilled all of those antiquated expectations and was able to have a great career.  Furthermore, he was able to achieve success both a sport and in regions where systemic racism stifled many careers.  The son of sharecroppers in South Carolina, he developed his body working in the fields and the forests as a youth.  Buster Lloyd, as he became known, had some success in athletics, but headed North for job opportunities.  Ultimately, his large frame and easy-going personality helped him get into pro-wrestling under Tony Santos.  There is a story that veteran Bobo Brazil tried to dissuade Lloyd for pro-wrestling and it is not hard to believe as spots for black wrestlers were limited.  After a few years, he headed to Kansas City for Gust Karras and developed the Rufus R. Jones persona that made him a legend in the area.  His boxing background influenced his throwing of “soup bones,” his football credentials led him to use “freight train” tackles and he, like most other black wrestlers, often used a headbutt as his finisher.  Rufus was infamously lumbering and clumsy in the ring and yet his matches got over.  His interviews were nonsensical and even incoherent at times as he talked in his raspy voice, made bug eyes at the camera and rambled about the “R” in his name standing for guts and the like.  His appeal was not all that different than that of Thunderbolt Patterson whose work in the ring was limited, but his one-of-a-kind promos really connected with the fans, black and white alike, and Rufus was always able to get over in the South.  Jones won numerous titles in his day, both as a singles and in tag teams, and worked on of top of several territories.  He achieved the greatest success in the Mid-Atlantic area where he was from and the Central States area where he made his home.  Rufus Jones also had NWA Championship matches with Dory Funk Jr., Jack Brisco, Terry Funk, Harley Race and Ric Flair throughout the Southeast, but most often in his main areas.  Jones also formed a tag team with Burrhead Jones (who was supposed to be his cousin) and the pair were a hot item in the Carolinas for a time working with Flair, Ole and Gene Anderson.  Jones was content to settle up in Kansas City, which he made his home, and spend more time with his family.  He and his wife adopted young Kenny Johnson into their family; the youngster became better known as the jive-talking heel manager Slick.  After finishing up in the ring in 1987, Jones worked security at the same racetrack as several of his Central States colleagues and also opened his Ringside Restaurant and Bar.  Although Rufus R. Jones seems like a caricature of a black pro-wrestler, he was able to use his talents to become one of the most successful black pro-wrestlers of his day.


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