Interview with IZW Superstar Cody "The Artist" Jones
“I call myself ‘The Artist’ because I feel like my wrestling moves are like brush strokes and I create masterpieces in the ring, which is my canvas.”
What do The Rock, Randy Orton, Bret Hart, Terry Funk, Eddie Guerrero and Cody Jones all have in common? They all followed in the footsteps of their fathers to become professional wrestlers. Each of these men has the unique experience of being raised around a business that has long been inaccessible to those on the outside. To understand Cody Jones, and the extraordinary wrestler he is you first have to go back in history and learn about his father, Mr. Ebony Tom Jones, who is a living legend in Oklahoma and the wrestling circuits in the Sooner State.
If the history of Oklahoma professional wrestling is ever written, Tom Jones will have his own chapter. A professional wrestler for 38 years, with many of those years wrestling for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) who at the time was the biggest organization in North America and still exists today, Jones wrestled all around the world and won numerous championships. The elder Jones’ career saw him wrestle for such legendary promoters as Jim Crocket (Mid-Atlantic), Leroy McGirk (Mid-South), Bill Watts (Mid-South), Verne Gagne (AWA), Eddie Graham (CWF), Fritz Von Erich (WCCW), Mike LeBell (NWA), and The Sheik (Detroit territory). Jones accumulated a plethora of titles including the NWA Alabama Heavyweight Title, NWA Southwest Heavyweight Title, Tri-State Heavyweight Title, NWA US (LA) Tag Team Title (w/ Billy Red Lyons), the NWA Americas Tag Team Title (w/ Mondo Guerrero) and many, many more. What may be the most noteworthy highlight in Tom Jones’ extensive wrestling career, at least from a historical aspect, was the fact that Jones was the first black man to ever defeat a white man in the South when Jones beat “Creator” Chuck Carbo at the National Guard Armory in Texarkana.
The younger Jones excelled in all kinds of sports as a kid including baseball, basketball and football, but the appeal of the squared circle, combined with the legacy his father established in the ring, is where Jones chose to make his mark. “I’ve been around wrestling my whole life so it was a no-brainer for me to pursue it so I could follow in my dad’s footsteps. Little did I know how much I would fall in love with it making it the greatest choice I ever made,” Jones remembered.
“My dad being a wrestler, I had the privilege to start training at a much younger age than most. I was trained by my dad when I was 13 years old in Oklahoma City. I had my first match May 4, 2002 at the age of 15 at a free show in Oklahoma but first pro match was February 19, 2005 due to the boxing commission in Oklahoma,” Jones replied
But for all of the advantages that come with being the son of a famous wrestling father, Jones has had to deal with the other side of the coin as well. “The fact that my dad wrestled makes the expectations of being successful even greater,” Jones said. That’s a heavy load to carry for any teenager starting out in a business where only the strong survive, but Jones has managed to excel and overcome any barriers that have been placed in front of him.
And as any pro wrestler on the Indy circuit knows, there’s no easy road to success. Although the bloodlines run deep for Jones, it still is an uphill battle to break out of the pack when you’re working in one of the most challenging professions around. Jones accepts that reality and is chasing his dream of becoming a fulltime professional wrestler head-on. “The business has changed and now the cookie cutter look of the over 6 feet tall wrestlers are in demand and being only 5’10” I always hear the same old story about my look, about not being big enough or tall enough and needing to put on more muscle,” Jones recalled.
Although not the stereotypical height for a pro wrestler, Jones lives a healthy lifestyle and has molded his body into a machine through diet and exercise to take the pounding and wear and tear on his frame. “I’m on a pretty strict diet of protein and greens; I eat six times a day. I work out six days a week with heavy lifting and cardio between exercises. This isn’t ballet. The travel doesn’t help the injuries that you already have because you really never rest but you have to move on. It’s a lifestyle that’s not for everyone but I love it, it’s my passion,” Jones remarked.
As a student of the game, Jones wants to expand his arsenal of moves and knowledge by globetrotting to various hot spots of the sport around the world. “I’ve always been intrigued by the different styles of places like Japan, Mexico and Europe so I would love to go to those places and perfect my craft and then showcase those styles here for the fans who can’t get access to those styles.” Jones is already head and shoulders above most wrestlers on the Independent circuit and for someone who has carried the nickname “The Human Highlight Reel” in his younger days, Jones has set the bar fairly high for even himself. But that’s nothing new to the man who usually steals the show on every card he’s on. Very few wrestlers can blend scientific based wrestling with a high flying game, but Jones does it effortlessly. He can have a great match with any size opponent and that makes him a hot commodity.
Along with being a professional wrestler, and maybe partly due to him having a wrestling father that showed him the ropes, Jones believes there’s more he can add to the wrestling business in a positive way. “I would like to get involved in talent development. I would like to train young aspiring wrestlers to keep this business going for years and years to come. I hope to pass my knowledge and passion along to the next generation of wrestlers,” Jones said.
Fans of IZW have quickly taken a liking to Jones as his athleticism and skillset in the ring are on par with anyone in the locker room. Already ten years in the business, the future is bright for Jones who is emerging as a worthy challenger for the Impact Division Title and no doubt will be in the World Heavyweight Title picture down the road. With so much success in such a short time, there is a lot for Jones to be proud of during his IZW tenure. A feud with then Impact Division Champion Michael Barry stands out. “It was my first one in IZW so I felt like I had some to prove not only to the fans but to myself that I could kick it into a higher gear on a bigger stage. I felt like I thrived on that and showed everybody that watches IZW that I’m a top contender in IZW.”
Another feather in the cap for Jones is he is wrestling for not only the #1 wrestling organization in the Southwest and Oklahoma territory, but it’s the exposure he and everybody else in IZW is getting because of the landmark agreement IZW made with Internet sports broadcasting leader GFL.tv. The Lawton, Oklahoma based federation has the capacity to reach millions and millions of people worldwide every week which will only grow Jones, his brand and the IZW fanbase.
“It’s a very big deal! The worldwide exposure is beyond great and it gets the talent seen by a larger scale that isn’t obtainable by many. IZW is hands down the best promotion I have ever worked for. The production value is outstanding and the talent on the roster can be put up against any roster and shine…as for the future of IZW, the sky’s the limit there isn’t anything they can’t do. When they say changing the wrestling world, they mean it,” Jones replied.
With already a decade in the game and so many years left to perform and excel in the sport, Cody Jones is just starting to scratch the surface of what he will become. After all is said and done, Jones is sure to leave his own legacy raising the bar of professional wrestling for future generations the same way his father did in his time.
“If you guys get a chance to see me wrestle please do so as I promise you won’t be disappointed. You will feel my passion and love for this great sport! And for the fans who have seen and keep supporting me I say ‘Thank You!’ I will continue to do this for you guys because if it wasn’t for you there would be no me,” Jones concluded
To learn more about Cody “The Artist” Jones, watch IZW every Saturday on GFL.tv at 8pm ET or visit him on Facebook at Facebook-http://www.facebook.com/#!/TheCodyJones87 or on Twitter at @ThePrinceDiego.