The Rock 'n' Roll Express

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The Rock 'n' Roll Express
The Rock & Roll Express.jpg
Tag team
Members Robert Gibson
Ricky Morton
Billed from Memphis, Tennessee
Music City, USA
Debut 1983
Promotions AJPW
APWA
ASW
AWA
AWA W1
BCW
BTW
CFW
CSW
CWA
DCW
DSCW
ECW
FMW
HOH
IWC
IWR
JCW
KPWA
LSW
MACW
MECW
MCW
MCW
MTW
MSW/UWF
MSWA
MVW
Memphis Wrestling
NSRPW
NWA
NWL
OVW
PPW
PWA
PWE
PWF
Pro Wrestling USA
PWS
SMW
SWCW
TCW
TNT/AWE
UCW
USWA
RPW
World-1
WAR
WrestleCade
WCCW
WCW
WCWA
WrestleMerica
WOW
WWC
WWF/E
XCW Mid-West

The Rock 'n' Roll Express is a professional wrestling tag team consisting of professional wrestlers Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton. The duo began teaming together in Memphis in the early 1980s, followed by Universal Wrestling Federation (known as Mid-South wrestling at the time), followed by a stint with the National Wrestling Alliance's Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP). They held the NWA World Tag Team Championship eight times, with the first four times in JCP. They also feuded with the Four Horsemen alliance. In the late 1980s, they were contenders for the American Wrestling Association's AWA World Tag Team Championship. By 1991, the team was losing momentum, and Morton turned heel on his partner to join The York Foundation alliance in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). In 1992, the team reformed in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, where they held the SMW Tag Team Championship ten times. The duo also worked in the World Wrestling Federation and WCW. On March 31, 2017, the duo was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Jim Cornette.

History

Formation

The Rock 'n' Roll Express was formed with Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson in 1983 in Memphis by head booker Jerry Lawler. They were originally paired together as an alternative to the popular team of The Fabulous Ones (Steve Keirn and Stan Lane) when they could not wrestle in certain towns. The gimmick of The Rock 'n' Roll Express was a couple of high flying wrestlers who loved glam metal music, as it was a popular genre of music at the time. In 1983 and 1984, the team participated in a series of matches against The Galaxians, the Bruise Brothers (Porkchop Cash and Troy Graham), and the team of Lanny Poffo and Randy Savage.[1]

They soon made their way to Mid-South Wrestling where they started a feud with the Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton, Dennis Condrey, and manager Jim Cornette). The feud began when Cornette threw a celebration for the Midnight Express after they won the Mid-South Tag Team Championship.[2] During the celebration, The Rock 'n' Roll Express shoved Cornette's face into the celebratory cake.[2] The rivalry between the two teams carried on into the National Wrestling Alliance.

Jim Crockett Promotions (1985-1988)

The Rock N' Roll Express went to the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)'s Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) in 1985 and won four NWA World Tag Team Championships over the next couple of years. On July 9, 1985, the team debuted in JCP against the team of Ivan Koloff and Krusher Khrushchev, whom they defeated to begin their first reign as champions.[3] The reign lasted until October 13 of that same year. At Starrcade in 1985, they recaptured the title,[4][5] only to lose them on a prime time WTBS special to the Midnight Express, Superstars on the Superstation, on February 7, 1986. This title change is significant because televised matches between major contenders were rarely shown in those days. They won the title back in Philadelphia on August 16, 1986, and held them until a Saturday night prime time match on WTBS' World Championship Wrestling against Rick Rude and the Raging Bull Manny Fernandez. The Rock 'n' Roll Express won the belts back when Rude, still a champion, simply left the NWA to go work for Vince McMahon in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Needing to save face, promoter Jim Crockett had Ivan Koloff substitute for an 'injured' Rude, and the Express won the belts for what proved to be the final time.

During their time in JCP, the Rock 'n' Roll Express achieved enormous popularity. At times the company would run two shows in one night, with the Rock N Roll often headlining the "B" team cards they would usually outdraw the concurrent "A" team shows with bigger named talent. On one occasion this led them to a reprimand from booker Dusty Rhodes after they sold out Charlotte, while the A team card with Rhodes did less than half the gate in Baltimore. Morton and Gibson were so popular during this time period that they were actually asked to leave Carowinds Amusement Park because they were creating a mob and it was shutting down the park. It was a common occurrence for the fans to swarm them as they did their ring entrance which drew a huge crowd reaction when their music (ELO's Rock N' Roll Is King and later Ricky Morton's Boogie Woogie Dance Hall) began.[6] Fans would also hang out at their houses, and at the height of their popularity the Charlotte police would station an officer at their homes to keep the fans away. Robert Gibson says that they went nine months without a day off during this period and when they requested time off, Jim Crockett told them that it would cost them too much money in lost ticket sales. They eventually would fake injuries to get days off.[7]

In November 1986 at Starrcade, The Rock 'n' Roll Express defeated Ole Anderson and Arn Anderson in a Steel Cage match to retain the NWA World Tag Team Championship.[5] After a series of matches running from late August through early October, they lost their title for a fourth and final time (They would win four more in later years, but only the first four were also recognized by World Championship Wrestling later)in the fall of 1987 to Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard thanks to a pre-match attack by their longtime rivals The Midnight Express. Morton suffered an injured arm in the attack which led to Gibson beginning the match alone. Eventually Morton would join the match in a sling, but the match ended when Gibson told the referee to stop the match due to Morton's injury.They feuded heavily with Four Horsemen members Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, who constantly mocked them and attacked them outside of the ring.

During late 1987 the Rock N Roll Express feud with the Midnight Express heated up again which led to a historical scaffold match on November 26, 1987 at Starrcade 87 in Chicago. Morton and Gibson defeated Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane eight minutes into the match. As 1988 began they entered into a brief feud with the Sheepherders. On January 23, 1988 in Cincinnati, Ivan Koloff & the Warlord defeated The Rock N Roll Express in twelve seconds, with Morton and Gibson leaving the company after the match. After a several month absence Ricky and Robert did an interview with Bob Caudle at Clash of the Champions II "Miami Mayhem" where they discussed returning to the NWA. On June 26th at the start of the Great American Bash Tour, Ricky and Robert defeated the Sheepherders in their return match. Rock N Roll Express won several more matches with the Sheepherders as well as a few others until a pay dispute led to Robert Gibson departing JCP again in late July. Ricky Morton stayed on and wrestled singles matches, as well as tag team and six man matches with a variety of partners such as Nikita Koloff, Brad Armstrong, and Steve Williams. Morton had his last match on September 23, 1988 before leaving JCP again.[8]

AWA and return to the NWA/WCW (1988-1992)

In 1988, The Rock 'n' Roll Express had a brief feud with The Midnight Rockers in the Continental Wrestling Association (CWA), over the AWA World Tag Team Championship. Their first match on February 15, 1988, ended in controversy, causing the AWA World Tag Team title to be held up. A week later, on February 22, a rematch for the held-up titles was held and The Midnight Rockers won them back. In all, the Rock N Roll Express spent April to May, and October to December 1988 in the AWA. On February 2, 1988 in Kansas City they had a match with the British Bulldogs, and they also did a brief tour in Japan during 1988.

On January 3, 1990 Morton and Gibson made their return to the NWA. During the early part of the return they had TV matches with the Midnight Express, the Horsemen, and The Fabulous Freebirds. On July 7, 1990, they challenged Doom for the NWA World Tag Team Championship at The Great American Bash in the semi-main event, but lost. On September 22, 1990 in a match against Doom in Jacksonville Florida, Robert Gibson suffered a torn ACL when Ron Simmons came off the top rope on his extended knee while Butch Reed was holding it. Morton would state years later on a podcast with Ric Flair that the injury actually occurred the day before the match when Robert's wife hit him with a car. Ricky says that he told Robert to just get to the ring and go down right after the start of the match so that he could be paid while injured. Gibson was forced to miss a considerable amount of time throughout the rest of 1990 and the first half of 1991 while recovering from surgery which was performed by Dr. James Andrews.[9] On June 12, 1991 at Clash of the Champions in Knoxville Tennessee, Morton turned on a returning Gibson to join the York Foundation which led to a match between Morton and Gibson at the Great American Bash on July 14, 1991. Richard Morton (w/ Alexandra York) pinned Robert Gibson at 17:23 after Morton came off the top and hit Gibson in the back with the computer as York distracted referee Bill Alphonso on the apron. The former partners had more matches over the next several weeks, mostly won by Morton. Morton and Gibson continued their singles careers until Robert was released by WCW in the early fall. Ricky stayed on in WCW as a heel until the summer of 1992.

SMW, USWA, WCW and WWF (1992 - 1996)

In late July 1992, Ricky Morton briefly feuded with Eddie Gilbert in the USWA, and before his brief USWA run ended, Gibson joined him for a few tag team matches[10]. They reunited on August 8, 1992 in Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW) and feuded with the Heavenly Bodies, winning the tag team title ten times. The feud with the Heavenly Bodies, which had been ongoing for approximately a year,[11] included a barbed wire cage match and a Texas death match.[12] The rivalry carried over to both World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1993, splitting pay per view matches for the two promotions. The Rock 'n' Roll Express defeated the Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane and Dr. Tom Prichard) at WCW's SuperBrawl III event and the Bodies (this time Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray) defeating the Express for the SMW Tag Team Championship at the Survivor Series. Defending the SMW tag title at the event was part of an agreement between the WWF's Vince McMahon and SMW's Jim Cornette.[13]

Back in SMW in May 1994, The Rock 'n' Roll Express lost their title to the team of Chris Candido and Brian Lee, who were managed by Tammy Fytch.[14] The duo, however, won the title back in August.[14] After that feud ended, they feuded with The Gangstas over the titles. During that feud, they had Jim Cornette as their manager. Soon after the Gangstas feuded, Cornette betrayed Morton and Gibson, as they feuded with The Dynamic Duo, whom they lost the titles to in April 1995.

In April 1995, they defeated Dick Murdoch and Randy Rhodes to win the vacant NWA World Tag Team Championship. In June 1995, they were stripped of the titles, as their USWA match with PG-13 ended in controversy. A week later, they defeated PG-13 to win back the NWA World Tag Team titles and win the USWA World Tag Team Championship, making them double champions, but it didn't last, as they lost the USWA titles back to PG-13 a week later. In July 1995, they scheduled to feud with The Thugs over the SMW Tag Team Championship, and set to turn heel, but in August 1995, Morton was suspended after an altercation between his girlfriend Andrea Callaway and Tracy Smothers' girlfriend Angela Lambert, leaving Gibson on his own. As a result of Morton's suspension, they vacated the NWA World Tag Team titles. When Morton returned to SMW, Gibson had turned heel and joined Jim Cornette's Militia, but the proposed feud between the two didn't materialize as the promotion folded shortly after his return.

After SMW's closure, they reunited in the USWA and resumed their feud with PG-13.

Return to WCW (1996 - 1997)

On August 5, 1996 Morton and Gibson made their return to World Championship Wrestling on Monday Nitro, facing and losing to WCW World Tag-Team Champions Harlem Heat. Their next appearance came three weeks later, where in a renewal of an old rivalry they faced Ric Flair and Arn Anderson on Nitro in Lakeland, FL. Three days later in Orlando, FL at a WCW Worldwide taping the Rock 'n' Roll Express gained their first victory in their comeback, defeating High Voltage. Their next appearance came on WCW Saturday Night on September 30, where they fell to The Faces of Fear (Meng and The Barbarian).[15] Morton and Gibson appeared sparingly going forward on Saturday Night and WCW Pro. They left in 1997 to participate in independent federations.

World Wrestling Federation (1998)

A year later, they were in the WWE for a brief stint as part of the NWA angle (managed by former rival James E. Cornette). Their first appearance came on Monday Night RAW when they faced Skull and 8-Ball on January 12, 1998 in State College, PA and lost via disqualification.[16] During their time in the company, they appeared at WrestleMania XIV in March 1998 in a tag team battle royal, which was won by the Legion of Doom 2000.[17] They also had feuds with L.O.D. 2000 and The New Midnight Express having an NWA Tag Team Title match at the WWF Pay Per View Unforgiven against the New Midnight Express.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2003, 2016)

In early 2003, Morton and Gibson appeared in TNA as part of Vince Russo's Sports Entertainment Xtreme (SEX) faction. The duo feuded with America's Most Wanted, Chris Harris and James Storm. In late 2003 and early 2004, they worked for the All World Wrestling League, owned by Eddie and Thomas Farhat, the sons of the "Original Sheik" Ed Farhat. The duo returned to TNA for the special Total Nonstop Deletion,[18] participating in the Tag Team Apocalypto open invitational for The Broken Hardys TNA World Tag Team Championship.

AWWL (2005)

Starting in 2005, they would team up again, often wrestling against the Midnight Express in the Mid-Atlantic area. On June 7, 2008, they defeated The Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Bobby Eaton) at the NWA 60th Anniversary Show in Atlanta, Georgia.

2009 and PWA

The Rock 'n' Roll Express have joined up with Booker T's Pro Wrestling Alliance in Houston, TX and have become the PWA Tag Team Champions.

The New Rock 'n' Roll Express

Over the years, when Morton and Gibson were not teaming with each other, they each had different tag team partners, calling themselves "The New Rock 'n' Roll Express." Ricky Morton teamed with Ricky Fuji while in Japan for FMW, and with Brad Armstrong, Kid Kash, or his cousin Todd in the independent circuit in the U.S., while Robert Gibson teamed with Marty Jannetty in IWA Japan as "The Rock 'n' Rockers," which played off both the Rock 'n' Roll Express and Jannetty's famous tag team with Shawn Michaels, The Rockers.

Brawl in the Fall and The Pastor of Pain : On November 1st, 2014, The Rock n Roll express were contracted for a match at "The Brawl in the Fall" at a church in rural North Carolina. Approximately 30 minutes before match time, Gibson approached the promoter (George South) to ask for $500 above the previously agreed compensation. South refused, sending Gibson into a fit of rage. Gibson then kicked a toilet in the church restroom, breaking the seat, and departed the venue. The Student Pastor at the church joined Morton's corner under the ring name "The Pastor of Pain"(PoP). This version of The New Rock n Roll express was victorious over "The Dawsons" with a roll up by Morton for the pinfall. The Dawsons immediately attacked Morton from behind. When The Pastor of Pain came to the aid of Morton, the Dawsons attempted a clothesline, but PoP ducked under and delivered a devastating double clothesline of his own.

WWE Hall of Fame (2017)

On February 6, 2017, the WWE announced it would be honoring the Rock 'n' Roll Express by inducting the team into the WWE Hall of Fame at the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on March 31, 2017. On March 20, WWE officially announced that the team will be inducted by Jim Cornette.[19]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

1During this win, the title was awarded to them and the records are unclear as to where this occurred and which promotion they wrestled for at the time.

Luchas de Apuestas record

Winner (wager) Loser (wager) Location Event Date Notes
The Rock 'n' Roll Express (hairs) The Bruise Brothers (titles) Morristown, Tennessee SMW House Show September 11, 1993 [30]
Chris Candido and Brian Lee (Tammy Fytch's hair) The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton's hair) Johnson City, Tennessee SMW Fire On The Mountain 1994 August 6, 1994 [31]

References

  1. ^ Classic Memphis Wrestling:Rock n Roll Memphis (DVD). HighSpots. 
  2. ^ a b Hess, Jason (April 2, 2009). "Historical perspective on Houston's top-drawing card featuring Bill Watts in April 1984". PW Torch. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  3. ^ Cawthon, Graham (April 2, 2009). "Mat Memories: Shelby City Park action once aired from Boston to LA". The Star. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  4. ^ Adamson, Matt (2008-01-28). "Going Old School: Starrcade '85". 411mania. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  5. ^ a b Molinaro, John (December 17, 1999). "Starrcade, the original "super card"". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  6. ^ Garvin, Ron. "Ronnie Garvin Full Shoot Interview 2016". www.thehanibaltv.com. Nicholson Productions, Inc. Retrieved 18 June 2017. 
  7. ^ "The Steve Austin Show – Robert Gibson of the Rock 'n' Roll Express". Podcastone. Retrieved July 2, 2017. 
  8. ^ "JCP 1987". History of the WWE. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "WCW 1990". History of the WWE. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  10. ^ "USWA 1992". WWF Old School. Retrieved 3 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "Smoky Mountain Wrestling Tag Team Titles History". Solie's Title Histories. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  12. ^ "Tag Team Profiles: Rock 'n' Roll Express". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  13. ^ Mooneyham, Mike (1995-12-10). "Smoky Mountain Wrestling: Death Of A Promotion (Part One)". The Wrestling Gospel. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  14. ^ a b Altamura, Mike (December 13, 2001). "Sunny days, wintry nights The thrills and spills of Tammy Lynn Sytch". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  15. ^ http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/wcw96.htm
  16. ^ http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/98.htm
  17. ^ Martinez, Ryan (2009-03-29). "This Day In History: WWWF Becomes WWE, WrestleManias III And XIV, Benjamin Defeats The Game And More". PW Insider. Retrieved 2009-04-06. 
  18. ^ "Rock N Roll Express to appear at Total Nonstop Deletion". Pro Wrestling Sheet. 
  19. ^ Melok, Bobby (March 20, 2017). "Jim Cornette to induct The Rock 'n' Roll Express into the WWE Hall of Fame". WWE. Retrieved March 20, 2017. 
  20. ^ a b Smoky Mountain Wrestling (1995-01-02). "Unabomb & "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert Vs. The Rock 'n' Roll Express". SMW. 
  21. ^ What a maneuver! 15 moves that really exist
  22. ^ "Jim Cornette profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  23. ^ "Jim Cornette". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  24. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "MACW « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net. 
  25. ^ a b Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 
  26. ^ Solomon, Marcus (12 March 2014). "Wrestling News Center: PWE: ELITE RANKINGS". 
  27. ^ "Traditional Championship Wrestling Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Retrieved 2014-04-24. 
  28. ^ Meltzer, Dave (November 24, 2014). "Nov. 24, 2014 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: Annual Hall of Fame issue! Plus tons of news from all over the world including MMA triple-header Saturday". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California: 1. ISSN 1083-9593. 
  29. ^ "Rock 'n' Roll Express to enter WWE Hall of Fame". 
  30. ^ "SMW House Show Results (September 11, 1993)". Cagematch. 
  31. ^ "SMW Fire On The Mountain 1994 Results (August 6, 1994)". Cagematch. 

Further reading

  • Oliver, Greg and Steve Johnson (2005). "Top 20: #9 The Rock 'n' Roll Express". The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-55022-683-6. 

External links

  • The Rock 'n' Roll Express on WWE.com
  • The Official Rock-n-Roll Express Fan Website
  • Memphis Wrestling History

2017 Interview with Robert Gibson: Robert did an interview with a local magazine about his career in September 2017 http://newsandviewsusa.com/interview-robert-gibson-rock-n-roll-express/

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