The Rock 'n' Roll Express was a professional wrestling tag team consisting of Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson. The duo began teaming together in Memphis in the early 1980s, followed by the National Wrestling Alliance's Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP). In JCP, they held the NWA World Tag Team Championship four times. 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 steam, and Morton turned on his partner to join the York Foundation alliance in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). In the 1990s, however, the team reformed in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, where they held the SMW Tag Team Championship ten times. The duo also worked in the World Wrestling Federation and WCW.
The Rock 'n' Roll Express was formed in 1983 in the Continental Wrestling Association by Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler, consisting of Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson. Jerry Lawler is credited with creating their wrestling look. 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, and the team of Lanny Poffo and Randy Savage.
They soon became so popular that there wasn't room for both the Fabulous Ones and the Rock & Roll Express at the top of the cards, so they made their way to Mid-South Wrestling where they started a feud with the three-member Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton, Dennis Condrey, Norvell Austin, 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. During the celebration, The Rock 'n' Roll Express shoved Cornette's face into the celebratory cake. The rivalry between the two teams carried on into the National Wrestling Alliance.
Jim Crockett Promotions
They 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. The reign lasted until October 13 of that same year. At Starrcade in 1985, they recaptured the title, only to lose them on a prime time WTBS special, 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 JCP 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.
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. They lost their title for a third and final time in the fall of 1987 to Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard thanks to a pre-match attack by their longtime rivals The Midnight Express. (They would win four more in later years, but only the first four were also recognized by World Championship Wrestling later). 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.
AWA and return to the NWA
In 1988, The Rock 'n' Roll Express had a brief feud with The Midnight Rockers in Memphis 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. Back in the NWA, with the advent of the Road Warriors and The Steiner Brothers as the new dominant face tag teams, the Rock 'n' Roll Express were turned into mid-carders. In 1991 at Clash of the Champions, Morton turned on Gibson to join the York Foundation and they feuded, until Gibson was released.
Smoky Mountain Wrestling
They reunited in 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, included a barbed wire cage match and a Texas death match. The rivalry carried over to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1993, with the Bodies 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.
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. 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.
Return to the WCW, NWA & WWF
In 1996, they returned to World Championship Wrestling (WCW), but used sparingly on the pre-taped B-Shows, WCW Saturday Night and WCW Pro, as jobbers. They left in 1997 to participate in independent federations.
A year later, they were in the WWF for a brief stint as part of the NWA angle (managed by former rival James E. Cornette). 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. They also had feuds with The Road Warriors and The New Midnight Express having a tag team title match at the WWF pay-per-view Unforgiven against the New Midnight Express. They also made several appearances in WCW as lower card talent.
Starting in 2005, they would team up again, often wrestling against the Midnight Express in independent groups 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 or his cousin Todd in the independent circuit in the U.S., while Robert Gibson teamed with Marty Jannetty.
- Finishing moves
- Theme songs
- "Rock and Roll All Nite" by Kiss (CWA)
- "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" by Electric Light Orchestra.
- "Boogie Woogie Dance Hall" by Ricky Morton
- "Old Time Rock & Roll" by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band (SMW)
- "Guitar Bash" (WWF)
Championships and accomplishments
- Continental Wrestling Association / Championship Wrestling Association
- National Wrestling Alliance
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI Tag Team of the Year award in 1986.
- PWI ranked them # 4 of the best 100 tag teams during the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- United States Wrestling Association
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.