We hear various soundbites putting over the Rock and Roll Express: the storied history of one of wrestling’s greatest tag teams from their humble beginnings in the territory system through their height of popularity with Jim Crockett Promotions.
Robert Gibson tells of how his brother Ricky started to learn how to wrestle at the age of 14. Robert followed six years later.
The brothers both earned their due by selling programs and setting up the ring.
Morton’s dad would set up the ring in random parking lots, then charge zero admission. He instead rented folding chairs out of a truck for a quarter.
Gibson wrestled in high school and he knew he would be a world champion level wrestler.
The pro training was brutal and Robert would have to hide his tears as he biked home.
Morton’s early days was working for Nick Gulas. He was discovered by Jerry Jarrett and brought into Memphis.
The Gibson Brothers were also working in Memphis. Many of the moves Robert learned while with this tandem were later used for the Express.
Ken Lucas formed a team with Morton and became his teacher. Lucas taught Morton selling and psychology. The team traveled from Memphis to Texas to pursue fresh action.
Ricky Gibson ended up getting injured and Jerry Lawler pulled Gibson from Florida and Morton from Texas to form a new team in Memphis.
The Fabulous Ones had gotten over huge for Jarrett and Lawler and the Express were meant to follow in their footsteps.
Lawler and Jarrett had been having some disagreements and Lawler saw the Express as a team that could help him draw should he choose to divide the territory.
Jerry Lawler took over booking duties from Bill Dundee and that started Lawler angling towards possibly becoming a promoter as well. The two parties ended up mending fences soon after.
Jimmy Hart, Lawler, Morton and Gibson brain stormed ideas for a team name and R and R (Ricky and Robert) Express almost became their name before “Rock and Roll” was chosen.
Hart and Lawler both claim to have created the team. Hart was an ideas man and Lawler was the man who called the shots.
Tom Pritchard and Les Thatcher talk about the chemistry the Express shared.
Bill Dundee talks about how Glam Rock was popular among the youth and how the Express latched onto that genre.
The Express went to a flea market to get gimmicks for their apparel.
Gibson says they gelled right away as a team and worked their way up the card.
The Fabulous Ones had been positioned as main eventers, and the Express weren’t given as strong of a push as the Fabs.
The Express were better in the ring than the Fabs and attracted the young girls compared to the Fabs who had older fans.
Once the Express branched out to new territories, they were seen as a revelation and got over like gangbusters.
Bill Watts invited them to the Mid-South. Watts ran shows seven days a week.
With no highways, the guys had a brutal travel schedule over the large territory.
Bill Dundee left Memphis to become Watts’ booker and the Rock and Roll Express, Midnight Express, Buddy Landell and others went with him.
Eaton and Condrey give their versions of how they ended up working for Watts.
The influx of talent lead to Mid-South having their best financial year ever in 1984.
The territory was full of monsters, but Watts warned the heels to make the Express look good.
The guys never got stiff with them either as the Express were big draws and nobody wanted to lose money.
Magnum TA and Mr. Wrestling II feuded with the Midnight Express to get them over before the Rock and Roll Express showed up.