“Listen everybody, let me tell you about the rock and roll…”
When young girls in the South heard that lyric about 30 years ago, they cheered and squealed with delight.
It wasn’t for a rock group, but for a couple of handsome guys who changed pro wrestling in a big way.
Wrestling fan Michael Elliot decided to tell the story of Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, aka the Rock and Roll Express, through a DVD set called Rock and Roll Will Never Die. Rather than wait until WWE Video get around to it, he made it himself through Kickstarter. It wound up being a three disc set that does a good job of recounting the history of the pair. Here's a trailer from YouTube:
He announced the project five months ago, and was able to get the project done quicker than most Kickstarter-made DVDs. It’s mostly Morton and Gibson recalling how they got together, and their experiences as eight-time world tag team champs. There’s also interviews with nemesis Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey and Bobby Eaton), Tom Pritchard of the Heavenly Bodies, Bill Dundee, referee Tommy Young, Ivan Koloff and Jimmy Valiant. The biggest surprise was George South, a jobber with WTBS wrestling who gave some great insights about the success of the team.
The first disc covers the basic history of the Express. Ricky and Robert had wrestled with other partners before they formed a team in Memphis in 1983. Back then, they were the #2 babyface team behind the Fabulous Ones. They got their big break when Mid-South picked them up along with Cornette and the Midnight Express, and wound up having classic matches.
Both teams joined WTBS and Jim Crockett a year later. Ricky and Robert got there first with the famous match against Ivan Koloff and Krusher Kruschev for the world tag team belts in July 1985, followed by Cornette and his team. Gibson says RnR really got a big pop for beating the supposedly unbeatable Russians, and that’s how they got popular very quickly. He says RnR were so popular that Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes were starting to be a bit jealous. He claims the idea of Flair wrestling Ricky for the World title was an attempt to break up the team. He also says the “Super Sizzling Summer Tour” idea was a way for Crockett to generate more money for the team while the rest of the crew got a vacation in Hawaii.
Gibson also says he and Robert were fired over a money dispute, but when they came back to WTBS, they weren’t as prominent as they used to be. There’s also the big run with Smokey Mountain Wrestling, and the feud with the Heavenly Bodies (Pritchard and Stan Lane, and later Jimmy Del Rey). It doesn't give a lot of details about RnR being in the WWE in 1998, but that's due to the WWE owning the footage, along with WTBS and Mid-South. Still, Elliott is able to use photos and short clips from Memphis, SMW and NWA house shows very well.
Disc two has several stories about the team's career, but also footage from WrestleCade and the “King of the Mountain” tournament from Smoky Mountain, and Gibson challenging Rob Conway for the NWA title. You even seen them in ads for heating and air conditioning
The third disc is a real treat. It has Ricky and Ken Lucas as the Southwest Tag Team Champs in 1982 in a TV match and two NWA tag team title matches with RnR and the Midnight Express with very interesting endings. There’s also the famous “loser leave town” match between RnR and the Heavenly Bodies from SMW. The ref bump and ending has to be seen to be believed. Also, Gibson is in an NWA jr. heavyweight title match from earlier this year against champ Chase Owens. This is also a must-see match.
And...they threw in an autographed 8 x 10 photo
Better yet, you can get it for 19.95 at High Spots and Amazon.