In Professional Wrestling, most tag-team matches follow a similar formula: one member of the face team gets the snot beaten out of him for most of the match by the heel team, then - with his last ounce of energy - makes it back to his corner and tags in his partner, who (having spent the match thus far standing around) is fresh and ready to kick some ass. The wrestler who takes the majority of the beating is said to be "playing Ricky Morton". The trope is named after Ricky Morton, one half of the legendary Rock N Roll Express tag team, who raised this formula to an art form. Usually, members of a team will take turns playing Ricky Morton in different matches; however, if one partner is noticeably larger than the other, the smaller one will usually be in the Ricky Morton role. This is done for three main reasons:
- The smaller wrestler will often be able to sell his opponents' offense more spectacularly, bouncing around the ring from the impact of each blow.
- The larger wrestler's offense is often more visually impressive; it's easier to buy him creaming both members of the other team due to his size and the apparent force of his blows.
- Larger wrestlers tend not to have the level of stamina that smaller wrestlers have; getting in the offense at the end of the match enables the wrestler to keep his involvement to a minimum, and thus avoid becoming tired (or "blown up" in wrestling terminology).
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