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Wrestling / The Rock 'n' Roll Express

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L-R: Ricky, Robert

Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson are a Professional Wrestling Tag Team as The Rock 'n' Roll Express. They started in Memphis in 1983 as a B Show replacement team for The Fabulous Ones. As luck would have it, the RNRs (name taken from their first initials) would far surpass the Fabs. They would go on to hold the NWA World Tag Team Titles 8 times (4x NWA Mid-Atlantic version and 4x revived version that started in 1993) and were THE underdog pretty-boy babyface team of their era. Over time, they would split up and go in other directions before inevitably coming back together. They have competed for NWA, WCW, WWE, SMW, FMW, TNA, All Japan Pro Wrestling, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, the AWA and many other promotions. They were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017. In January 2022, Ricky announced that the Express would start their farewell tour later that month, saying that he wanted to focus more on backstage work and on the wrestling career of his son Kerry.

The Rock 'n' Roll Express are the Trope Namers for:

"The Trope 'n' Roll Express":

  • Arch-Enemy: JIM CORNETTE and pretty much anyone he managed (The Midnight Express, the Heavenly Bodies). Ironically, Jim was the one to induct them into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.
  • Badasses Wear Bandanas: Around their legs.
  • Carpet of Virility: As he was sold as a pretty boy Chick Magnet, Robert is a Type 1.
  • Cool Teacher: So far their most notable student is Kid Kash. Others include Chase Owens, Rick Michaels, Robbie Cassidy, Ron Davis and The Rockin' Rebel.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: In SMW in March 1993, they actually chose former Four Horsemen nemesis ARN ANDERSON as their partner for a series of matches against the Heavenly Bodies (Bobby Eaton/Stan Lane/Tom Prichard). Even crazier, they won all three matches (March 19-21.)
  • David vs. Goliath: Of course.
  • Face: Their default role, and what they were best at doing. Anytime they weren't doing this wasn't as good.
  • Face on the Cover: The lords of this trope. Even if the Rock 'n' Roll Express hadn't gotten the crowd reactions that they did, promoters still would have loved them for the ability to sell almost anything that had Ricky and or Robert's face on it.
  • Fan of the Underdog: They were designed to be a prettier, weaker looking version of the Fabulous Ones but this actually helped them, at least when it's said to when it came to many viewers outside of Memphis, because it made them look different and it quickly generated fan sympathy.
  • Finishing Move: Double Dropkick, often from the top rope/turn buckle. People went wild in Smoky Mountain Wrestling when The Thrill Seekers had the stones to use it while The Rock 'n' Roll Express were still there.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: If not outright Blood Brothers; Ricky and Robert have been with each other through thick and thin for more than thirty years. At their Hall of Fame induction, Ricky outright called Robert his fifth brother, as well as the greatest person he'd ever met.
  • How Much More Can He Take?: Announcer Bob Caudle asked this, though not in those exact words, during the RNRs-Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole and Arn Anderson) cage match at NWA Starrcade 86.
  • Legacy Character: The Fantastics, the Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty), the Hardys Matt and Jeff), London and Kendrick etc. Some were more obvious than others.
  • Long-Runners: With over 35 years of in ring competition and counting.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Much of their appeal was that they were young good looking guys who attracted teenage girls and young women. According to Arch-Enemy Jim Cornette, the audience at some of the cards they were on was 60% women and girls because of their attractiveness to that audience.
  • The New Adventures: Ricky had two teams called the New Rock 'n' Roll Express, one with Davey Morton (Kid Kash) and one in Japan with Ricky Fuji.
  • Power Stable:
  • Pretty Boy: They were created as a B Show replacement team for the Fabs, with the difference being that the RNRs were aimed toward teen girls with a safe, Tiger Beat-style image, while the Fabs were marketed toward adult women as Playgirl-style sex symbols.
  • Ring Oldies: From the late 1990s forward. They tagged together into the mid 2010s when they were both in their late fifties, beating much younger teams with legit shooters on them like Filthy Tom Lawlor. And into the early 2020s, working matches with other younger teams such as FTR.
  • Squash Match: At JCW Legends & Icons, they beat the Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey) in a mere 33 seconds!
  • Squee: To the point of being ear-piercing. They pretty much introduced this into wrestling.
  • Still Got It: As this clip of Ricky demonstrates.
    • When they showed up at AEW's Full Gear PPV to save The Young Bucks from a beatdown by Proud and Powerful (Santana and Ortiz) who'd ambushed and beaten the Express up a few weeks earlier, Ricky hit them with both a Suicide Dive through the ropes and a Slingshot Canadian Destroyer!
  • Theatrics of Pain: Ricky is legendary for this. As George South said in their profile in the book The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams:
    "Ricky Morton was the first person I hit throwing a worked punch and people thought I was killing him. All the people at ringside were screaming. You wanted to tell them, 'Look, he's not really hurt. He's just really good at this.'"
  • Tournament Arc
    • The team has won surprisingly few, but The Rock 'n' Roll Express won AWA World-1's Old School Tag Team Tournament in 2008 when both were over fifty, defeating much more favored Heavenly Bodies who were only pushing forty in the final round.
    • Ricky Morton won the 2013 Smoky Mountain Cup, of NWA Smoky Mountain, defeating fellow finalists Adam Pearce, Jeff Connelly, Damien Wayne, Sigmon and Kyle O'Reilly in a six way match
  • Wrestling Family:
    • Ricky's father, long-time referee Paul Morton, passed away in 2010. His cousin Todd Morton has wrestled in Memphis for years as well as been a Jobber for WCW and WWE. Ricky‚Äôs son Kerry is also a wrestler and frequently teams with his dad.
    • Robert's brother Ricky Gibson passed away in 2006.