The Rock 'n' Roll Express was formed with Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson in 1983 in Memphis by head booker Jerry Lawler. 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 (Porkchop Cash and Troy Graham), and the team of Lanny Poffo and Randy Savage.
They soon made their way to Mid-South Wrestling where they started a feud with the Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton, Dennis Condrey, 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.
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 the NWA 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 fourth 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.
In 1988, The Rock 'n' Roll Express had a brief feud with The Midnight Rockers in the Continental Wrestling Association (CWA), 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.
Returning to the NWA in 1989, 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 July 1990, they challenged Doom for the NWA World Tag Team Championship at The Great American Bash, but lost. In June 1991 at Clash of the Champions, Morton turned on Gibson to join the York Foundation and they feuded, until Gibson was released.
They reunited in August 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 both World Championship Wrestling and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 1993, splitting pay per view matches for the two promotions. The Rock 'n' Roll Express defeated the Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane and Dr. Tom Prichard) at WCW's SuperBrawl III event and the Bodies (this time Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray) 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. The duo, however, won the title back in August. 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, whom they lost the titles to in April 1995.
In April 1995, they defeated Dick Murdoch and Randy Rhodes to win the vacant NWA World Tag Team Championship. In June 1995, they were stripped of the titles, as their USWA match with PG-13 ended in controversy. A week later, they defeated PG-13 to win back the NWA World Tag Team titles and win the USWA World Tag Team Championship, making them double champions, but it didn't last, as they lost the USWA titles back to PG-13 a week later. In July 1995, they scheduled to feud with The Thugs over the SMW Tag Team Championship, and set to turn heel, but in August 1995, Morton was suspended after an altercation between his girlfriend Andrea Callaway and Tracy Smothers' girlfriend Angela Lambert, leaving Gibson on his own. As a result of Morton's suspension, they vacated the NWA World Tag Team titles. When Morton returned to SMW, Gibson had turned heel and joined Jim Cornette's Militia, but the proposed feud between the two didn't materialize as the promotion folded shortly after his return.
After SMW's closure, they reunited in the USWA and resumed their feud with PG-13.
On August 5, 1996 Morton and Gibson made their return to World Championship Wrestling on Monday Nitro, facing and losing to WCW World Tag-Team Champions Harlem Heat. Their next appearance came three weeks later, where in a renewal of an old rivalry they faced Ric Flair and Arn Anderson on Nitro in Lakeland, FL. Three days later in Orlando, FL at a WCW Worldwide taping the Rock 'n' Roll Express gained their first victory in their comeback, defeating High Voltage. Their next appearance came on WCW Saturday Night on September 30, where they fell to The Faces of Fear (Meng and The Barbarian). Morton and Gibson appeared sparingly going forward on Saturday Night and WCW Pro. They left in 1997 to participate in independent federations.
A year later, they were in the WWE for a brief stint as part of the NWA angle (managed by former rival James E. Cornette). Their first appearance came on Monday Night RAW when they faced Skull and 8-Ball on January 12, 1998 in State College, PA and lost via disqualification. 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 L.O.D. 2000 and The New Midnight Express having an NWA Tag Team Title match at the WWF Pay Per View Unforgiven against the New Midnight Express.
In early 2003, Morton and Gibson appeared in TNA as part of Vince Russo's Sports Entertainment Xtreme (SEX) faction. The duo feuded with America's Most Wanted, Chris Harris and James Storm. In late 2003 and early 2004, they worked for the All World Wrestling League, owned by Eddie and Thomas Farhat, the sons of the "Original Sheik" Ed Farhat. The duo returned to TNA for the special Total Nonstop Deletion, participating in the Tag Team Apocalypto open invitational for The Broken Hardys TNA World Tag Team Championship.
Starting in 2005, they would team up again, often wrestling against the Midnight Express 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.
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.
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, Kid Kash, or his cousin Todd in the independent circuit in the U.S., while Robert Gibson teamed with Marty Jannetty in IWA Japan as "The Rock 'n' Rockers," which played off both the Rock 'n' Roll Express and Jannetty's famous tag team with Shawn Michaels, The Rockers.
On February 6, 2017, the WWE announced it would be honoring the Rock 'n' Roll Express by inducting the team into the WWE Hall of Fame at the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on March 31, 2017. On March 20, WWE officially announced that the team will be inducted by Jim Cornette.Finishing moves
Double back elbow
Drop toe-hold / Elbow drop combination
Rowboat (Simultaneous leg pulls on sitting opponents)
Paul E. Dangerously
"Rock and Roll All Nite" by Kiss (CWA)
"Rock 'n' Roll Is King" by Electric Light Orchestra (NWA/AWA/AJPW/FMW/Indies)
"Boogie Woogie Dance Hall" by Ricky Morton (NWA/WCW)
"You Mama Don't Dance" by Poison (NWA/WCW)
"Johnny Too Bad" (NWA/WCW)
"The Hustler" (NWA/WCW)
"Old Time Rock & Roll" by Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band (SMW)
"Guitar Bash" (WWF, 1993)
"Exit Eden" (WCW)
"Rockin' Rockers" (WWF, 1998)
"S.E.X. Sells" by Dale Oliver (TNA; used while in Sports Entertainment Xtreme)
ASW Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Continental Wrestling Association / Championship Wrestling Association
AWA Southern Tag Team Championship (2 times)
CWA Tag Team Championship (1 time)
CWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Jim Crockett Promotions
NWA World Tag Team Championship (Mid-Atlantic version) (4 times)
Korean Pro-Wrestling Association
NWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Mid-South Wrestling Association
Mid-South Tag Team Championship (3 times)
National Wrestling Alliance
NWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time)1
NWA Hall of Fame (Class of 2006)
NWA Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling
MACW Tag Team Championship (3 times)
NWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time)
NWA Wildside Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Mid-South Wrestling Association
MSWA Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Pro Wrestling Alliance
PWA Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Pro Wrestling Elite
PWE Tag Team Championship
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.
Smoky Mountain Wrestling
SMW Tag Team Championship (10 times)
Traditional Championship Wrestling
TCW Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Ultimate Championship Wrestling
UCW Tag Team Championship (1 time)
United States Wrestling Association
NWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time)
USWA World Tag Team Championship (2 times)
World Organization of Wrestling
WOW Tag Team Championship (1 time)
Wrestling Observer Newsletter
Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2014)
WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2017)
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.