Wednesday, July 24, 2013 — It's been 30 years since one of the greatest teams in the history of professional wrestling first embarked on a journey that would be fondly remembered three decades later by a generation of fans.
The Rock-n-Roll Express will be honored at the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte. In addition to signing autographs and posing for photos with fans throughout the four-day event, Morton and Gibson will be inducted into the Hall of Heroes on Friday night, August 2, at Charlotte’s Hilton University Place hotel.
They arrived in the Carolinas in 1985 and, in an auspicious debut to say the least, won the highly coveted NWA world tag-team title their first night in by defeating Ivan Koloff and Krusher Khruschev in a Shelby, N.C. match taped for “Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling” television.
“The Russians had beaten everybody," said Morton. "We came in as All-American kids, and the match went nearly 58 minutes of the one-hour TV time. We beat them at the end. And it just exploded."
The Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) were The Beatles of the wrestling scene as they combined sex appeal with high energy and talent in the ring.
Over the course of a career, The Rock-n-Roll Express would hold dozens of regional and world tag-team titles. It was that first world tag-team title victory, however, that Morton cherishes the most. "That was a big deal. Winning that first world tag-team title was the greatest of all."
Outsized by most of their opponents, the heartthrob duo made up for any lack of bulk by featuring non-stop, precision-like teamwork in the ring. And with youthful good looks and featured in snappy rock and roll music videos, Morton and Gibson were babyfaces of the first order.
They still remember how wrestling was when they first started teaming in 1983. "Everywhere we went we broke box office records," said Gibson. “It was amazing."
Just what makes a group of performers so beloved (and others once so hated) all these years later? If you're a longtime fan, and particularly a follower of the popular Carolinas’ variety, you can probably still remember the pulsating chant that reverberated off the walls of every building where Mid-Atlantic wrestling was held during the '80s. "Rock and Roll! Rock and Roll! Rock and Roll!" Fans still chant their names. It became an anthem for one of the most popular teams of that era.
"I'm really looking forward to this. Being inducted is a great honor," said Gibson. "It's a chance for us to give back to the fans. We've always put the fans first. It's good to come back to the Carolinas and see old friends."
"I love the fans," said Morton. "That's what I like so much about fanfest weekend. People come from all over...even different countries. It's a great event. I look forward to seeing a lot of old friends there."
For more information on the event, visit NWALegends.com