After a career spanning more than 30 years that still continues to this day, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express are the latest names announced as inductees into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017, the company announced Monday.
Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson first formed in Memphis in 1983, and almost immediately became one of the most beloved tag teams in the dwindling days of the territory system. The two flashy stars made their names in the wrestling business using a unique high-flying, fast-paced style. Known in part for their long-running feud with the Midnight Express, the two teams followed each other from Mid-South to Crockett Promotions, where they both hovered near the top of the tag division and, in 1987, near the top of the UIC Pavilion in Chicago as part of a Starrcade ‘87 “skywalker” match.
Altogether, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express would win the Mid-South Tag Team Championship three times and the NWA World Tag Team Championship in Crockett Promotions four times, feuding with the Four Horsemen before heading to the AWA, returning to the NWA, and, finally, ending up in Jim Cornette’s Smokey Mountain Wrestling. There, the team won the company’s tag titles 10 times in its four-year lifespan. Ricky and Robert feuded with Cornette’s Heavenly Bodies, and the two teams wrestled at WWF’s 1993 Survivor Series.
After Smokey Mountain’s 1995 closure, the two men stopped briefly in WCW, and then back in the WWF, as part of Cornette’s ill-fated NWA stable. Since then, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express have largely bounced around the independent scene and, incredibly, still wrestle today, most recently appearing at TNA’s Total Nonstop Deletion.
For many, news of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express hall of fame induction is a long time coming. The duo represents a bygone era of pro wrestling some older fans still pine for. And as inarguably one of the greatest tag teams of all time, Ricky and Robert leave a glaring hole in any wrestling hall of fame of which they’re not a member.
This year’s WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held in Orlando, Florida, on March 31, 2017, two days before Wrestlemania. It’ll be broadcast live on the WWE Network.
Paul DeBenedetto is Paste’s assistant wrestling editor.