The WWE announced their second inductees into the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame. CBS Sports was the first to report that former NWA World Tag Team Champions The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express will be inducted into this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class. They join Kurt Angle in what is shaping up to be a great group of inductees.
Fans new to the sport of professional wrestling may not know much about the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express, but they were one of the tag teams that revolutionized tag team wrestling all over the world and influenced many teams already in the WWE Hall of Fame.
The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express were rock stars to many fans and delivered exciting matches no matter who they got into the ring with. Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson debuted in Memphis, working in the promotion that Jerry “The King” Lawler helped run.
While they enjoyed early success there, they reached main event level status when they moved on to territories like Bill Watts’ Mid-South Wrestling and Jim Crockett’s World Championship Wrestling. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express became the most popular team in the NWA during the company’s run in the 80s.
The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express enjoyed their greatest feud with the Midnight Express, led by legendary manager Jim Cornette. The two teams battled all over the country, working against each other in numerous territories and delivering great matches in the NWA with the tag team titles on the line.
They also worked great feuds with WWE Hall of Fame members Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson. One of the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express’ biggest moments came while feuding with the Four Horsemen when the evil heels broke Ricky Morton’s nose in an attack that was very realistic at the time.
Other notable feuds for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express included the Russians Ivan and Nikita Koloff, the Fabulous Ones, and many more. They were influential for the AWA tag team called The Midnight Rockers, who moved on to the WWE. That team gave the world Shawn Michaels.
While some may wonder why a team like the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express is getting into the WWE Hall of Fame without working more than a limited number of matches for the company, it seems the WWE is working hard to recognize wrestlers from all over the world in their Hall of Fame. Last year, the Fabulous Freebirds were inducted, and they never wrestled in the WWE as a unit.
The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express did wrestle a few matches in the WWE during a faux angle where the NWA was invading the WWE. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express were some of the former NWA wrestlers who took part in the angle along with Barry Windham. WWE.com reported that they also competed at WrestleMania that same year in a battle royal.
Ricky Morton said in an interview that he was surprised but very happy to get the phone call about the WWE Hall of Fame.
“It was a surprise. I had a message on my phone [from WWE] to call the number back. I think they got ahold of Robert at the time. When they called, it was just like a suckerpunch. It just knocked us off our feet.”
The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express were four-time NWA World Tag Team Champions in Crockett’s promotion and also held titles in the Mid-South, CWA, NWA Southwest, NWA Wildside, PWA, USWA, and Smoky Mountain Wrestling, where they held their title 10 times.
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The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express most recently appeared in TNA Impact Wrestling. They took part in the Broken Matt Hardy-promoted Total Nonstop Deletion tag team match.
The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express join Kurt Angle in the WWE Hall of Fame as the second announced inductees. Other names rumored for induction this year to the WWE Hall of Fame include Diamond Dallas Page, the late Ravishing Rick Rude, and former women’s champion Beth Phoenix.
[Featured Image by WWE]