When it comes to wrestling tag teams, no two men have left an impression on the sport quite like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express did. In their multi-decade careers, along with holding the NWA World Tag Team Championship belts, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson have held more championships together than one person could ever imagine.
Their accomplishments, charisma, and in-ring ability, have secured their place in the history books as being one of the best teams to ever have stepped in the ring. Their epic feud with the Midnight Express, and their historic scaffold matches against them, are some of the high points that the Rock n’ Roll Express has experienced. No highlight in their long career, however, compares to what happened on March 31st, 2017.
“When Robert and I were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to us in our business. A lot of people said that it couldn’t be a real hall of fame without the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express in it,” Ricky Morton said. “That was everything that Robert and I had worked for, and we were never treated so good in our life.”
Today, the 61-year-old wrestler still sees action inside the ring. Ricky’s passion for the business has helped him steer his priorities into another direction, teaching the younger generation the sport of wrestling. These days, coaching gives him a great deal of satisfaction. After spending 44 years in the wrestling business, he has a wealth of knowledge that benefits any willing wrestling student.
“It is just something that you do when you know the business as I do. You pass it on,” said Morton. “I think the art of wrestling has been lost, and that’s why I opened the School of Morton. It helps with the bills, however, everything we make goes back into the school.”
The School of Morton is located in Chucky, Tennessee, which is 80 miles east of Knoxville. The facility has been opened since January of 2014, and currently, has between 40 and 50 students enrolled. Along with Ricky, the school is run by his partner James Strange and Strange’s wife Lisa.
“They have come up with a lot of good ideas for the school and hopefully, it will all pay off for us,” says Morton. “It’s hard to get a business going and to keep it going. The school is more than just about wrestling, I teach a lot of kids there too.”
Even though he gets some criticism for having a young clientele, that aspect is one of the main things that help the School of Morton stand out. Ricky doesn’t just teach your average young adult who is in their late teens or early 20’s, he also teaches children and whoever else wants to learn how to wrestle safely and in a professional manner. He has even taught children with disabilities.
“I love teaching them about our wrestling business, but I’m also able to teach them about the mistakes that I made in my life,” Morton explains. “I’m not a doctor, I’m not a genius, I’m not a philosopher or a teacher, but I do want to teach them how important their education is. I have young kids and I get a lot of flak for it, but you have to understand we’re in the entertainment business.”
Over the past couple of decades, independent wrestling promotions have been popping up all over the country. Most promoters today are trying to do business the right way, but Ricky has heard stories of promoters lying to sponsors, lying to fans, and he has even seen himself advertised on posters for shows that he was not hired to wrestle on. Most of the shows that he sees today, in his opinion, are not worth going to due to the lack of knowledge and professionalism that is being practiced these days.
“When fans go and watch these shows that are so horrible, they think that the business is like that. It is hard to overcome things like this especially when you’re on the independent circuit,” Morton expressed. “This is not a joke to me, but you got a lot of guys that have about as much business in the ring as I do flying the space shuttle.”
The main reason why Ricky wanted to open up the School of Morton was that he loves wrestling, and he got tired of watching people disrespect it. Wrestling is all that he has ever done, and he has been committed to it the last 44 years of his life. If there is anything that needs to be said about Ricky Morton and his ability in training successful wrestlers, is the fact that his career as one half of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express should be able to speak for itself.
“To be a good wrestler you have to put a hundred percent of your life into it. You have to learn how to love it and you have to put everything into it,” Morton says. “There is no second place. Second place means you’re a loser, and if you put everything you got into this business, it will pay off in the long run.”
The School of Morton website:
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs The Midnight Express in a scaffold match 1984:
Ricky Morton Interview:
Ricky Morton vs Chase Owens for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title in Kingsport, TN: