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Ricky Morton Shoot Interview
Posted by Brandon Truitt on Feb 17, 2003, 20:00
This week, I'll be brief for my wresling commentary. Since Triple H proposed to Stephanie McMahon last week and she's apparently accepted, things are not looking good for the future of the WWE.
For those of you interested in getting some quality wrestling on DVD, I highly recommend picking up Smokey Mountain Wrestling 'Night of the Legends' at Highspots.com. If you buy now, you can get Night of the Legends, containing the infamous Lance Storm and Chris Jericho vs. the Heavenly Bodies match where Jericho wrestles with a broken arm and bleeds like a stuck pig, as well as Ohio Valley Wrestling 'Wrestling's Future Stars' DVD, Wrestling Gold: Before They Were Famous DVD, and Wrestling Gold: Blood, Brawls, and Grudges DVD for $60 or $16.99 each if purchased individually. All of these DVDs contain quality matches and two of them in particular, Before They Were Famous and Wrestling's Future Stars, have been favorably reviewed by Scott Keith over at 411wrestling.com.
As always, you can feel free to Drop me an e-mail, read the archives, buy me stuff, or buy yourself stuff at Highspots.com.
Ricky Morton Shoot Interview (1998)
This video is by the same company who did the Bobby Eaton interview and was recorded around the same time, so it’s no surprise that the tape starts out in a similar way by showing one of the music videos featuring Rock and Roll Express match footage. This one in particular is to “The Boys Are Back In Town” and appears to be made up of footage from their run in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, where they were the Jerry Lawler of the tag division.
By that, I mean that the whole division was built on the formula of “Big bad heel team wins the tag titles, the Rock and Roll Express chase them for several months on the house show circuit having every gimmick match known to man and Nick Gulas in the process, the RnR’s pull off a heroic victory in the rubber match, and then they promptly then lose them to the next big bad heel team.” This works for a while but the fans eventually catch on that they’ve seen it too many times before, and the quality of their opponents come into play then. Their last big feud being against the Gangstas (Mustapha and the infamous New Jack) proved to be one of the last nails in the territory’s coffin. I just hope former Gangstas associate DLo Brown doesn’t start ripping off some of their old cheap-heat techniques like winning a title match with a two count due to affirmative action or doing a promo with fried chicken and watermelons. (Yes, they really did both of those things)
The interview actually starts with Morton talking about how his dad was a wrestler and referee, mainly in the Memphis territory but also throughout the southeast. He was always in the business because his father had him and his brothers setting the rings up and so forth. Eventually, he was working a job when his co-workers went on strike and he ended up working a match soon thereafter because someone no-showed. Promoter Nick Gulas saw him wrestle and asked how many matches he’d had. He was astounded that it was Morton’s first match and insisted that he keep working for him because he felt the other wrestlers would love to have matches with him. He worked for Gulas for six months before moving on to another territory.
His first match was against Tojo Yamamoto. Tojo was a master of psychology and was able to make him look great just by knowing when to do what. He starts making a good point in the midst of his rambling, as he talks about how today guys on the indy circuit work day jobs and wrestle every week or so if they’re lucky, while they used to work every night. Therefore, someone with 5 years of indy experience today isn’t nearly as seasoned as someone who worked 5 years in a true territory.
Did his buddies know the business was a work? No, they were convinced it was a total shoot, because kayfabe wasn't quite dead yet.
Moving over to Jerry Jarrett’s Memphis territory- His dad got him to go up to Evansville, Indiana, with him for a show when he was off one night. Fate shined on him because another guy no-showed and Jarrett offered him a chance to wrestle that night against Ken Wayne. They had a great match and ended up congratulating each other in the back, at which point Jarrett came in and offered him a spot in Memphis if he wanted it. He gave Gulas two weeks notice and then moved on to Memphis. He compares Gulas to Jarrett by saying it’s like going from the indy circuit to WCW.
His first day on Memphis TV was as Bill Dundee’s tag partner, which was a big thing for him because Dundee was solidly the #2 man in the territory behind Jerry Lawler. He puts over how everyone was nice to him and that, instead of embarrassing him for mistakes like they do to most guys today, they’d pull him aside and tell him how he could improve. He puts over the Blond Bombers (Larry “Moondog Spot” Latham, Wayne “Honkytonk Man” Ferris, and OVW trainer “Nightmare” Danny Davis) for helping him a lot along with Dundee and his father
He talks about how the guaranteed contract system has helped destroy the business today, as people used to care about putting butts in seats to get paid instead of getting a million dollars guaranteed even if they no-show cards.
Sidenote- He’s got a point but getting paid based on drawing houses has its own set of problems in that everyone wants to be the top draw and make the most money instead of having to put over guys who will be fed to the top draw. The WWE’s hybrid guarantee / draw system is particularly messed up right now. Lower-card guys are being blackmailed into taking up to 75% cuts on their guarantee while a piece of crap like Kevin Nash is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to sit at home drinking Kahlua because he can’t go more than two matches without injuring himself.
Memphis schedule- TV was live every Saturday in Memphis and sent on the bicycle around the territory (the tape of the live show was sent from Memphis to Louisville to Evansville on varying delays). Monday was always Memphis, Tuesday was always Louisville, and the rest of the days were dependant upon what week it was because they would go anywhere from Jonesboro, Arkansas, to Lexington, Kentucky, for house shows.
Working for Leroy McGuirk in Oklahoma- He was one of the headliners in Memphis for a while, but when some of the other draws like Bill Dundee came back, he decided to take a trip to another territory rather than just sink down to the midcard immediately. He and his wife moved to Tulsa, where he found that the territory had no young babyfaces. The top babyface, in fact, was Bruiser Bob Sweetan, a guy that definitely did NOT have a babyface look to him. He was there about four months, until they started looking for another babyface to team with him, so he asked Eddie Gilbert to come into the territory. They did so well as a team that Jerry Jarrett called them up and asked them to come back as a mid-level team to face Onita and another Japanese wrestler who had been working with Tojo Yamamoto.
The Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl part 2- They’d just come in from Oklahoma and were wrestling in cowboy boots and so forth because of it. They ended up fighting the Japanese team and recreating the famous brawl where the Blond Bombers (Wayne “Honkytonk Man” Ferris and Larry Latham, who was one of the Moondogs) fought with Lawler and Dundee. The promoter’s wife ended up getting caught in the middle of it and started freaking out. Soon after that, Eddie got an opportunity to go book for Bob Geigel in Kansas City, so he left the territory. He started working with Ken Lucas once Eddie left.
Working with Ken Lucas- Bill Dundee and Lucas were supposed to be wrestling Gypsy Joe and "The Angel" Frank Morell for the tag titles, but a heel hit Dundee with a gimmicked chair on the way to the ring so he couldn’t wrestle. That left Lucas without a partner until Morton ran in wearing his street clothes and ended up winning the match for them. They were working third from the top beneath Bill Dundee and Jerry Lawler, who alternated between the top spot and the semi-main event spot. Lawler and Dundee worked the boys by pretending to hate each other, which ended up making them a ton of money whenever they faced each other.
Southwest Championship Wrestling- After he and Lucas had their run in Memphis, they ended up working for Joe Blanchard in Southwest against Tully Blanchard and Gino Hernandez. Robert Gibson and his brother Ricky Gibson ended up taking their spot in Memphis. He and Lucas also worked for Paul Boesch in Houston.
They cut to footage here from Southwest, as Morton cuts a promo on Grappler #2 where he sounds vaguely like Boomhauer from King of the Hill. Reports that he said “Dangol’Internetfullofporn,man. Just clickclickclickclickclickclickclick” are exaggerated though.
They then show the Morton-Grappler #2 match, which isn’t too bad for an early 80s TV match. Morton wins by DQ when Grappler #1 interferes. Bruiser Bob Sweetan comes out for the save.
Next is a match with the masked “El Charro” and “El Falcon” vs. Tully Blanchard and Gino Hernandez. El Falcon picks up the pin on Tully. El Charro is revealed as Morton and El Falcon as Lucas. They cut a post-match promo proclaiming they wanted to prove to everyone they could beat Tully and Gino anytime, anywhere, so they could get a tag title shot.
They were in Southwest for about two years while the Gibson brothers and, later, the Fabulous Ones (Steve "Skinner" Kiern and Stan Lane) were in their old spot in Memphis. Around that time, Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler were starting to fight over various things and Lawler wanted to split away from Jarrett, so Jarrett wanted to have his own babyface team like the Fabulous Ones just in case the split happened. Jarrett came down to San Antonio and pitched the idea to him of teaming up with Robert Gibson, so he ended up back in Memphis two weeks later. By that time, Lawler and Jarrett had made up so their promised push didn’t materialize.
They were originally called the R and R Express because their names were Ricky and Robert, but they got to looking in the music magazines and saw pictures of David Lee Roth with the bandannas on him and decided to become the Rock and Roll Express. When they got dressed to wrestle that night, someone asked them “Are you a gypsy or an Indian or what?” They instantly got over with the fans but were always in the shadow of the Fabulous Ones while in Memphis, working the B-level shows.
They then show one of the “revolutionary rock videos” to promote the Rock and Roll Express that Jim Cornette has referred to as being “gay as shit now”. I guess that shows exactly how far the production of pre-taped video vignettes has come in the past 20 years.
Mid-South – The territory was on its ass, so promoter Bill Watts brought in Bill Dundee from Memphis to tell him what he was doing wrong. Dundee told him that he wasn’t differentiating his babyfaces from his heels and suggested he bring in some pretty-boy wrestlers as faces. Watts came to Memphis and saw Morton and Gibson face the Bruise Brothers (Troy Graham and Porkchop Cash) and, after the match, made them an offer to come in as his top babyface tag team. Since they were playing second fiddle to the Fabulous Ones, they jumped at the chance. He talks about how they went to the TV tapings in Shreveport, Louisiana and heard Watts tell a locker room full of 6’8” heels that the Rock and Roll Express were going to be his babyfaces and “if they hit you, act as if I hit you”, which is a strong statement considering that guys bump well for their boss even if he isn’t a well-known badass like Watts.
He also talks about how the Midnight Express had been brought in several months before with Jim Cornette as their manager, and they were getting HUGE heat in their feud with Mr. Wrestling II and Magnum TA. In order to get the Rock and Roll Express in a position to draw big money with the Midnight Express, he put the Rock and Roll Express against his Russian team of Krusher Kruschev and Nikolai Volkoff. They immediately starting selling out spot shows and drawing $17,000 every night.
Going back to Memphis- Jarrett had only send them to Louisiana on a six month exchange, so he brought them back ASAP once he knew how well they were drawing. However, Morton says they gave their notice immediately to Jarrett upon their return because they wanted to go back to Mid-South. I don’t blame them for going back since he talks about how they were getting unreal responses from the fans, such as people camping out a week in order to get tickets to see their first match against the Midnight Express in Lafayette, Louisiana. “It sold the slap-fuck OUT.” It also got unreal heat on the heels as, literally, fourteen guys would jump into the ring to attack the heels while Ricky was getting his ass beaten for about 20 minutes, which is where the term “playing Ricky Morton” comes from.
The Midnight Express feud- “We broke every record Bill Watts ever had.” They eventually had a Loser Leaves Town match, which the Midnights lost and, as a result, they went to work for World Class in Dallas. The Rock and Rolls stayed in Louisiana for several more months, wrestling such teams as Chavo Guerrero Sr. and Hector Guerrero. One night, Chavo had two bandoliers of blank cartridges that he was swinging around and trying to smack them with them but he screwed up and hit them together, setting off the blanks. It scared the shit out of everyone involved, including Chavo, who through them up in the air in shock. They also faced “Dr. Death” Steve Williams and Ted Dibiase, the Freebirds, etc. In Galiano, Louisiana, Ricky was selling so hard against Dr. Death that the fans started massing around the ring and Doc started yelling at Ricky to make his comeback and pin him with a small package. Even after that, he STILL had to fight his way back to the heel locker room.
While they were in Mid-South, the Midnights had made the jump to work for Jim Crockett in Georgia, which was a satellite office of the main NWA territory, Mid-Atlantic, at the time. Due to a talent exchange agreement with World Class, the Rock and Rolls ended up on a huge card in Dallas where Ric Flair was involved in a huge program with Kerry Von Erich. Ric watched their match and was so impressed that he told Jim Crockett to sign them ASAP because they were so good and so over.
Muhammed Ali- Ali was working a Superdome show one night in Mid-South and he came into the locker room and said hi to everyone. Then he spotted Ricky’s son playing with his trucks and then sat down and played with him for a while. While this is happening, Jim Crockett walked in and asked him to come over to Mid-Atlantic and work for him. He asked the advice of current WWE road agent Michael PS Hayes and Ted Dibiase about it and they both said that it would be the best opportunity they’d ever get.
Mid-Atlantic – The Midnight Express were there and getting over, but they were paired off at first with the Russians, Ivan Koloff and Nikita Koloff, who were even more over than the Midnights at the time. They did two TV tapings in a row when they came in, where the first on was to get them over and the second one was against the Russians for the tag titles. They went for about 53 minutes with the Russians for the entire second taping, winning the belts. He says the reason it worked so well was that Ivan and Nikita had beaten the piss out of everybody for months, even the team of Magnum TA and Dusty Rhodes, who was the booker at the time. Them coming in and immediately beating the Russians in a classic match got them hugely over with the crowd right out of the gate.
They then cut to the Rock and Roll Express (with Don Kernoodle) vs. Ivan and Nikita (with Kruscher Kruschev) tag team title cage match from Starrcade 85. This is a good match but isn’t among the RnR Express’s best works. Most of their classic matches were against the Four Horsemen (usually Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson) or the Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and either Stan Lane or Dennis Condrey). The finish comes as Gibson makes a tag to Morton that Ivan can’t see, Gibson gets thrown to the ropes and Ivan attempts to backdrop him, but Morton comes up from behind, pushes him into the ropes, then rolls him up for the titles. After the match, the Russians start whipping Gibson with the Russian chain.
After the Starrcade match, they stared feuding with the Midnight Express, which got over huge. Even though it had been done before, the fans loved it because the Mid-Atlantic territory hadn’t seen all the matches they’d done in Mid-South.
Unity among the wrestlers- The faces used to all live in the same apartment complex and they all threw birthday parties for each other and even for Ricky’s son.
The Von Erichs- “They were… different” but he doesn’t judge them. He was good friends with Kerry, Kevin, and David but he didn’t know Mike too well. They did a lot of stupid stuff, but that’s to be expected because they all got too much when they were about 18 years old.
Gino Hernandez- “Gino was different, too. You always heard he was Paul Boesch’s son and stuff like that.”
Bill Watts- The strictest promoter he ever worked for. He wanted things done HIS way in his territory. Being late was an automatic $50 fine. One night, he was supposed to be in a match with Carl Fergie (a cousin of Jerry Lawler and the Honkytonk Man) but he was 15 minutes late and got fined. Fergie was 30 minutes late and got interrogated as to where he was. When he said that a truck overturned and that traffic was backed up for 20 miles along the back roads they used (there were no north-south interstates in Louisiana at that time), Watts told him “You should have known that truck was going to overturn yesterday.” “He’s a Hell of a lot smarter than I am.”
The program with Ric Flair- He says that Flair built the current wrestling business and that he was a God in the ring. “Ric Flair is Ric Flair. No one will ever take his place, I don’t care what anybody says.” (Will someone PLEASE tell Triple H this?) Robert got injured, so he was working singles matches and Flair saw him work. Flair was scouting out potential opponents and liked what he saw in Ricky’s match and figured he could draw money against him. They had an elimination six-man tag match with him, Robert, and Dusty against Flair, Ole, and Arn where it came down to Flair and him, and Flair put him over in the center of the ring. As a result of that match, the Horsemen took Morton in the back and roughed him up, including rubbing his face across the concrete floor and breaking his nose and the people got HOT. They drew BIG money with that match for a while, including at least one $60,000 house. “We went nine hour broadways (time limit draws) in one week. What a machine this bastard is…”
We get a Rock and Roll Express promo with Flair where Flair starts ribbing on Morton for all the little teeny boppers that are RnR fans. Morton stomps Flair’s sunglasses and it breaks out into a HUGE brawl where Flair gets tossed around and does the turnbuckle flip while wearing one of his expensive three-piece suits.
Next is a RnR Express match vs. Ray Traylor (Big Bossman) and Carl Styles that never gets started because Flair challenges Morton to an impromptu match. LONG match which Morton gets a victory, sort-of. Flair did a high cross body from the top rope that Morton reversed into a pin and Robert Gibson made a three-count. The RnR Express, Dusty, and Baby Doll cut a post-match promo on Flair.
We get another Morton match here as he faces a nameless jobber. Flair comes to ringside during the match, Morton picks up the pin, and Flair enters the ring and starts arguing with Morton. Flair takes a swing at Morton and then gets his ass whipped. The Horsemen then run in to save Flair’s ass and we have to listen to David Crockett talk about what happened.
Speaking of David Crockett, he’s interviewing Ronnie Garvin in the next sequence about a Flair-Morton match as footage plays. This is the end of the six-man tag match that Morton referred to earlier and we get the perennial Horsemen ass-whipping and Flair rubbing Ricky Morton’s face into the concrete as a small bonus.
The Andersons- When they first did an angle with them, Ole Anderson was the booker of Georgia Championship Wrestling and resented that a small guy like Morton was in the position he was in. He didn’t understand why they drew so well against the Russians. Once they started working a program together, they drew HUGE houses and when the RnR Express came to the ring, the fans would all come to their feet. Ole, however, would just sit there saying to himself “I can’t believe this place sold out for them” instead of “Holy SHIT… I made HOW much tonight wrestling them?” During the matches, Morton would get Ole into a corner and keep hitting him, but he’d refuse to sell. Finally, Morton himself walked to the center of the ring and fell to the mat. When Ole asked him what the Hell he was doing, Morton replied “Well, if you weren’t going to take a bump, I figured I would.” Ole then told him “You crazy sonofabitch, I don’t know whether to kick your ass or respect you.”
Sidenote- Stupid crap like this makes me wonder how Ole got the job as WCW’s booker in 1990 since it was obvious he couldn’t handle the way things were going four years earlier.
How over they were, especially with the female fans- They were working a promotion with the Hardee’s restaurant chain where they would be doing promotional appearances at new locations. They’d be in a town with a population of 10,000 and there would be 30,000 people waiting to see them at the store. On top of that, so many people were at a different location that they had to be flown in by helicopter to the top of the restaurant to get there because their limo couldn’t get through the crowds..
Why they left Jim Crockett Promotions- Dusty pulled a power play on them, they didn’t go for it, and they were fired as a result. The fans got PISSED over that and let JCP hear it. Later, when he was working for WCW in 1991, Robert got injured and was going to be out for a year, so they broke them up and had Ricky join the York Foundation, managed by Alexandra York (Terri in the WWE). He felt the group did perfectly well and it didn’t hurt that he was teaming with his old friend Tommy “insert blowjob joke here” Rich. He then goes off on how promoters totally screwed up by not doing more with Rich once he became the most over babyface in the country in the early 1980s. He says that no matter how over someone is, they're only to go as far as the promoter will allow them to go.
Sidenote- That’s certainly a truism, although the opposite is NOT true. If someone is NOT over, the fans will start by booing and, if they feel the promoter is ignoring them, will quit buying tickets if someone they can’t stand continues to get a Jesus push. He WWE needs to learn THAT particular lesson quickly since they have been throwing money down a bottomless hole for about the past year and have seen few results because they’re pushing unover people that no one wants to take seriously. Let’s see… The Reverend DVon? The only response he got was the “boredom heat” chant of “DVon touched me!” due to his stupid gimmick. A-Train? Despite what management may think, “Shave your back” chants do NOT mean that he is over. The list goes on and on.
More on Tommy Rich- Apparently, the whole TBS timeslot mess screwed Tommy’s career. He was the most over babyface in the country when Georgia Championship Wrestling, owned by Ole Anderson and several backers, had the timeslot. He was left out in the cold when Vince McMahon bought out Ole’s backers, Jim Barnett and the Brisco Brothers, and started running WWF programming in the timeslot. Things didn’t improve when Jim Crockett eventually bought out Vince McMahon’s interest in Georgia because Crockett brought his own people in rather than use the Georgia talent that made the timeslot so desirable to begin with.
Leaving WCW in the early 90s- Bill Watts took over around the time his contract was up and told him to take six months off so that they could revitalize his character. During that six months, though, Watts got fired and Eric Bischoff took over. He only got to go back in 1993 as a part of the Smokey Mountain Wrestling cross-promotional deal with WCW at Superbrawl III.
Eric Bischoff and WCW stupidity in general- He knows that he went to WCW to wrestle because he needed to make money and feed his family. He had told the office to send all of his plane tickets to Robert Gibson because they were going to be going places as a team. When they got up to the counter for one trip, he found that his ticket was for an Atlanta, Georgia departure while Robert’s was, correctly, for a Pensacola, Florida, departure. The only way to change that would have been to pay $800 office, which he didn’t have, and the WCW office refused to do anything about it. That night, he was one of three people to no-show, with the other two being Hulk Hogan and Flair. Bischoff decided to make an example of him since he was the low man on the totem pole of the three and the office didn’t say “boo” because they didn’t want to admit they made a mistake.
Being an outcast from the big promotions- “This business is all I know. I don’t have a degree. This business is something I do know and I feel I have something to give but, fuck man… I can’t even get a job poppin’ fucking popcorn.” He only asks for a chance for a regular paycheck. He works a lot of independent shows and helps teach the guys how to work, like Chris Hammrick, who was in both Smokey Mountain and ECW I believe. “This business is all we’ve got and you’ve taken it away from us. I’m not asking to be a world champion or a tag team champion, I just want to be a part of it.” He then talks about how people he’s never heard of before are making $75,000 a year while he and Robert are making $500 a match. His biggest year in the business ever was $145,000 and some guys (Hogan) make that for one match now. He lost a lot of that money because he was so dedicated to the business that he lost a family over it.
He goes on to tell of how today the owners only care about the TV ratings and how much money they’re making instead of their wrestlers, which is true and a sad state of affairs. For one thing, ratings are a good indicator of how the promotion is doing but shouldn’t be THE yardstick. Pay per view buyrates and house show ticket sales should be the two main criteria because TV ratings are an indirect source of income while buyrates and ticket sales put money directly into their pockets.
They cut to a match in HORRIBLE shape between the Rock and Roll Express (tag champs) vs. the Midnight Express (with Jim Cornette and Big Bubba Rogers). The RnR Express win via DQ after Cornette hits Morton in the head with his tennis racket.
Memphis again- He was helping Jerry Lawler and Dutch Mantel book in the mid-90s. Around that time, Cornette called him up and asked if he’d be interested in coming to work for him in Smokey Mountain Wrestling. Cornette brought the RnR Express in as a team and based the entire tag team side of the promotion around them. They worked with the Heavenly Bodies (WWE trainer Dr. Tom Pritchard and Stan Lane, later Pritchard and Gigilo Jimmy Del Ray) and drew well. When he first saw Del Ray, he didn’t think much of him. Once he saw him work, he had no problems with him because Del Ray was great in the ring.
They now show match footage of a Smokey Mountain Street Fight between the Rock and Roll Express and the Heavenly Bodies. The footage is SO washed out that I couldn’t tell whether the second Body was Del Ray or Lane until I saw a close up on Lane’s long blonde hair. The finish comes as Pritchard kicks Gibson with a loaded boot for the pin.
Next is the Rock and Roll Express vs. the Heavenly Bodies loser-leaves-town cage match from Bluegrass Brawl. This is the Del Ray version of the Bodies. Considering that the Bodies were splitting time between the WWF and Smokey Mountain at this point, there should be no mystery as to who will lose this match.
The finish comes as Morton reverses a Del Ray powerbomb into a pin.
Al Snow and Unabom- In 1995, Cornette brought in Snow and Unabom (Kane, Dr. Isaac Yankem) to face them and it was a good learning process for the two of them. He says they were talented and that everyone saw that, which is why both work for the then-WWF. They also worked with the Harris Brothers (Disciples of Apocalypse, Creative Control).
The USWA- They were co-promoting with Memphis (called the USWA ever since Jarrett bought out World Class and merged the two territories) and were working as heels at USWA shows and faces at Smokey Mountain ones. He left for the independent circuit for a while but came back for the final few Smokey Mountain shows that Cornette had before shutting down the company.
What did Cornette tell them when he closed down the company- He knew things weren’t going well when Cornette said “Come back for these three shows” instead of “Come back to Smokey Mountain Wrestling.” Since the crowds popped big for him every night yet Cornette didn’t say “Come back into the territory”, he knew for sure that Cornette was about to shut SMW down. He didn’t want to break the news to the guys, so he just waited for a few days for Cornette to tell them in a meeting with all the talent.
They then cut to footage of that show on a hand-cam. It’s pretty hard to see the ring from this distance, so I can’t give a detailed explanation. It appears to just be the Rock and Roll Express and a few other faces kicking the crap out of Cornette.
Favorite memories of Smokey Mountain- It was all good because it was like an old-school territory. He wishes it was still running today.
What does he think of WCW and the WWF today? They’re so hot that it’s keeping the independent promotions in business.
Working for ECW- What makes ECW work is all of the great angles. The kind of stuff they do goes back at least as far as the feud he and Robert had with Randy Savage and his brother Lanny Poffo.
They then cut to that Memphis match between the Rock and Roll Express and the Poffo brothers. I think that this match is included in one of the original five volumes of Wrestling Gold. Randy Savage ends up piledriving Morton through the timekeeper’s table to draw the DQ.
He also talks about how one guy in ECW did a moonsault from a balcony to the concrete floor and asked him what he thought about it afterwards. He told the guy “I think you’re a dumbfuck” and told him that he should just learn how to sell instead. “I can get more out of an armbar than these guys can get from going through eighteen tables.” He’s proud of Paul E. for being as successful as he is, but he doesn’t like what his wrestlers do on a nightly basis.
Going to Japan- He goes there a lot, although the touring is hard on the body. The part that really gets him is how you come home and then, a few weeks later, you go back again.
Weird stuff- One night in Texas, Killer Karl Kox came into the territory to face Scott Casey. Casey and the ref were waiting in the ring on Kox but he wasn’t coming out. Eventually, the ref goes to track him down and Kox ends up running out to the ring with toilet paper trailing behind his ass. He made a comedy spot of it by looking for it and not finding it for a while before grabbing it, realizing that it was used paper, and running back to the bathroom. Part of Kox’s gimmick was that he’d talk to his invisible friend Alice, so after he’d lock up and get his ass kicked by Casey, he’d step back for a minute, talk to Alice, and give a thumbs up to her for the idea on how to handle Casey, and lock up again. After getting his ass handed to him several lock-ups in a row, he finally gave Alice the international signal for “I’m number one” and the whole crowd broke out laughing.
Sidenote- Bobby Heenan also tells some funny Kox stories in his book, especially one where Kox shoved a candy bar in his own tights before his match, noticed the brown stain during a bump on his ass, and licked the brown mess, getting fired from Georgia Championship Wrestling in the process. I think that goes up there with the most interesting ways to give notice that you’re leaving, along with Jimmy Valiant handing his house keys to Jerry Lawler before a match. (Valiant had held up Lawler and Jarrett for a house in order to stay in Memphis. He ended up leaving the territory less than a year later.)
Ric Flair stories- When he was in Charlotte in the 80s after he’d left Jim Crockett Promotions, he ran into Ric Flair one night. Flair insisted that they go out drinking and, eventually, they ended up on Flair’s yacht in South Carolina. When they were looking at something on the boat, Flair ended up slipping off for the boat and taking a header into the water while dressed to the nines in one of his expensive suits, a Rolex, etc. They turned around and tried to find him and had to break out a spotlight to find him. Once they dragged him out of the water, all he was wearing was his pants, one sock, and a necktie with no shirt, and “he looked like a goddamn drowned rat.”
Getting criticized for doing drugs- He didn’t do more drugs than anyone else in the business but he gets unfairly labeled.
Morton’s final thoughts- All he knows is the wrestling business and he loves it. It makes his night whenever he does a show and someone comes up afterwards and tells him how much they enjoyed his match. He also wants to push the Best of the Rock And Roll Express tapes, which are available at Highspots Video, and I’ll provide a link to them below.
They then show a tag match from a house show somewhere, which appears to be an indy show. The only guy I recognize out of the four is Morton because his partner sure doesn’t appear to be Robert Gibson here. This match looks like crap video-wise, so I’m not going to bother to give the finish.
Thoughts- Morton is very open and honest here. While it may appear to some that he’s exaggerating what he is saying, he isn’t. He and Gibson were THE babyface tag team who drew a huge amount of teeny-boppers and still had good matches, setting the table for the Fantastics, the Rock and Roll RPMs, and the Rockers (Shawn Michaels and Marty Janetty). (The Fabulous Ones came first but they never got over as huge as the Rock and Roll Express did) They made formulas for tag matches that are considered the standard for today.
That being said, it’s still pretty sad to watch parts of this video. Morton’s story should be a cautionary tale to anyone who goes into the wrestling business without a backup plan for when they retire. In this way, Morton is the opposite of Nikita Koloff, who became so successful at his outside business ventures that he was able to leave the wrestling business while he was in the upper half of the card.
I will recommend this video because there are both good stories and good matches here, but be forewarned that parts of this tape are a serious downer.