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/19 August 2000
WCW Classics by Mike Regan




What did we do before Ricky Morton?

I mean, how did we live without a clever term for the part of a tag team match where one of the babyfaces gets trapped in the wrong part of town and receives a drawn-out, hellacious beating? It's like life without electricity, or the remote control. The term "face in peril" is just a little dry for sarcastic Internet types like us.

Then along came Ricky Morton, who with Robert Gibson formed the "Rock and Roll Express" in the early 1980's. Morton turned becoming a human punching bag into an artform, and would go on to have an aspect of wrestling named for him. And this week on WCW Classics, it's an entire show devoted to the team that put "playing Ricky Morton" into the wrestling writer's repertoire.

WCW Classics (first aired August 19, 2000)
Hosted by Dusty Rhodes

I finally noticed something this week (unless this is a totally new thing they're doing). On the posters that appears before the matches, they list the name of the card that the match took place on (where applicable). This means we know that our opening match takes place at:

Capital Combat (May 1990)
Rock and Roll Express vs. The Freebirds (Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin)
"Corporal Punishment Match"

Dusty actually calls this the "watered-down" version of the Freebirds. Jimmy Garvin had been brought in to replace the retired Buddy Roberts a year earlier. Shortly after, Terry Gordy went to Japan to form the "Miracle Violence Combination" with Steve Williams. That left this much-maligned version of the team. By the way, this matches stipulations involve all the wrestlers being armed with leather straps, but that fails to come into play in any of the clips shown (perhaps they were all edited out, as only about five minutes are shown of an eighteen minute match). Jim Ross and Bob Caudle are the announcers.

As we join the match, Hayes is doing his signature move, the moonwalk. Finally, we get some wrestling. Nothing particularly interesting happens, until Morton goes for a rolling reverse cradle on Garvin. When Garvin kicks out, Morton winds up walking right into a punch from Hayes. Yes, it is time to "play Ricky Morton." Unfortunately, the Freebirds' response to the situation is to apply the dreaded reverse chinlock. What a waste of Ricky Morton's talents. Thankfully, they clip the next few minutes and rejoin with Morton trying to fight back. He whips Hayes into a corner, but is met by another Hayes punch. Hayes did throw a sweet punch, but unfortunately "scintillating" was not yet a part of Jim Ross' vocabulary. Morton slips out of a Hayes bulldog attempt, allowing him to get the hot tag. All four men battle until Morton gets thrown out and Hayes nails Gibson with a DDT. But the Freebirds choose to showboat, which proves to be their undoing. With Hayes going for another DDT on Gibson, Morton comes off the top rope with a sunset flip for the pin. Never mind that he's not the legal man. The Freebirds get strapped a little after the match, the only appearance of the match stipulation. However, the loss was traumatic enough, as the Freebirds soon started wearing makeup and being managed by jobber Rocky King (redubbed "Little Richard Marley). And later that very night, Robocop appeared, but I doubt we'll ever see that on WCW Classics.

Next, as a preview for our main event, we get highlights of an earlier Rock and Rolls Express-Midnight Express encounter. In this case, it's the scaffold match from Starcade '87. People hit each other. Jim Cornette's racket gets involved. They don't show Stan Lane falling off the scaffold, but they do show Eaton taking the tumble. An odd side note, the announcers are Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone; one of their few times working together.

And with that, it's time for our main event, which takes back three months before out opener:

Wrestlewar (February 1990)
Rock and Roll Express vs. Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane w/ Jim Cornette)

Your announcers here are Jim Ross and Terry Funk (after one of his many retirements). As we join the action Lane and Gibson are in the ring. They do a crisscross. Lane drops down, but Gibson stops short and hits a fistdrop. Lane gets into a shoving match with referee Nick Patrick and loses. This brings in Cornette, who also gets shoved down by Patrick. They tease a fight between the two, with Cornette retreating. The crowd is eating this up. Morton tags in, and he and Lane exchange armwringers. Morton gives Lane an atomic drop that sends him flying into Eaton. Lane takes control and tags in Eaton. Time to play Ricky Morton? Not yet, as he quickly hits an armdrag. A brief four-way brawl comes up as the Rock and Rolls give Eaton a double backdrop. Then it's double-clotheslines for both Midnights. Eaton tries to trap Gibson in his team's corner, but Gibson escapes when Eaton goes to tag Lane. Lane makes the mistake of following and gets ping-ponged back and forth by Morton and Gibson. Rock and Rolls hit a double elbow on Lane. Lane manages to throw Morton out of the ring. Time to play Ricky Morton? Not yet, as Morton reverses an attempt by Lane to send him into the ringpost. Morton goes back in with Eaton, and goes for a cross-body block that sends both men over the top rope to the floor. Outside, Lane slams Morton on the mat. Time to play Ricky Morton? Yes, it is, but first we go to commercial.

When we come back, Eaton gives Morton a backbreaker. He tags in Lane and they hit one of their trademark double-team moves. Eaton drapes Morton's throat across the top rope, then Lane leap frogs over Eaton, onto Morton's back. Cornette takes advantage of a distraction to jab Morton with his racket. Lane connects with his trademark karate kicks. Then it's another Midnight Express trademark, as Lane hits a drop toehold, followed by an Eaton elbowdrop. Lane gets a powerslam and covers, but Gibson makes the save. They throw Morton out again, and this time Eaton drops him throat-first on the railing. Back in the ring, Morton sunset flips Lane, but Cornette distracts Nick Patrick. Morton hits a rolling reverse cradle, but Lane had already tagged Eaton, who comes in and gives Morton a neckbreaker. Lane returns and stands on Morton's throat. He then goes for a backdrop but Morton kicks him. Eaton tags back in and hits an elbowdrop off the top. Gibson once again breaks up the pin. Lane starts to dismantle Morton's arm by wrapping it around the ropes. Cornette sneaks in another jab with the racket. Lane gets a side salto, then tags in Eaton. They go for one of their myriad finishers, the Rocket Launcher, but Eaton hits nothing but knee. Gibson gets the hot tag and takes over. All four men fight in the ring, and in the confusion, Cornette nails Gibson with the racket. The Midnights go for another of their finishers, the Flapjack. However, in mid-move, Morton runs in and tackles Eaton. Gibson rolls up Lane in mid Flapjack for the pin. Great match that still holds up.

And that's all for this week. How are you liking these reports. Drop me a line. Until next time.

Mike Regan
[slash] wrestling

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