Richard Wendell "Ricky" Morton (September 21, 1956) is an American professional wrestler who has worked for such wrestling organizations as Jim Crockett Promotions, the American Wrestling Association, Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Morton had seventy-nine championship reigns throughout his career, and is best known for his appearances with Robert Gibson, with whom he has been a eight-time NWA World Tag Team champion as one-half of the tag team The Rock 'n' Roll Express.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017 as part of the Rock 'n' Roll Express.
Morton was trained by his father, Paul, and Ken Lucas before starting wrestling in 1978. He wrestled primarily for Mid-Southern Wrestling in Memphis, Tennessee, often teaming with Lucas and Eddie Gilbert. The Rock n Roll Express was formed by Booker Jerry Lawler. He & Robert Gibson went on to Mid-South Wrestling in 1983, The Rock 'n' Roll Express. They won the Mid-South Tag Team Title three times and feuded with the team that would become their arch rivals, The Midnight Express of Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey.
Because of his small stature and good looks, he was usually made the "Face in Peril", meaning he would be the one to take most of the punishment in the matches to get the fans behind the team. He was also the one that always suffered a humiliation or "injury" to further the storyline the team would be involved in. Nowadays, this is sometimes referred to as "Playing Ricky Morton". In the early 80s Ricky formed a successful tag team with Robert Gibson in Joe Blanchard's South West wrestling territory feuding with The Grapplers. In 1985, both teams moved on to Jim Crockett Promotions and became famous due to the national television exposure of TBS. Ricky and Robert had a major feud with the "Russians", Ivan and Nikita Koloff and won the NWA World Tag Team Title. They traded the title again with the Russians and lost them to their hated rivals the Midnight Express on February 2, 1986 due to their manager, Jim Cornette. Cornette used his tennis racket on Robert to help his team win. In the spring of 1986, Morton was having an interview when NWA Champion Ric Flair came out and insulted his fans by calling them "teenyboppers". He said Morton couldn't handle real women and Morton stomped on Flair's sunglasses. This led to a fight and then a series of matches, the most notable being their Steel Cage match at the 1986 Great American Bash. To help build Morton as a serious title contender, it was pointed out that he once went to a one-hour draw with then-AWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Bockwinkel. Morton never won the title but he proved that he was of the same caliber as Flair was in the ring. At one point in the feud with Flair, the Four Horsemen attacked him and rubbed his face on the dressing room floor, causing a grotesque looking facial injury. They also broke his nose in another attack. Arn Anderson would make fun of Morton, calling him "Punky Morton," which was a play on the popular 1980s sitcom Punky Brewster. The term used to belittle Morton backfired when fans began to use it as a term of endearment. Morton and Gibson won the title back from the Midnight Express and feuded with Ole and Arn Anderson for the rest of the year. They culminated this feud with a win over the Andersons in a cage match at Starrcade on November 28. This victory started the Horsemen's dissatisfaction with Ole who was kicked out just months later. Morton and Gibson then lost the title to Rick Rude and Manny Fernandez on December 6, 1986, who they feuded with from December 1986 to June 1987. When Rude left for the World Wrestling Federation, the title was given back to the Rock & Roll Express, with the explanation that they won the title accompanied by footage of a prior non-title match won by the Rock & Roll Express where they pinned the champions. Morton and Gibson then feuded briefly with the New Breed, Sean Royal and Chris Champion, but this feud ended when the New Breed were injured in an auto accident. Their next feud was with Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, who won the title from them on September 29, 1987 after Jim Cornette's new Midnight Express of Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane attacked them and injured Morton's arm and shoulder. Morton came out in the middle of the match and blindly tagged Gibson and courageously tried to wrestle but the Horsemen soon took advantage and Gibson gave up the match to save Morton more pain. They feuded for a few months with the Horsemen keeping the titles by getting themselves disqualified, and injuring Gibson's ribs.
Morton and Gibson then left the NWA and wrestled for the Continental Wrestling Association until they returned to World Championship Wrestling in 1990. Gibson injured his knee and Morton teamed with Big Josh and Junkyard Dog to win the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Championship. On June 12, 1991, at the Clash of the Champions XV: Knocksville USA, Morton was in the ring to accept an invitation by Alexandra York to join her York Foundation. Gibson appeared and said he was healthy and ready to go and to everybody's shock, Morton turned on Gibson and beat him down before leaving with York, Mr. Hughes and Terrence Taylor. He changed his name to Richard Morton and they soon added Tommy Rich, who became Thomas Rich. They feuded with Gibson, Dustin Rhodes and Bobby Eaton and won the WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Title. They disbanded in early 1992, however, and Morton was used as a preliminary heel jobber where he teamed with various heels like Diamond Dallas Page. By July, Morton was in the United States Wrestling Association where he won the title and feuded with his former partner, Eddie Gilbert. He left the USWA for Smoky Mountain Wrestling and reformed the Rock & Roll Express with Gibson. They feuded with two versions of The Heavenly Bodies for the next year and a half, Stan Lane and Tom Prichard, and Prichard and Jim Del Ray. They feuded with The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa Saed) in 1994 and went to the NWA to win the Tag Title again in 1995. During 1995 he also teamed briefly with David Jericho. In 1996, they were back in WCW as jobbers to major heels. They left WCW by 1997 for the independent circuit.
In 1998, they were briefly in the WWF as part of the "NWA" angle as the NWA Tag Team Champions, but did nothing to be remembered for other than losing the titles to the "Headbangers". In 2002, they briefly were part of Vince Russo's S.E.X. group in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. Since leaving TNA, Morton wrestles all over the independent circuit in the Southeast and on the East Coast and often wins regional titles. Occasionally, he teams with Gibson as the Rock 'N Roll Express. In the past few years Morton has been in legal trouble regarding non payment of child support. On March 31, 2007 in Logan, West Virginia, Morton defeated Bobby Eaton in an NWA Legends Match during ASW's Rumble In The Jungle show. On April 27, 2007 in Memphis, Tennessee at the PMG Clash of Legends event put on by Memphis Wrestling, Morton and Kid Kash captured the MW Southern Tag Team Championship, defeating Too Cool II. On June 30, 2007 The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky and Todd Morton) beat Big and Tasty (Sweet William Valentine and Playboy Mike Trusty) to win the AWA Supreme Tag Team titles. On October 24, 2007 The Rock & Roll Express lost the AWA Supreme Tag Team Titles to Chaos Theory (Khris Kaliber and Karma). On January 4, 2014, Morton defeated Chase Owens to win the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship. He lost the title back to Owens on March 7.
In 2014 Ricky Morton opened a wrestling school (The School of Morton) in Chuckey, Tennessee.
Ricky Morton's father, longtime pro wrestling referee Paul Morton, died December 19, 2010. His cousin, Todd Morton, is also a professional wrestler, and teamed with Ricky as another version of the Rock 'n' Roll Express to win the AWA Supreme Tag Team title and the Continental Wrestling Association's tag team title. As of August 2014, Morton has seven children and six grandchildren.
In late October 2005, Morton was arrested by Sullivan County (Bristol, TN) deputies for back child support payments. The total amount was estimated to be $73,000. His earnings ability had greatly diminished over the past decade (after release from World Championship Wrestling) and he was forced to tour the Indy circuit.
At least two benefit shows were put together in February 2006 to raise money towards his legal fees. A United Wrestling Association show in Alcoa, Tennessee on February 2, 2006, raised $2,475 for this cause. On February 15, 2006, after four months behind bars, Ricky was released under the condition that he continue working and making efforts to catch up on the delinquent payments owed to his ex-wife. He returned to the ring the next night for the United Wrestling Association.
In September 2007, while camping with his children at a Tennessee park, Morton was rearrested on the same charges. It was estimated he owed a remaining balance of $63,000. A website was established, and raised enough funds to secure his bail.
- Finishing moves
- Entrance themes
- "Old Time Rock & Roll" by Bob Seger (ROH)
Championships and accomplishments
- 304 Wrestling
- 304 Championship (1 time)
- All Star Wrestling (Virginia)
- ASW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- ASW Southern Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- ASW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Robert Gibson
- All Star Wrestling (West Virginia)
- ASW Legends Championship (1 time)
- Allied Independent Wrestling Federations
- AIWF World Champion (1 Time)
- AIWF United States Championship (1 time)
- AIWF All Star Champion (1 Time)
- Alternative Championship Wrestling
- ACW Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- American Pro Wrestling
- APW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- AWA Supreme
- AWA Supreme Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Todd Morton
- Appalachia Mountain Wrestling
- AMW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Appalachia Pro Wrestling
- APW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Carolina Wrestling Association
- CWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- NWA Mid-America / Continental Wrestling Association / Championship Wrestling Association
- AWA Southern Tag Team Championship (6 times) - with Sonny King (1), with Ken Lucas (2), Eddie Gilbert (1), and Robert Gibson (2)
- CWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- CWA Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Robert Gibson (1), and Todd Morton (1)
- CWA World Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Robert Gibson
- NWA Mid-America Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Ken Lucas
- Exodus Wrestling Alliance
- EWA Heavyweight Championship (5 times)
- Extreme Wrestling Federation
- EWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- EWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Chris Hamrick
- Great American Wrestling Federation
- GAWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with David Jericho
- Mid-South Wrestling Association
- MSWA Tennessee Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- MSWA Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Robert Gibson
- Jim Crockett Promotions / National Wrestling Alliance
- NWA Smoky Mountain
- Smoky Mountain Cup (2013)
- NWA Tri-State / Mid-South Wrestling Association
- NWA Tri-State Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Eddie Gilbert
- Mid-South Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Robert Gibson
- North American Championship Wrestling
- NACW Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Buff Bagwell
- Omni Pro Wrestling
- OPW Rock 'n' Roll Cup Tag Team Tournament (2006) - with Aaron Armor
- Peach State Wrestling
- PSW Cordele City Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Tag Team of the Year (1986) - with Robert Gibson
- PWI ranked him #95 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
- PWI ranked him #4 of the Top 100 Tag Teams of the "PWI Years" with Robert Gibson in 2003.
- Professional Wrestling Federation
- PWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Southern Michigan Championship Wrestling
- SMCW United States Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Southern States Wrestling
- SSW Texas Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- SSW Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Bobby Fulton (1), Beau James (1), and Ricky Harrison (1)
- Southwest Championship Wrestling
- SCW Southwest Tag Team Championship (3 times) - with Ken Lucas (2) and Eddie Gilbert (1)
- Supreme Championship Wrestling
- SCW Hall of Fame (Class of 2009)
- Traditional Championship Wrestling
- TCW World Tag Team Championship (2 time) - with Dustin Heritage (1) and Robert Gibson (1)
- Ultimate Championship Wrestling
- UCW Heavyweight Championship (2 times)
- UCW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Robert Gibson
- United States Wrestling Association
- United Wrestling Association
- UWA Texas Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- UWA United States Championship (1 time)
- UWA Southern Heavyweight Champion (1 time)
- Virginia Championship Wrestling
- VCW Championship (1 time)
- Virginia Wrestling Association
- VWA/CCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- World Organization of Wrestling
- WOW Tag Team Championship (1 time) - with Robert Gibson
- World Championship Wrestling
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2014) – with Robert Gibson
1One of their reigns with the title began in Memphis, Tennessee, though the records are unclear as to which promotion hosted the card. During another reign, the championship was awarded to them, though there's no indication of where the titles were awarded nor which promotion they were wrestling for at the time.