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 - Jason Hess

Hello and welcome to the latest installment of Houston Wrestling here at Kayfabe Memories. 

In this edition of Houston Wrestling memories, we will look back at one of the most legendary feuds to ever hit the city of Houston (boy, that covers a ton of ground doesn’t it?).  While the “uniqueness” of having a Houston-only feud in 1984 was largely out of the picture, the situations and stipulations make the blow off match to one of the greatest tag team feuds ever one that just has to be remembered. 

Late 1983-Early 1984 


The “trade”:  As has been brought up more than once in our journey together, both the Mid-South territory, and Houston in general were going through something of a slump near the end of 1983.  Crowds in Houston had dipped to just over 3,000 fans in a 10,000+ seat Sam Houston Coliseum.  The Houston crowds mirrored what was happening across the Mid-South territory, as most of the big drawing cities like Tulsa, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, and others were suffering at the gate as well.   

Bill Watts and Jerry Jarrett, after a talent evaluation, decided to swap some talent.  Suffice to say, it was the rare occasion that Jerry Jarrett got the worse end of the deal.  Watts received several pieces of talent that would be instrumental in turning his territory on fire in 1984.  Five such men were Jim Cornette, Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton, Ricky Morton, and Robert Gibson.   

By the end of 1984, these five men blazed a trail in tag team wrestling/angle thrills that still stands “up” to close scrutiny nearly 20 years later.  The angles, the action, the feud; all of it top notch.  Action packed and highly dramatic, the Midnight Express/Rock-n-Roll Express feud scorched the Bayou City during 1984…complete with an ending that was “death-defying.” 

Fall 1984


A Reaction From Frustration:  Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express had a great run in Mid-South wrestling.  From winning their first tag titles in March from Mr. Wrestling 2 and Magnum T.A., to the memorable “Last Stampede” series with Bill Watts (see next month’s article), the team and their manager had a break out 1984.  But their closest ties with Mid-South will always be against the Rock-n-Roll Express.  The Rock-n-Rolls captured their first of 3 Mid-South tag titles from Condrey and Eaton in May 1984 (just days before Magnum T.A.’s first North American Title victory over Mr. Wrestling 2).  However, Condrey and Eaton would even the score by beating Gibson and Morton just three weeks later. 

Both times the titles changed hands in front of the Irish McNeil Boys Club faithful in Shreveport, Louisiana.  The two teams were “married” together on the road for most of their shared time in Mid-South, wrestling in all sorts of matches (six man tags with the Midnights teaming up with Ernie Ladd and Hacksaw Jim Duggan joining Morton and Gibson…right here in Houston!!  4 man matches with Midnights-Guerreros vs. Rock-n-Rolls-Fantastics) with wild stipulations. 

Nearly five months after losing the belts, Morton and Gibson finally regained the titles in New Orleans on October 1, 1984.  By this time, the Midnight Express were making plans to move on to World Class Championship Wrestling.  The final showdown was going to take place….but how? 

Ricky Morton appeared on Mid-South television frustrated by Jim Cornette and Cornette’s attempts at ruining the lives of Morton and Gibson.  Morton and Gibson were demonstrating how in upcoming matches, Jim Cornette would be straitjacketed to prevent his interference in matches.  Morton tied up Gibson in the straitjacket…and well….we all can see where this is going can’t we??  (On tapes of this angle, one can hear people screaming at Morton and Gibson both “Don’t do it Ricky, Let him go Ricky, Robert, get out of that thing!!)  Initially, Morton was able to fight them off, but eventually, the Rock-n-Rolls succumbed to the attack pulled off by Cornette and his henchmen.  Gibson took the brunt of the attack.  More...

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