Kayfabe Commentaries Timeline WCW 1986 – Rock N’ Roll Express
Written by: Brian Bayless
This was released on June 14, 2016
The interview was conducted by Sean Oliver
It runs at two hours and twenty-two minutes long
On January 1st, Ole Anderson’s leg was injured by Dusty Rhodes, who was getting revenge after being hurt by the Four Horsemen, as this eliminated the National Tag Team Titles. They talk about Ole, joking that he probably doesnt even like himself before Ricky says he believes Ole broke in through Verne Gagne’s camp in Minnesota and it was really tough with all of the “shooters” up there during that time period. They also talk about how you did things Ole’s way as Ricky talks about how Ole did not want to work with them at first, thinking they were too small. On his ideas, Ricky says he is a creative guy and worked under him dating back to Georgia as he said Ole wants you to do more amateur-based wrestling and even credits Ole for jump-starting Tommy Rich’s career.
Tully Blanchard left Baby Doll then eventually joined the Four Horsemen. Ricky said that Baby Doll was still a good commodity for the business so they decided to turn her face and pair up with Dusty Rhodes. When asked, Ricky said Dusty could make any situation work and did the same with this.
Harley Race appeared in January. Sean asks them about the rumor Harley left because he did not want to put over Magnum TA as Robert does not even remember Harley coming in as Ricky said he does not blame Harley for refusing to come in and immediately put someone over. Ricky said that Magnum was a great wrestler but at that point could not carry the load. When asked how he would have fit in on the roster at this point, Ricky wasnt so sure where he would fit on the card but he was a former champion so could be of some use.
On their feud with the Midnight Express, Ricky said they feuded before that in Mid-South and stated how they just had instant chemistry. He puts over how back then they sold everything and did not treat the business as Sports Entertainment, citing how after getting his throat hit with Jim Cornette’s tennis racket, he did not even speak on TV for a month. Sean puts over his ability to sell as Ricky said that took years to perfect and tells us a secret about wrestling that wrestlers would ask him he was okay during the match after disclosing his nickname among the wrestlers was “Punky.” Ricky then puts over Cornette as making the Midnight Express possible as he was the mouthpiece who tied everything together. Ricky talks about how today the business is mostly about the microphone.
Ronnie Garvin laid out Ric Flair on the January 18th show. Ricky said that Garvin was tough as nails then talks about how there was not many guys in the business that Flair could drop the belt to as he credits Dusty for building him up to that level despite not having as much charisma as the others.
The “Superstars of the Superstation” aired on February 2nd. Ricky talks about cable TV really booming and how they had to find a night to make it work. On this show, the Rock N Roll Express dropped the Tag Team Titles to the Midnight Express. Ricky said that Dennis Condrey was the leader of the pack for the Midnight Express then all of a sudden he left then Stan Lane stepped in as Ricky credits Lane for stepping right in as the team did not miss a beat. Ricky then talks about it comes down to what puts “asses in the seats,” not worrying about who has the belt and having them chase the belts is what draws money.
Now, they are asked about wrestling against the Midnight Express and how they were originally scheduled to end in a 60-minute draw but exceeded that as the timekeeper refused to ring the bell. Robert tells us how they were told there were five minutes remaining and then after fifteen minutes, they were told only four minutes were left. They eventually won as afterwards, the timeekeeper came up to both of them and said he knew they could win, noting he gave them an extra half-hour to do so. Sean then asks them if they would go to bed after working those types of matches as Robert said they went out with Ricky joking how he never went to bed for 35 years.
They talk about Flair’s partying as Ricky says Flair walking around naked happened so many times he stopped paying attention after a while.
Ricky talks about how Cornette was afraid of heights and had to be up in the shark cage hanging above the ring for a few of their matches. Ricky said they would push the cage as he was going up with Cornette muttering “fuck you” to them. Ricky then tells a hilarious story when he was working in Texas. Manager Don Carson was in a shark cage as Jose Lothario pushed it hard and it swung back and as Lothario was gloating to the crowd, the cage came back and whacked him in the head and legitimately knocking him out cold.
On Jim Crockett and Verne Gagne teaming up for a Pro Wrestling USA show in the Meadowlands, Ricky questioned why they would do that when they could sell out a building in Tampa or the Omni, citing how the expenses up in the Northeast were higher. When asked, Ricky said no one wanted to put anyone over.
Ricky talks about breaking his hand. He said that Joel Deaton came off of the top and hit his hand, bending his finger all the way back. When the match ended, he went backstage and saw Dennis Condrey, who distracted Ricky before bending it back into place. Ricky said Condrey fixed it but it hurt so bad that he claimed to have legitimately leapfrogged Condrey as he ran out into the parking lot to scream. He went to the airport and saw Dusty, saying that he broke his fingers. Dusty proceeded to buy a popsicle and ate them before using the sticks as a split. Ricky worked a few days and went to the doctor and was told his hand broke.
Jimmy Garvin made his debut, pinning Rocky King. Ricky talks about how he just came from World Class after a good run against the Von Erichs. They both talk about how everyone loved his wife Precious as Robert said she could hang with the boys when it comes to partying. Ricky then tells a story how Garvin would fly the airplane. Before the flight, Ricky had his limo driver get him an 8-ball of cocaine. He was on the plane and started to bust it out to do a few lines as he did not want to wait so he asked Precious to stand in front of him and act as a shield. She was about to get up from her seat and as soon as Ricky was about to bring the mirror up to his face, Garvin started up the plane and the cocaine went flying into Precious’ face. Ricky said he was pissed off at Garvin but that Precious must have absorbed all of the cocaine as she was talking a million miles an hour and kept licking her face as her eyes were wide open.
Cornette was arrested following a house show at the Huntington, WV Civic Center after he hit four fans with his tennis racket while leaving the ring after the match. When asked, Ricky said he drew so much heat because he looked like the type of guy who if you got your hands on him, you could kick his ass. Ricky said that Cornette was a giant “pussy” at first but got sick of getting beaten up by the fans and it made him tougher so he started to fight back.
They are now asked about the incident on TV in which Wee Willie Wilkins refused to sell for the Midnight Express and as a result, got his ass kicked by both Condrey & Eaton then got confronted by Dusty Rhodes backstage, who threw him out. They laugh then after being asked if enhancement talent would take liberties with them, Ricky tells a story of how some jobber kept trying to dive at Ole’s leg during a TV match. At first, Ole thought it was a rib and asked Arn if he was behind it but when Ole realized the guy was going into business for himself, Ole beat the shit out of him and bloodied the guy’s face with a headbutt.
Ricky then talks about how Dusty tried to do everything he could to kill them off as a team. Ricky talks about the business being political by nature but he is not a stooge. He talks about how Dusty tried to wear bandanas and copy their styles at times. Ricky also said Dusty flat-out told them they could not sell out any other buildings without him on the card. Ricky even said that he likes Dusty but again, its just the nature of the business. He also tells a story that Dusty wanted the Sheepherders to cut off the hair.
On March 29th, Ricky stomped on Ric Flair’s sunglasses. He talks about that segment and said most of it was ad-lib as things just happened back then. Ricky said that Ric spoke out of the side of the mouth and told him to pull off his glasses then stomp then on the ground while they were on-air. Robert, when asked, was not worried the team would get split up due to the angle. Ricky adds that he would not have let that happened but that Dusty wanted to break them up as a team. He goes into that and said that he refused to do something then asks do you think that after he worked a program with Flair, they were just going to decide to put the title on Ronnie Garvin afterwards. Ricky then says he does not like to talk about that as he all but says he was originally going to get the title reign that Garvin had.
Sean asks them if the WWF attempted to sign them during this period. Ricky said that they were contacted but happy being at Crockett then goes into how today, he tells the kids he trains the importance of getting an education, citing how they were on top of the world but did not realize how they got robbed and believes they lost a lot by staying in Crockett as their money went to “buying a fucking jet.” When asked, Ricky said they havent gotten a damn thing from the WWE Network as he tells us a letter from the WWE came in the mail recently and it contained a check for $13, from DVD sale royalties, which he gave to his grandson.
On Dusty teaming with the Road Warriors to win the Six-Man titles, after they won the Crockett Cup, Ricky jokes about Dusty trying to leech heat off of them. Ricky said that Dusty even had bandanas on with his face pain. When asked who would be a person to join their team to form a six-man, Ricky said Brad Armstrong as he was underrated and one of the best wrestlers.
When asked about what made the Mulkeys appealing, Ricky said it was due to the fact they took some of the craziest bumps. He says he loves them but they only wrestled on TV and not every night and if so, they would not be able to last. Ricky then talks about how Gene Anderson would go out and tell them to beat the Mulkeys in fifteen seconds.
Ricky talks about the angle when Flair broke his nose. He said that the mask he wore got him a ton of heat and every he went, he’d put makeup on to make it appear he had a black eye and taped up his nose. He talks about the fans being so into what they did that when he wrestled Flair, fans would make fake casts and put tape on their nose to show support.
Magnum TA got stripped of the U.S. Title on May 31st. Ricky said he liked Magnum but thought he had his limitations and does not know how far he would have made it had he not gotten into the accident.
Ole Anderson returns on June 3rd to help the Horsemen beat down Dusty. Ricky talks about how great the Horsemen gelled together then said Dusty was a great worker and talker as he said if you could sell, then fans would buy into your comebacks and go crazy. When asked about which incarnation of the Horsemen was the best, Ricky said the original one is always the best.
They are asked about Wahoo McDaniel. Ricky talks about how hard he chopped people and how today, they chop people hard to pop the crowd as he said he never thought to do that once in his life, adding only a few guys even chopped back then. He then talks about how chops were Wahoo’s and Flair’s gimmicks but today, every show they set the record for amount of chops used in a match.
Now, they are asked about the Rock N Roll Express “Look-a-Like” and “Win a Dream Date” contest. Robert talks about how the Look-a-Like contest winners and them went to an amusement park as part of the prize but when they arrived it caused so much chaos they had to leave. Luckily, security let them go in when the park was closed and go on all the rides. Ricky said the kids who won now have kids of their own and they saw each other recently as Ricky has the picture of the winners hanging up in his wrestling school. On the “Dream Date,” Ricky said most of the winners were underage and supervised, with Bill Apter even being there as Sean jokes about how there is no quicker way to kill an erection than Apter. Ricky said they took the jet to their hometowns and went to see “Cats” on Broadway and said it was a nice time for all. Sean then asks them about the types of fan mail they got from the ladies as Ricky said Jackie Crockett Jr. mostly handled it and would always show them the photos, likely keeping everything.
Sean asks them about their biggest “ring rat” story. Robert talks about when they wrestled in Greensboro, NC the girls would all line up in the cars, sometimes 50 deep, to follow them all out of the arena. One time, there was one girl flying right behind them so in an attempt to lose her, Ricky faked like he was getting off to go to the rest area but jerked the wheel back at the last second and continued on the highway. The girl had to commit to getting off but ended coming out of the rest area going about 90 mph, nearly causing an accident. Robert also talks about how at times, they had to have cop cars outside of their homes as Ricky tells a story of a large woman knocking on the door, claiming to his wife that she had been seeing him. When his wife asked him, Ricky said that he told his wife “If you were me, would you fuck her?” Ricky then said his wife beat the shit out of the girl and went back to bed and they never spoke about it again.
Ricky talks about the “Great American Bash” tours, featuring country music acts, as he believes it was Crockett’s attempt to compete with Vince.
They are asked about tag team psychology. Ricky said that tag team wrestling is not dead its just that very few people still know how to do it right. Sean asks about how Ricky always made sure to show his face to the crowd while selling and how to make sure to do a proper hot-tag, with both heels near each other to feed the offense. When asked, they said you have to feel out the crowd when to know what time to start the comeback.
Dusty Rhodes beat Flair for the belt. Ricky talks about how that sells no tickets as there was no one for him to defend against as him chasing is how to get money.
Buddy Landel made a brief return. When asked, Ricky said Buddy was his own worst enemy and a lot better worker than he credits for and was great on interviews. Ricky said that Buddy just didnt give a shit. Robert even hints that they brought in Bill Dundee to keep him straight
They are asked about the process to crowning the “Miss Rock N Roll Express” as it was apparently a legitimate contest. Sean then asks if they ever had anyone pick out women from the crowd for them as Ricky said he just went out and pointed at them himself, joking that Gene Simmons doesnt have shit on him in that department. He cant even count how many he women he had during his career and recalls one story of having a few drinks with a girl at the bar and when he asked for her name, she replied “you won’t remember” as Ricky asked “Did I fuck you before?” Ricky then talks about girls coming up to him many years later reminding him of their past experiences.
After regaining the Titles against the Midnight Express in Phliadelphia, they both talked about having to work really hard to turn the crowd because they liked to root for the heels.
Ricky is asked about the Bennigan’s in Charlotte, NC. He tells a story of how he was with Wahoo, who really wanted the nachos. So, they drove 90 mph to get there and the place was packed. They found a spot near the Pac-Man machine and the waitress put the nachos on top. Some girl came over and moved the nachos to the side and put in a quarter to play the game but Wahoo moved them back onto the machine. This went back and forth for a bit until Wahoo told her she could have them if she wanted it that much as he proceeds to dump them all over the face and clothes. Ricky said the cook in the back came running out and whacked Wahoo with a broom handle off the back of the head. Wahoo turned around and was pissed as he chased the guy to the kitchen and almost drowned him in the sink. A ton of cops ended up coming as Wahoo ended up getting arrested.
They are asked about Magnum TA’s career ending injury due to the car accident. Robert said they were sending him money weekly as Ricky elaborate to say all of the boys took a certain amount of their pay to send to Magnum until he got better.
On the angle in which the Horsemen attacked Dusty Rhodes in the parking lot, Ricky talks about this was another example of Dusty trying to hard to put himself over. He then talks about how Ricky Steamboat eventually left the territory when he did in 1985 because he did not get along with Dusty.
Crockett bought out the Central States Territory. When asked if it was a good investment, Ricky said it was like investing your money in “Preparation H” because it was a giant hemmorhoid. He also said it was a waste of money because it never drew anything and it was basically a place where careers went to die.
When asked about their Starrcade paycheck, they tell a story of how they were the main event in Greensboro once but referee Tommy Young got paid more than him.
They are asked about the Rock N Roll Express Fan Club and how they sung the “Boogie Woogie Dance Hall,” with Ricky believing that was all just a rib created by Dusty but did note that Crockett was sending the $19.95 membership costs back to fans because they were so backed up on the merchandise that came with the membership.
On looking back at the year, Ricky says they were rockstars without knowing it as at that time, the Carolinas did not have a professional football team and everyone knew who they were.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I thought this was another stellar edition of the Timeline Series. As expected, Ricky did a majority of the talking but he brought a lot of insight and some humor here as well. Plus, he had great chemistry with the host. I felt that sometimes, Sean loses interest halfway through the non-WWE Timelines but he was engaged the whole way through, easily proving to be the best shoot interview host today.
I also came away liking both Robert and Ricky, who both came off likeable here. Sure, they admit to the crazy shit they did in the 80’s but seem to be regretful of most of that today.
I recommend this interview to everyone as I feel both fans of this era and those wanting to learn about this time will enjoy it all the way through.