Rock N’ Roll Will Never Die: Ricky Morton Jumps Headfirst into US Indies

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On Monday night, Ricky Morton was announced for two separate huge indie events in the US independent circuit, as the legend of the Rock N’ Roll Express continued to surge to arguably their most popular time period in decades. The 8x National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Tag Team Champions have seen a career resurgence in the past few years, ever since they made a cameo in Matt Hardy’s Tag Team Apocalypto on IMPACT Wrestling. While the duo had still been active for decades but their matches were usually only a handful of matches a year. While regarded as legends of tag team wrestling, they were well past their hey-day from the 1980s.

But since their cameo in the Broken Universe, the Rock N’ Roll Express has found themselves not just appearing for the likes of All Elite Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), NWA, and Ring of Honor, they’ve also become indie darlings, appearing for the likes of Game Changer Wrestling (GCW), Beyond Wrestling, Glory Pro, MCW Pro, and many more. The same team that battled the likes of The Midnight Express, Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard, The Rockers, and The Russians in the 1980s, were now facing the likes of Santana & Ortiz, The Briscoes, SCU (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian), The Besties in the World, and The Butcher & Blade, and competing in tag matches with Hiroshi Tanahashi. Their return to pro wrestling continued when Ricky Morton was announced for two huge events in the US indie circuit on Monday night.

The first announcement revealed that Ricky Morton would be returning to GCW for the upcoming weekend’s GCW Fight Forever, a 24-hour live wrestling event streaming free on GCW’s official YouTube page from 8 PM on Friday night to 8 PM on Saturday night, as part of 44.OH‘s 4-5 PM block on Saturday, What We Want. Ricky Morton will be teaming up with his son, US indie wrestler Kerry Morton, facing off against the 44.OH duo of Atticus Cogar and reigning GCW World Champion Rickey Shane Page. Ricky Morton is no stranger to GCW by this point – The Rock N’ Roll Express debuted at Joey Janela’s Spring Break 3 during WrestleMania Week in 2019, facing Santana & Ortiz, and last October, Morton returned in singles action, where he defeated AEW’s Joey Janela at Joey Janela’s Spring Break 4 at The Collective. Teaming with his son, a rising star in the US indies, he’ll be facing the top guy in Game Changer Wrestling at a historic event for the US independents.

At almost the same time as the GCW announcement, East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA), announced that Ricky Morton was the first entrant in the 2021 Super 8 Tournament, celebrating the tournament’s 25th anniversary. While not as well known as other top US indies like PWG, Beyond, PWX, EVOLVE or others, the East Coast Wrestling Association (ECWA) is a highly respected indie promotion, one that is arguably one of the oldest indie promotions in the country. The Delaware promotion was founded in 1967 by wrestler Jim Kettner, who ran the promotion until retiring in 2010.

Since then, it’s been run by indie wrestler Mike Tartaglia. Tartaglia was a former owner of Tri-State Wrestling Alliance (TWA), but in 2011, TWA shut down and he switched all focus on ECWA. In the 1990s and early 2000s, they became a breeding ground of top tier indie superstars who all went on to great careers, such as Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), Billy Kidman, Low Ki, Austin Aries and WWE’s Hardy Boyz – all were ECWA regulars in their earliest days. WWE’s Christian, ROH/Impact’s Christopher DanielsAmazing Red and ECW’s Simon Diamond all held the ECW Heavyweight Championship early in their careers, and Charlie Haas is a former ECWA Tag Team Champion, alongside his brother Russ. Tessa Blanchard, Deonna Purrazzo, Karen Q and Renee Michelle are all former ECWA Women’s Champions.

They were one of the home promotions for three hugely influential late 90’s indie wrestlers, Ace Darling, Reckless Youth and Trent Acid. ECWA’s style of wrestling was an influence on Ring of Honor‘s formation in 2002, and many of ECWA’s regulars would migrate to ROH. In 1997, they initiated the ECWA Super 8 Tournament, with Ace Darling winning the inaugural event. Since then, the winners have featured the likes of Simon Diamond (’98), Christopher Daniels (’00, ’04), Low Ki (’01), Paul London (’03), Petey Williams (’05), Davey Richards (’06), Jerry Lynn (’07), Xavier Woods (’10), Tomasso Ciampa (’11), Matt Cross/Son of Havoc (’14) and Jason Kincaid (’15), and A Very Good Professional Wrestler (’20).

Considering that Rock N’ Roll Express has recently been seen on episodes of NWA Powerrras well as special events in the past two years for Ring of Honor (ROH Honor For All in 2019), appearances for multiple NJPW shows in the US in 2019 and 2020, and sporadic appearances on AEW television, it’s equally fantastic to see them get their flowers in an indie scene that easily takes more from the Rock N’ Roll Express’ style these days than The Road Warriors.

GCW Fight Forever is streaming live FOR FREE on Fite TV and GCW’s YouTube Channel.  If you would like to support the competitors involved in the event please donate on Indiegogo. ECWA Super 8 will be streamed on IndependentWrestling.tv.

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.  GCW Fight Forever will stream live and FOR FREE on GCW’s YouTube channel

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