I’m still laughing at the hilarious treat WWE gave old school rasslin’ fans Monday night, in Greensboro, NC. In the 1980s, Greensboro was the center of the southern professional wrestling universe. The Ric Flair-anchored Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) was based in Charlotte, but it was the Greensboro Coliseum that hosted that company’s grandest event, Starrcade, every Thanksgiving night from 1983 to ’86. The brainchild of JCP head of creative Dusty Rhodes, Starrcade predated WrestleMania by two years (Vince McMahon’s answer to Starrcade, in many respects), and WWE would even introduce Survivor Series in 1987 to compete with Starrcade on Thanksgiving.
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Just a short history reminder that Greensboro was a pretty big deal for the pro wrestling world three decades ago.
Which is something WWE had some fun with during Raw Monday live from Greensboro, when we were introduced to local country singer “Ricky Roberts.”
From right here in Greensboro, it's Ricky Roberts…and he's a HUGE @IAmEliasWWE fan! #RAW pic.twitter.com/TFoZw5axDD
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) August 14, 2018
Roberts declared himself a big fan of fellow musical artist Elias, and said he would fight Bobby Lashley for him as a tribute and it didn’t go so well for Roberts.
But the best part was that the “Ricky Roberts” name was unquestionably a reference to WWE Hall of Fame tag team the Rock n’ Roll Express – Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson – who literally RULED Greensboro and the entire Southeast in the 80s. The pops they got were so loud that I’m pretty sure the screams of teenage girls still reverberate throughout the Carolinas.
When WWE announcer Corey Graves said “Ricky Roberts sounds like he was conceived at one is the armories around here in the 80’s,” and I almost spit out my drink I laughed so hard.
This was a reference to Rock n’ Roll Express top heartthrob Ricky Morton being very popular with his female fan base at the peak of his career.
More than a few fans picked up on the WWE’s rib.
Wonder how many caught @WWEGraves Rock N Roll express innuendo tonight?
“Ricky Roberts sounds like he was concieved at one is the armories around here in the 80’s”😂😂😂😂😂
— Matt Powell (@MattPowell606) August 14, 2018
#RawCast Ricky Roberts… Good shout out to the Rock n Roll Express in Greensboro
— The Wrasslecast 🤼🏾🤼 🎙Color Commentary w/Color (@WrassleCast) August 14, 2018
“Ricky Roberts” was played by talented independent wrestler John Skyler who had fun with his appearance on social media as well.
Who Is Ricky Roberts?
Skyler has made appearances with WWE in the past. He most notably squared off against No Way Jose in his main roster debut in April. Skyler has also appeared in NXT, Ring of Honor and many independent promotions throughout the Southeast and beyond.
Charleston, South Carolina-based pro wrestling columnist Mike Mooneyham (who pens the longest-running wrestling column in the United States for Charleston’s Post & Courier, and who, in full disclosure, is a personal friend) has long sung the praises of Skyler.
John Skyler was country when country wasn't cool! #Raw pic.twitter.com/FhuYwkPJVK
— Mike Mooneyham (@ByMikeMooneyham) August 14, 2018
In May, Mooneyham drew parallels to a feud Skyler was involved with on the indies to the famous Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA “I Quit” match at Starrcade ’85 in Greensboro.
Whether Skyler or “Ricky Roberts” pops back up in WWE again is anyone’s guess (though more than a few are in favor of it!).
But paying comedic and not-so-subtle tribute to the Rock n’ Roll Express made an already top-notch RAW an instant-classic.
Ricky Roberts 4 Life. Rock n’ Roll Never Dies.
Categorized: Ringside Intel Sports Wrestling