Burned In My Brain Forever

One of the YouTube channels I follow recently posted an episode of NWA World Wide Wrestling from July 1985 that I remember like it was yesterday. Here I am 35 years later and I still recall many of the hot moments from this match that turned me on back then and are still burned in my brain. Damn, I’ve got it bad for pro rasslin!

In this match, the Rock ‘n Roll Express defeat the evil Russians for the Tag Team championship. One remarkable thing about this bout is that it filled the entire episode — a whole hour where they showed just this one match! That was very rare (and for me — as a huge fan of Tag Team bouts and long suffering scenes — it was a rare gem indeed.) I had this match saved on VHS tape for a long time after it was broadcast and it’s great to revisit it.

Another reason this match turned me on and remained in my spank bank for years was that Robert Gibson plays the Face In Peril for most of the match. You see, usually the pretty blond Ricky Morton would play the FIP for this team. In fact, being the “Ricky Morton” in a Tag Team match has come to mean that you are portraying the helpless chump needing to be rescued by a Hot Tag.

But I always preferred Robert over Ricky. In fact I hardly ever took my eyes off of Robert to gaze at Ricky instead. To me, Robert had the handsomer face. I also think Robert’s hairy chest made him seem, in my eyes, more manly, desirable, lustier. So I always longed to watch Robert suffer but they rarely provided me with that pleasure — until this match came along.

And the Russians unleash a prolonged assault on my poor Robert, not just briefly but for a whole 16 wonderful action-packed minutes! The punishment begins at 20:45 into the match when Robert misses a tackle and crashes his shoulder into the turnbuckle (see image #1, above). Then the Russians assault and abuse my hairy-chested hero all the way until 36:30 when he finally makes the Hot Tag.

All of the images in today’s gallery (except for the black-and-white beefcake photos, above) are taken from this prolonged 16-minute torture scene.

This match delivers exactly what I’ve always craved in a Rock ‘n Roll Express match. We would cut away for some commercials with Robert in some painful predicament, then come back and he’d STILL be on the receiving end of the abuse. My brain would then construct and fill in all the sadistic double-team moves that must’ve occurred during the break.

And Robert acts exhausted and helpless and submissive the entire time — just a play-thing for the sadistic Russians. They primarily focus on breaking his arm, but also stomp and kick him aplenty. Just look at that gorgeous selling of pain in the image below!

One aspect of this match that I somehow forgot over the past three decades was Magnum TA’s participation in the color commentary. In contrast to the hysterical and squeaky David Crockett, Magnum’s just purrs in a deep, sonorous drawl, his voice just as smooth and delicious as a sweet potato pie. Then he drops these really sexy, suggestive lines describing all the “punishment” and “pain” and “power“:

“The big Russian can do a lot of damage here.

Unbelievable that he sustained that punishment and was able to kick out on Three.

This is where the Russians are at their best. When they get their opponents wounded, when they get ’em hurt, they zero right in for the kill. The Rock ‘n Roll could be in a lot of trouble here.

Oh Magnum. Your colorful descriptions in that deep manly tone are gonna finish me off here without me even touching it.

Robert and Ivan engage in a nice sweaty hug at 22:06 that I’ve always remembered vividly, where Robert gently rests his head on the cruel Russian’s shoulder. Even 35 years ago when I was just a teen, I found this moment super gay and super arousing.

Another thing about this match that I’ve always remembered was their wet hair and sweaty bodies. They just glistened under those bright lights, which struck me as pretty darned erotic. Maybe the Rec Center in Shelby, NC had no air conditioning, or maybe they turned off the AC to make this epic bout seem even more dramatic and physically taxing.

Back in 1985 when I first enjoyed this match, it was hot in my house too, I’m sure. It was July and we didn’t have whole-house air conditioning yet. So I’m watching them sweat from all their exertions, then I’d start to sweat from my own exertions (if I was home alone) and it just made me feel more connected to the action in the ring.

When Krusher stands over Robert applying this Armbar (see animation above), I see drops of perspiration stream from his soaking wet face down onto Robert’s glistening body and that really put me over the edge. The mingling of their sweat just seemed erotic to me I guess and I always recall that moment when I think about this match.


The Russians inflict lots of brutal Double-Team moves. And Robert acts as if he’s hurt so bad, he can’t reach for Ricky’s hand even when he has a moment of freedom. This is all good Ring Psychology which drove me wild back in 1985 and still does in 2020.

As I watch the match today, the athlete whose talent really stands out is Ivan Koloff, the older Soviet with the goatee. His Snap-Mare and Elbow Smash (above) are picture perfect, and check out his dexterity as he clamps on a sweet Headscissor (below.)

I probably paid little attention to the Russians back in 1985, focusing instead on the cute young Rockers. But now that I’m 35 years older, I have greater appreciation for burlier, more mature dudes, especially ones who enjoy clasping you in their Bearhugs and Scissors.

On the WWE YouTube channel, they’ve posted high-def footage of the last 3 minutes of this historic match. This is why the image quality is brighter and sharper in these last several images.

Not long after this cruel slug to the gut, Robert finally makes the tag and I sort of lose interest. Typically I would rewind the tape at that point, back to when they first isolated poor Robert to watch him endure this beating all over again. Usually after two or three times, I’d be finished.

This was a great stroll down memory lane and it’s nice seeing this extended example of Southern Tag Team Torture Rasslin’ that was so popular and so exciting back in the 80s.

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5 Responses to Burned In My Brain Forever

  1. outfitter says:

    I always thought Ivan Koloff was one of the more underrated heels in wrestling. He was a tough guy to face in the ring because of his brute strength, but he was surprisingly versatile too, as you demonstrated in this piece. I always liked seeing him (and later, Nikita Koloff) in those form-fitting red singlets. When they stepped through the ropes decked out like that, they emoted fear and respect from the audience. Like you, I couldn’t get enough of their look and attitude, as well as the skill they displayed and the fantasies it induced!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I gotta say I never really got The Rock N Roll express. I know other gay guys liked them but for me the Russians were far sexier. Different strokes I guess. Match pics are GREAT!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I made the mistake of Googling Robert and Ricky and instead of pics from their younger days I was greeted by recent pictures… I cooled down real quick. I’m about the same age so the bloom is off my rose as well. Hell getting old! LOL

  4. RayAtL says:

    I always hoped Robert Gibson got ring time!
    His broad chest and that mat of hair was a critical part that made me the gay man I am today.
    And a suffering Gibson was even better!!!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Don’t know much about this match, was still a little young. In the spirit of that one match that is burned in your brain forever, mine was Benoit vs Malenko at Sturgis. Can’t remember the year, must’ve been ‘96 or ‘97. My first KNOWN crush was Benoit because of his biceps. Tough match that Benoit pretty much controlled. The two specific items I remember stirring the feelings were: 1.) The commentary mentioning how hot it was outside, and they weren’t in an air conditioned arena, which drew pouring sweat out of each man. And 2.) Benoit delivering a belly to back suplex off the top rope, and landing so hard that Benoit ‘hurt’ his own neck delivering that brutality, and he immediately grabbed the back of his head with his biceps popping out in full display. It killed me that Benoit would never flex in a match, then I found a still of him flexing his bicep later. Big parts of my discovery.