The Rock 'n' Roll Rebels

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Rock 'n Roll Rebels
Tag team
MembersGreg Evans
Richard Sartain
Name(s)The Rock 'n Roll Rebels
The Ding Dongs
Billed fromBelleville, USA
DisbandedAugust 26, 1989
Years active1987 - 1989

The Rock 'n' Roll Rebels were a professional wrestling tag team consisting of Greg Evans and Richard Sartain. The duo began teaming in 1987, and after jumping to World Championship Wrestling in 1989 were recast as The Ding Dongs. Under this guise they would become far better known and achieve lasting notoriety, and are considered as having one of the worst wrestling gimmicks in history.[1][2]


Deep South Championship Wrestling (1987-1988)[edit]

After working as an enhancement talent for the World Wrestling Federation, Greg Evans joined Jody Hamilton's Deep South Wrestling (DSW) promotion.[3] It was there that he first teamed with Richard Sartain, forming the young duo of "The Rock 'n Roll Rebels". The name was derivative of several other "Rock n Roll" themed teams of the time, such as The Rock 'n Roll Express, The Midnight Rockers, The Southern Rockers, and The Rock 'n' Roll RPMs. On May 1, 1987 they would face Bad Company (The Nightmare and Steve "The Brawler" Lawler) at Ware County Junior High in Waycross, Georgia.[4] Evans and Surtain would go on to face multiple teams within the promotion over the next two years, and were described by Greg Oliver in the 2005 book "The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag-Teams" as having "clicked very well. They could have been in any territory."[5] Deep South Championship wrestling would close in October 1988,[6] leaving the Rebels in search for a new promotion.

World Championship Wrestling (1989)[edit]

"You know, it's funny. That was Jim Herd's idea. To show you how much this guy was in touch with the wrestling business, his idea was "Let's have a tag team with bells on their neck, bells on their ankle, and bells everywhere. And we'll have them come out with a big bell, and whenever one of them's getting beat up, the other will ring the bell and he'll get fired up. The kids will love it." Of course, when the Ding Dongs came out, this is how the kids felt about them [flips the bird]."

Jim Cornette during a Q&A session at the 1998 Eddie Gilbert Tribute Dinner[7]

In early 1989, new WCW Executive Vice President Jim Herd launched a creative initiative to compete with the more child friendly World Wrestling Federation. Perhaps inspired by the success that the formerly vicious Sheepherders had experienced in the WWF a few months earlier when they became the fun-loving Bushwhackers, Herd decided to create his own colorful team that would be geared towards children. To that effort he brought The Rock 'n Roll Rebels to World Championship Wrestling. However Sartain and Evans would not be recognizable, but would be clad in orange morph suits and covered with tiny bells.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14]

Re-designated The Ding Dongs, Evans and Sartain made their debut on June 14, 1989 at the Clash of the Champions VII televised card which was held in Fort Bragg, NC.[15][16] Although Herd was expecting a strong reaction for the duo, the fan response that night was not as planned as the crowd turned virulently against them. While each took turns ringing a giant bell at ringside while the other wrestled, the crowd booed and announcer Jim Ross was noticeably embarrassed. The Ding Dongs defeated the enhancement team of Cougar Jay and George South, leaving the ring scattered with small bells and Jim Ross relieved that the match was over.[10][17][18]

Taken aback by the harsh reaction, the team's push was immediately cancelled by Jim Herd and booker Ric Flair. The gimmick had only served to alienate the company's blue collar fanbase.[19] They immediately began a losing streak in house show matches with The New Zealand Militia (Rip Morgan and Jack Victory).[20] Per an article in the New York Times, the team was rejected by the company's older fanbase.[21] By the end of August the end had come for the tandem, for on the August 26th episode of WCW Worldwide they were squashed in 47 seconds by The Skyscrapers.[15] Following the match Evans and Sartain were unmasked, and Norman the Lunatic (who was at ringside) put on one of the discarded masks.[22][23] Both wrestlers would continue on briefly under their own names but would depart the promotion that fall.


Although their prime run in WCW was short-lived, the Rock n Roll Rebels achieved lasting fame as participating in one of the worst gimmicks in wrestling history. In 1989, the Pro Wrestling Observer awarded them the title of "Worst Gimmick".[24] The Ding Dongs are now consistently ranked among the most worst gimmicks of all time.[2][25][26][27] Bill Apter's, however, has defended The Ding Dongs pointing out the team's appeal to younger wrestling fans.[28][29] In 2011, The Bleacher Report ranked The Ding Dongs as the most horrible gimmick of all time.[30] A year later Bleacher Report again listed The Ding Dongs number one, this time with the stupidest name in wrestling history.[31] In 2016, The Sportster rated them the second worst tag-team of all-time.[1]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  • Oliver, Greg and Steve Johnson (2005). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams. ECW Press. p. 263. ISBN 978-1-55022-683-6.
  • Baer, Randy and Reynolds, R (2010). Wrestlecrap: The Very Worst of Professional Wrestling. ECW Press. p. 107. ISBN 978-1550225846.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Reynolds, RD (2010). The Wrestlecrap Book of Lists. ECW Press. pp. 352–353. ISBN 978-1554902873.
  • Pope, Kristian and Whebbe, Ray (2003). The Encyclopedia of Professional Wrestling: 100 Years of History, Headlines & Hitmakers. Krause Publications. p. 93. ISBN 978-0873496254.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Solomon, Brian (2015). Pro Wrestling FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the World's Most Entertaining Spectacle. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1617136276.
  • Funk, Terry and Williams, Scott E. (2013). Terry Funk: More Than Just Hardcore. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-1613213087.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  • Hamilton, Joe and Teal, Scott (2006). ASSASSIN: The Man Behind the Mask. Crowbar Press. p. 229. ISBN 0-9745545-3-7.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  1. ^ a b Siemon, Dean (June 20, 2016). "The 10 Best and 10 Worst Tag Teams of All Time". Archived from the original on September 30, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Marsden, Matt (November 18, 2015). "Top 25 Worst Gimmicks In WCW History". Archived from the original on January 25, 2016.
  3. ^ "Ding Dongs Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2016-12-31.
  4. ^ "Pro Wrestling Due At Gator Den Friday". Waycross Journal-Herald. Waycross, Georgia. April 28, 1987.
  5. ^ Greg Oliver and Steve Johnson (2005). The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-55022-683-6.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ Tanabe, Hisaharu. "DSW Heavyweight Title (Georgia)". Puroresu Dojo. Archived from the original on 2009-03-17.
  7. ^ "My Breakfast With Bockwinkel". DDT Digest. February 1998. Archived from the original on 2010-06-27.
  8. ^ RD Reynolds and Randy Baer (2010). Wrestlecrap – the very worst of pro wrestling. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1550225846.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ Terry Funk and Scott E. Williams (2013). Terry Funk: More Than Just Hardcore. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-1613213087.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  10. ^ a b Keith, Scott (2003). "KM Tape Reviews: Clash of the Champions 7". Archived from the original on 2017-01-01.
  11. ^ Stuart Carapola (2017). The Worst Of WCW Volume 1: Where The Big Boys Play.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  12. ^ Graham Cawthon (2014). The History of Professional Wrestling: World Championship Wrestling 1989-1994 (Volume 4). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 978-1499656343.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Joe Laurinaitis, Andrew William Wright (2011). The Road Warriors: Danger, Death and the Rush of Wrestling: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling. Medallion Media Group. ISBN 1605421642.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  14. ^ Joe Laurinaitis, Andrew William Wright (2016). Shocking Wrestling Plans You Won't Believe Almost Happened. LULU Press. ISBN 1326601199.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  15. ^ a b Cawthon, Graham. "WCW 1989". Archived from the original on 2009-07-05.
  16. ^ Molinaro, John F. (April 5, 2001). "End of an era on TBS: Fond memories of the SuperStation". Canadian Online Explorer. SLAM! Wrestling. Archived from the original on July 24, 2017.
  17. ^ "Fact-Breaker: More Useless Wrestling Info". Ring the Damn Bell. November 18, 2004. Archived from the original on December 15, 2015.
  18. ^ "Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Clash of Champions VII". December 20, 2016. Archived from the original on September 6, 2017.
  19. ^ Kreit, Alex (1998). Professional Wrestling and its Fans: A Sociological Study of the Sport of Pro-Wrestling (Ph.D.). Amherst College. Archived from the original on 2017-07-02.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-09. Retrieved 2017-09-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Kleinfield, N. R. (November 26, 1989). "THIS IS NOT REAL". New York Times. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017.
  22. ^ Izzo, Louis (June 2, 2007). "The Island of Misfit Shows: The YouTube Collection Vol. 1". Archived from the original on September 9, 2017.
  23. ^ "Blow Off: The Ending To Certain Wrestlers Characters". Ring the Damn Bell. August 17, 2015. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017.
  24. ^ a b Meltzer, Dave (January 25, 2016). "January 25, 2016 Wrestling Observer Newsletter: 2015 Observer Awards Issue". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Campbell, California: 1–49. ISSN 1083-9593.
  25. ^ Auzenne, Ian (January 26, 2013). "Top 10 Worst Wrestling Gimmicks of All Time". KMDL. Archived from the original on October 25, 2015.
  26. ^ Giardini, Alex (June 15, 2015). "Top 15 Terrible Wrestling Gimmicks You Probably Don't Remember". Archived from the original on January 18, 2016.
  27. ^ Oliver, Sean (Host) (2014). Wrestling's Most...Crappy Gimmick (DVD). United States: Kayfabe Commentaries. Archived from the original on 2017-07-01.
  28. ^ Apter, Bill, ed. (April 1, 2010). "Ringside Remembrances – April's Fools: The Silliest Characters in Wrestling". Archived from the original on November 12, 2014.
  29. ^ Apter, Bill, ed. (January 9, 2011). "Ringside Remembrances – Make 'Em Laugh". Archived from the original on February 16, 2011.
  30. ^ Nolan, George (August 4, 2011). "50 Suck-Tacular Gimmicks in the History of Professional Wrestling". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on November 20, 2012.
  31. ^ Dilbert, Ryan (July 27, 2012). "Pro Wrestling's 50 Worst/Stupidest Ring Names of All Time". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on September 30, 2016.
  32. ^ Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). "Georgia: Deep South Tag Team Title". Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. p. 147. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  33. ^ Westcott, Brian. "List of Pro Wrestlers that are Retired, Missing, or Independent". Westcott's Wrestling Archives. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]