Pro Wrestling Impact

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Harley Race Interview


The first question to ask is how did you become involved in the wrestling industry?

I saw it for the first time on KQ2 television in St. Joe, MO and said to myself, "That's what I'm going to do!!"

Your wrestling career spanned close to four decades. During that time you won an amazing eight NWA World Championships, the first of those being back in 1973 when you defeated Dory Funk Jnr in a match you consider to be your best. Looking back, what memories do you still have of that match?

The disbelief on the faces of the people. Even on my son's face!. The roar from the fans when I went over as well.

As well as your feud with the Funks, you had great rivalries and battles with names such as Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Bruiser Brody and more. Did you find that all the great names were as easy to work with as each other?

Pretty much. I have had great matches with them all.

The NWA torch was passed from yourself to Flair after your historic battle at the first ever Starrcade event. What are your memories of the build-up to that event?

Coming to the end of your career isn't fun, but I think of all the fun that Ric and I had over the years. I had a great life!

Did you feel the timing was right to let Flair take over?


A couple of years after that, you signed with Vince McMahon and joined the then WWF. How easy did you find it at first to settle into the WWF?

The only real difference was that I didn't have to go on for an hour every night! It was fun.

You were aligned with long time friend Bobby Heenan. Although you and Heenan got along, did you feel that you could have got over with the crowd without a manager?

I had been over with the fans for more than thirty years, but to be with Heenan again was fun. We'd been together back in the 1960's as well.

Given your huge success prior to signing with WWF, were you disappointed with the way you were booked?

No, not at all. I went to the WWF to get young guys over, and in hopes to teach there as well.

Was there ever talk of a program up against Hulk Hogan?

I had a short run with Hogan while was there, but in general Hogan wanted to stay away from me.

Injuries hampered your WWF run and you left the company, only to return to TV a few years later with WCW, this time as a manager. You were in the corner of both Lex Luger and Vader as they went on to hold titles. At that time, did you see any notable differences between the way WCW and the WWF conducted their business, or were you just happy to be involved again?

In the WWF, the business was ran by somebody who knew the wrestling business. WCW wasn't.

Injuries once again forced you to leave a company, and after a few more years you set up World League Wrestling. What spurred you to setting up your own promotion?

The wrestling world needed some new talent, and I needed something new to do!

How has WLW progressed since you set it up back in 1999?

I think we have come a long way in the five years we've been in business.

WWE are putting their trust in Batista, John Cena and Randy Orton to take the company forward. Given that the company has suffered at it's inability to create a mainstream star to follow the likes of The Rock and Steve Austin, do you feel these individuals can create the same buzz that they did in the late 1990's?

The WWE will do great if they move back to wrestling...and that is spelled with a capital 'W'!

How did it feel to be involved with WWE again when you were asked to play a part in putting Orton over as the "Legend Killer"?

It was good. In my career I've wrestled Randy's Grandfather and Randy's Father. The whole Orton family is great.

Are there any stand out talents who you work with at WLW who you feel can go on to WWE success?

Yes, definately. One of my guys, Trevor (Rhodes), has just signed a three year deal with WWE.

Finally, what are the future plans, both short-term and long-term for yourself and WLW?

Just keep on keeping on!

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