He's still one of the toughest.
This week on Between the Ropes, Fritz, Dickerman, and Vito DeNucci were joined by the eight time NWA World Champion and wrestling legend, Harley Race to talk about the recent release of his autobiography ‘King of the Ring’, his WLW promotion, and other issues.
Harley was asked about what it was like to write the book and remembering things about his career. He said that every time someone talks to him about his career, it makes him remember new things about his career. Harley said that his only complaint was that he didn’t think it was long enough. The comments from other wrestlers who had so much respect for Harley were what could be remembered. The comments were what it was all about. He said that there were so many talented people during his career, and with all of the respect that people had for him, it made him teary eyed.
Harley said that he talked to Terry Funk and Ric Flair recently. Harley said that it was unbelievable to hear what Ric Flair said about him at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Harley was asked about what it was like to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and he says that there is nothing like that feeling. Harley was asked if he read Flair’s book, and he is about 2/3 of the way through the book. Harley said that Terry Funk talked to him to thank him for what he said about Funk in his book.
Harley said that he has had many amazing times in his life, and most of them were related to wrestling. He started wrestling when he was 15, and is now running World League Wrestling in Missouri, and he has a wrestling school. The hosts talked about how impressive it must be to be a wrestler who can say that they were trained by Harley Race. He has had only one job since he was 15 years old.
Harley was asked about the perception that a lot of the wrestlers coming to train with him probably learned about him through his work with Ric Flair. Harley mentioned that he has the Ric Flair DVD and VHS tape, but he has not opened it. The hosts mentioned that Flair said that his feud with Harley Race was the biggest one in his career.
Talk moved on to his relationship with Ric Flair. Harley said the first time he met Flair was with Ray Stevens in Grand Island, Nebraska. They drove to Denver and were having a few drinks while on the road. Harley said that he knew that Flair would be magic in the business. Harley was asked about the time that he traveled to Japan with Flair to make sure nothing happened to Flair with the title. Harley mentioned that he had a reputation in Japan, and he saw nothing strange happen, but he did get pelted with hard boiled eggs. Harley said that everywhere he worked with Flair was fun.
Harley was asked about his appearance on Raw with Randy Orton, and he was asked about the current WWE product. Harley says that there are a lot of talented guys out there, as well as the flip-floppers who will not last that long. Harley mentions that he has worked with the entire Orton family, and if he could work any faster, he would have given Randy a receipt for the spit. Harley says that he tells his students to learn things from the mat up, and if you move that way, you will last long. Harley hopes that some of his students will make it in the WWE. Harley says that there are some wrestlers that he sees who cannot tell the difference between a wrist lock and a wrist watch.
Harley was asked about whether he thinks the titles have been devalued. Harley does not feel that there is a world champion. Harley says that he wrestled in 26 different organizations in the U.S. He also wrestled in Japan and the Pacific Rim. He wrestled in Mexico and Europe as well. Harley was asked what it was like to be the NWA World Champion. He says that it was amazing to travel all over the world, and did not have to pay for a plane ticket. He was able to see so many things that people have never been able to see. It was a unique time for him to be able to do it.
Harley was asked about moving from the NWA where he was the most respected wrestler in the world to the WWF, which was more of a circus atmosphere. Harley says that he did not change his style of wrestling. He says that they could call him whatever they wanted. He says that the use of ‘King’ was the closest thing to being given the credit for the number of title reigns. He talks about how he wrestled six matches in Boston, including Pedro Morales. He was being put over as much in the northeast as he was in the rest of the country with the ‘King’ title. He was being built up to wrestle Hogan, and he wrestled him ten times.
Harley was asked about his time in WCW, managing Vader and his work with Mick Foley. Harley says that he did not want to give up wrestling, and since he was involved in it so long, walking out there with Vader was like walking out there with a half trained gorilla. Harley talked about Lex Luger and said that he was one of the most physically talented people, but he was dumb as a box of rocks when it came to wrestling and putting things together in the ring. Harley says that he got out because it became demeaning, and he wanted to be remembered coming out as the champion.
Harley talked about his work with TNA and their pay per view on January 16th, and how he has been involved with the company on and off. He says that it is strange to see a six sided ring, and he asked what do you do with that thing. Harley mentions that he might be in Orlando for TNA soon.
The hosts talked about a match where Harley Race filled in to face Ric Flair in 1993, and he thought it was special to get back in the ring in Florida. He helped book the Florida territory in the 1970s with Eddie Graham. Harley mentioned that the fans were asked who they wanted to see, and his name was mentioned last. He said that at that time, he knew that he couldn’t wrestle 60 minutes, but he could wrestle 30 minutes.
The interview ended with talk about Harley Race’s chili. He says that it is as hot as hell. Harley was asked about a story when he chased Owen Hart for putting pepper in his chili. Harley mentioned that the next night he put a 250,000 volt stun gun on Owen in a shower to get back for what he did to his chili.
Between the Ropes airs every Wednesday from 10:00 p.m. until Midnight on 740 The Team in Orlando, Florida with Brian Fritz, Dickerman, and Vito DeNucci. Check out www.betweentheropes.com to listen to the live stream of the show every week. Archives of past interviews with Paul Heyman, Mick Foley, Ric Flair, A.J. Styles, Bobby Heenan, Steve Corino, Elix Skipper, and many more people in the world of professional wrestling can also be found on www.betweentheropes.com.