Harley Race talks incident at first Starrcade, confronting Hogan, Owen Hart’s death, more
May 15, 2014 - by Steve Gerweck
Harley Race talks incident at first Starrcade, confronting Hogan, Owen Hart’s death, the creation of the King gimmick and more
Former eight time World Champion and WWE Hall of Famer, Harley Race recently sat down with Steve and the Scum on WGD Weekly, discussing all points of his legendary career in a great 45 minute interview. Harley touched on his first interest in wrestling as a child and all stops throughout his time in the business, right up to the present. The entire interview can be heard here: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVrDmvLhpjY
Highlights from this interview include Race talking about:
The incident at Starrcade ’83, where it was in question as to whether he would show up for his match with Ric Flair: “…The thing on me not being there, it was all just a big rib to start with. I just wanted everyone there to think that I wasn’t going to be there, because at that point in time, there was a board of directors, and the board had thought it was time to make a rotation with the title, and I just wanted everyone there to believe that maybe I wasn’t going to be there…truthfully, I don’t know if I told Ric or not, you can ask him. I’m sure have at some point in time, I couldn’t let that little lie rest still after all these years…”
Confronting Hulk Hogan backstage at an event as the WWF made the move “across territory lines” in the mid 1980’s: “…In confronting the Hulkster, he was the type of guy, that he was being paid to do what he did, and that is how he looked at it. He didn’t look at it as though he was running roughshod over everyone else out there. I confronted him about all that garbage. There was no push come to shove or anything. We never got into anything that far into it. Talent wise, he was as good as there was out there in that era…I was a wrestling style champion, and the Hulkster was a talking style. That was the two sides of it…”
Going to work for Vince McMahon and the WWF and how the “King” gimmick came about: “…When it first came up, I thought the easiest way out of this was just for me to come up with an idea that was so far out in one direction or the other that Vince and his group wouldn’t go along with it. So, I said, I want to be the King, I want to come in and win a big tournament, and I want the crown, and then that’s how it turned, with that, how could you not go on with it…”
His thoughts on the unfortunate events leading to Owen Hart’s passing, and a conversation he had with him while he was working backstage at that event: “…Who the god knew it would be my last conversation with Owen. With him it was always about talking about his father and what they did up there in the Winnipeg area and me coming in and out of there. The Hart Family is as good of a family as there ever was on the face of the earth and they’ve got a lot of kids that were involved in the wrestling part of it. It is just a horrible, horrible thing when stuff like that happens…He didn’t mention (being uncomfortable), that was the amazing part of it. It could’ve been me, it could’ve been anyone else. No one knows when the man up above wants to call your name…”
The difficulty in leaving or the business, the ring as a wrestler that led to his becoming a manager in WCW: “…I had been as high or higher than almost anyone I think, even still today. It sounds like I’m blowing smoke, you know where, but I had done everything feasibly possible to do in wrestling and to be able to take another guy like Vader or Luger or whoever and be able to help move them up to that top position, it just continued the Harley race version of wrestling. It kept it alive, it kept me alive…”
In addition to talking in further detail about these items, Harley also told Steve and the Scum about, becoming a fan of pro wrestling at a young age, meeting and traveling with Happy Humphrey, the car accident that almost derailed his legendary career before it even started, teaming with Larry “The Axe” Hennig, battling in AWA against Dick the Bruiser, the Crusher, and Verne Gagne, his move to singles competition and winning his first NWA title, his many battles with Dory Funk, Jr and Terry Funk, his multiple NWA title reigns and the opponents throughout that run including Dusty Rhodes and Andre the Giant, a rib that he used to like to pull on his co -workers while driving in between towns, his great matches with Ric Flair, working in the WWF alongside Bobby “the Brain” Heenan, returning to WCW and being a manager for Vader, Lex Luger,and others, why he currently stays involved in training young talent, the WWE Hall of Fame and his induction, and a much more.
WGD Weekly with Steve and the Scum interviews a different legend from “Wrestling’s Glory Days” every week as a part of their show. You can find all of their previous shows and get updates and information on upcoming programming on their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WGDWeekly or on Twitter @WGDWeekly. All shows are available on their YouTube channel and on iTunes.