In life, success can be determined in two
ways, a long list of accolades that cement your reputation in history for everyone in the world to see, or a candid and modest
understanding of what you’ve done in life that makes everything you’ve accomplished feel even more genuine and
Harley Race has both.
For over 40 years, Race has been a fixture
in wrestling history, winning an unprecedented eight NWA world heavyweight titles during his 29 year wrestling career. After
Race retired as an active wrestler, he went on to manage both Lex Luger and Big Van Vader to WCW world heavyweight titles
and has been involved in the promoting aspect of the business since as early as 1972.
Simply put, Race is a legend in his own
time. His smash mouth, tough as nails style, has paved the way for hundreds of other wrestlers all over the world.
“If I could do it all over again,
I’d love to do it,” said Race, via telephone in Kansas City.
While many wrestling fans know of the tough
travel conditions that many wrestlers face, none know of the conditions in which Race defended the NWA world heavyweight title
under. Often wrestling five days a week, Race defended his title against anyone, anywhere, anytime.
“It was a nightmare sometimes,”
said Race. “Probably the most grueling trip I ever made in defending the title was when I defended it twice on a Friday
night. The first time in Tokyo, Japan
and the second in St .Louis on that same Friday night because we gained a day coming back from Tokyo.
I flew right out of St. Louis the following morning and wrestled Carlos Colon
in Puerto Rico on that Saturday.”
Aside from being nationally known throughout
his wrestling career, Race is also known throughout Japan
as well, making a mark in the industry as a hard-nosed competitor that could compete in the ring with any wrestler in the
“I went to Japan
for the first time in 1969 and I’ve been there 71 times since. I just happened to come there at the perfect point in
time. Before that, there was mostly mat wrestling done there and I was the person to take the action off the ground in Japan
and started doing a lot of the things you see on TV today. It was electrifying to those people, because they had never seen
anything like that before.”
Race, who compares his in-ring style to
the likes of modern day WWE superstars Kurt Angle and Triple H, gets a kick out of seeing younger wrestlers perform the moves
he made famous. . He (Triple H) uses a lot of my stuff,” said Race. “Anytime you’re copied or mimicked in
any way, shape or form, by a guy with credentials like his, how could you not like that?”
While staking his name in the wrestling
business throughout the late 60’s and early 70’s, Race began getting involved in the promoting aspect of the industry,
something that he still does today as the founder of World League Wrestling, where he books live events in Missouri, Iowa,
Kansas and Illinois. WLW even has a working contract with the popular Japanese wrestling promotion, NOAH and has many house
shows scheduled in the near future all over the country, including March 25 in New York City.( Go to HarleyRace.com for more
In addition to promoting, Race has also
been training wrestlers to a degree of success. Former WWE tag team champion and current WWE superstar Trevor Murdock started
wrestling for Race’s WLW promotion in 1999. Race believes that Murdock’s signing with the WWE will also open the
door for some of his other talented wrestlers as well.
“I think the chances of somebody
going to the WWE are pretty good now that Trevor has broken the seal,” said Race.
However, despite all of Race’s success
in the wrestling industry, the reason behind the founding of WLW was more of a personal one, revealing just how true a man
Race really is.
“We started World League Wrestling
when my wife retired from banking. We decided that we needed something to do, so this is the only thing I’ve ever done,”
said Race. “She means everything in the world to me. The best thing that’s happened to me in my lifetime was meeting
This article can also be viewed on
Harley Race's official site Harleyrace.com at http://harleyrace.com/brooklyn.htm