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Harley Race interview: talks Vader fights

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    Posted: 05/February/2007 at 09:29
By WorldWrestlingInsanity.com

This week’s edition of JG’s Radio Free Insanity is on the air and available for download right now at WorldWrestlingInsanity.com. This week’s guest is the legendary 8-Time NWA Champion Harley Race.

James Guttman starts the show by talking about Harley Race. He calls Race a true legend and says that no matter what time period you watched wrestling in, you knew Harley. He was the champion that Ric Flair beat for his first title run. He was the King of the WWF. He managed Vader and Lex Luger when they were World Champions. He did it all. Harley's full unedited interview is up at ClubWWI.com and lasted for 70 minutes. Guttman says that it's a rare chance to hear in-depth thoughts from someone who's done so much in the industry. It's one of the reasons he wanted to open the site. JG says that anyone who has ever wrestled has a philosophy on what works and what doesn't in the industry.

On that note, James speaks about the four new audio shows on ClubWWI.com. He says, "Four new shows. Four new hosts. Four names you already know." All four hosts have worked for WWE at one point. The first edition debuted this week. The host was former Raw Co-Host Kevin Kelly. Kevin's show, "The Big Picture" included talk about the new ECW, TNA's chances at being competition, CM Punk's career vs. Samoa Joe's, and more. JG says that the new host will debut in the next week and gives a hint. "This person is a former titleholder in WWE."

Guttman then looks at WrestleMania. He examines the possibilities for the three title matches and offers his thoughts on a Fatal-Four Way for Raw. James also looks at the ECW title picture and recommends they put a non-ECW star in the position. According to JG, there's one guy that would be perfect. He also talks about respect for the Undertaker and Michaels, The Great Khali, and much more. After that, he does the weekly reader-voted "Moment of Insanity" and then shoots us over to part two for the Harley Race interview.

Part two starts off with the opening bars of Kingly music for "The King of All Wrestling" Harley Race. James reminds listeners that in Race's era, guys were holding titles for five years at a clip. So it was a big deal to be an eight time champion, while younger fans might not realize. JG tells everyone that Harley's full ClubWWI.com interview lasted an hour and ten minutes and included talk about wrestling Dory Funk Jr. for his first title, the AWA, debuting as Jack Long, why he was "The King," what his matches against Hulk Hogan proved to WWF management and much more. Along with the Race uncut interview, you can get all 19 editions of Tom Prichard's audio archives, Kevin Kelly's new "Big Picture" audio, and three more major names to come.

With that, James cues up the interview.

James Guttman welcomes Harley Race to the show and asks him to fill in the listeners on the goings-on at World League Wrestling. Race says they run between 40-50 shows per year in a five state area. All the shows are to raise money for charity. They help the Little League, the United Way, and others.

JG asks about the training that Harley has done and how it must feel to train the next generation. Race says that it's great to see them get basic wrestling down before they end up on TV.

"If you got the basics, you got the foundation it takes to get tin that ring. You're extending the longevity of your career by decades."

Guttman says that they've brought a number of trainers on the show and how many bring up that young wrestlers sometimes don't realize what they're getting into when they come for training. He asks Race if he sees that. Harley responds that out of every ten guys that walk in, sometimes there's one, none, or a few. He says that once they start on basics, which involves endurance and stamina, they weed them out. Each night, they start with a minimum of 30-45 minutes of cardio before they can get in the ring. After that, they take bumps and continue on until they can "do whatever they need to do in the ring, but they start at the very, very beginning of wrestling."
James asks about the abundance of wrestling schools and how many students aren't learning the basics before flashy stuff. JG asks Harley if some guys are being trained wrong and getting spots in companies that they're not ready for. Race says that any guy who makes a move in the business can only go as far as his knowledge. Once the company sees it, which they will, they'll scale him back. Harley says you've seen that before where someone will make a move to the big show and then you don't see him anymore. Race emphasizes the need to absorb pain and understand the basics. If you've only been taught "the B.S. of the business, they're gonna see through that real quickly and move on without you."

Guttman asks about psychology. He asks Harley about the decline in psychology and whether he attributes it to shorter matches or people just putting lack of emphasis on it. Race says that the matches are shorter.

"The content of what happens in the ring is turned over to a bunch of people who have never experienced that in their lives,. And I guess they're called writers now. Who does not have a clue whether a wristlock or an ankle lock, that can be put together in a way that makes it look like it's a wrestling match. They haven't got a clue. They're just spewing this BS out there, hoping that some of it will stick and they can have an exciting show."

Race says that basics sell. He explains that he and Ric Flair have been doing it for 40 years. But if you don't have the knowledge of how to do it, you'll continue to see the quick stars you see now. Guttman says that people today say that it's "entertainment," yet it's always been entertainment. The difference was that the entertaining segments sold you a match. Today, they don't necessarily sell anything at all. Harley says that what James said was true. The art of wrestling lies in two people putting on a match that entertains the crowd. People try to emulate it at home and hurt themselves because only a select few can wrestle.

"If they keep putting together B.S. that Joe Blow, Tom Thumb, and whoever else, can go out in their backyard and mimic. You're going to continue to see the spiral of wrestling. Today it's called entertainment. In five years, it'll be called cartoons."

- break -

JG asks about Ric Flair, the guy Harley kick started the career of in the NWA. He asks about whether he knew that Ric would go as far as he did. Race answers, "Yes."

"The first time I wrestled (Ric Flair), he has the stamina, the charisma…here comes that word again, heart to do go on to do what he had done. I think Ric should step back, take a look at himself now, and say I've been there long enough. But he deserves every accolade that has been thrown at him."

Guttman says that Flair can wrestle forever because he has that mat style and understanding of psychology. Plus, because he's at a lower level, he's still one of the most over guys on Raw.

"That's right because he knows where he came from. He knows his ability in the ring to take someone with a lot lesser ability and making that person look like 100% better than anyone else who's ever been in the ring with him before."

James and Harley then talk about the old territory days and how Flair would go town to town and make everyone look like they were capable of wrestling at his level. JG asked about that because today it's different. Wrestlers are overprotective of their spots and won't sell for people they feel are below them. However, Ric sold for everyone and has a strong legacy. He asks Harley if that's because the business has changed so much, it's a lost art, or is it just not conducive for today's storyline-driven business. Race says it's a combination of all three and says to look at WWE's roster. They're short on big-names. The young talent coming in wasn't capable of performing on a higher level. Harley asks James what he thinks the average age is of the main eveners in WWE. Guttman thinks and answers, "37?"

"Now you see where their problem is starting with."


JG asks about Race's managerial career in WCW. He brings up Vader, Luger, the Kongs, and Yoshi Kwan. Harley says that when he first started managing, he liked it because Lex Luger wanted to learn. He would listen and wanted to go to the next level. He says that all the other individuals, besides Vader, they were all young guys that needed something to boost them up.

"Vader, on the other hand, was a guy who was pretty much a bully in the business. He loved the idea of having me with him because, again, it helped him take a step forward. But he wasn't a listener. He was, if everything was going his way, everything was fine,. But if something went the opposite way of what he was thinking it should be, then he was difficult to put up with. He and I have had several exchanges. We had one where we totally destroyed a hotel room."

Race says that his managing was like starting over again. He adds, "God Bless Bobby Heenan." James mentions that Heenan was the first guest on ClubWWI.com and that he was one of the quickest witted people he's ever spoken to. Harley calls him, "the greatest one-line wit on the face of the Earth."

JG thanks Harley for the interview and gives him a chance to speak to his fans. Race thanks each and every one of them. He says he's been around for a long, long time and had it not been for the fans, he wouldn't have had the opportunity to be Harley Race throughout the world. Without the fans, there would be no wrestling. Everything goes back to them. He thanks all the fans who have attended the events he's been to. He also mentions World League Wrestling (HarleyRace.com) and how Trevor Murdoch worked a recent show. Race explains that 25% of what they draw goes to charity. Also, you can bring anyone to the show and don't have to be embarrassed. You can bring "your granddaughter or your grandmother."

Remember, Harley Race's full 70 minute interview is up on ClubWWI.com. Also on ClubWWI.com, you can hear over 50 exclusive interviews with wrestling’s top names including Kevin Nash, DDP, Bobby Heenan, Ted DiBiase, Christian Cage, Samoa Joe, Rhino, Earl Hebner, Ivory, The Steiner Brothers, Nidia, Christy Hemme, Chris Daniels, AJ Styles, Vince Russo and dozens of others.

JG’s Radio Free Insanity is always free and always on the air each weekend at WorldWrestlingInsanity.com, with extended interviews and show archives available on ClubWWI.com. James Guttman’s book, World Wrestling Insanity, is available at Amazon.com or wherever books are sold.

This is actually a good read about The King, Harley Race and how he discusses Vader as a bully, i actually believe that is correct. Harley is without a doubt a great legend and in all this was a great read. He doesnt take shots at anyone and sounds like he is humble and respectful in that way.

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