Harley Race is considered one of the most legitimately tough men in pro wrestling history. He was synonymous with the NWA World Title throughout the 1970s and early 80s, winning the title an astonishing (at least at the time) 7 times. When you talk about the iconic group of names from that era like Jack Brisco, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Terry Funk, Dory Funk Jr. etc., Harley Race will always be a part of that list.
Race was an international star as well in an era where the NWA champion traveled to not only the various states in the U.S. but also other countries. He is still viewed today as an iconic star in Japan where he had numerous tours and title defenses. As NWA Champion, he also took part in title unification matches with WWE World Champions Bob Backlund and “Superstar” Billy Graham which was an unfathomable concept just a few years later.
If you weren’t a fan in the 70s where Race was one of the top figures in the NWA, you may have seen him in the 80s when he actually joined WWE (WWF at the time) and became “King” after winning the King of the Ring Tournament in 1986. Harley took part in arguably the biggest WrestleMania of all time in WrestleMania 3 where he defeated the Junkyard Dog.
Even if you weren’t a fan in the 80s, you may still remember Harley Race as a manager in WCW in the 90s, most notably of Lex Luger and maybe even more so Vader. Harley remained a trainer in his later years and made numerous appearances on WWE programming where it was always noted that he was one of the most respected men in the business.
Today at 12:50, we lost the man that fought up until the very last of his existence. More information will be released soon, but just know that he loved pro-wrestling and the fans that loved him.
Harley Race, we love you
— Harley Race (@8XNWAChampion) August 1, 2019
Harley Race’s battle with lung cancer was revealed earlier this year, but he continued to make appearances up until just a couple of months ago. There will undoubtedly be numerous tributes to Race over the next few days as his impact and influence was always revered without question. There is frankly too much to cover when it comes to someone with the status in pro wrestling that Harley Race holds. If you want an education in a classic era of pro wrestling and what a real world champion was like during that time, we recommend seeking out all the Harley Race content you can find on the WWE Network.