RichInKC: If you had your choice to manage anyone in the sport who would you be interested in working with?
Harley Race: This would probably hit everybody as a big shot, but it wouldn't be one of the guys that is on top now. I would like to take a young kid who has all the credentials and take him all the way to the World's title. I have taken two different people there, besides myself. I have taken Lex Luger and Big Van Vader.
RichInKC: Of the talent out there now, are there any young people who would fit the bill and have the potential for you to take them to that level?
Harley Race: To be real truthful with you, Rich, I haven't watched the young group in quite some time. The reason I haven't is I don't want to get myself interested in doing something until I am ready to do it.
RichInKC: Fair enough. What was the best advice you've ever received when you got into the business? Maybe something you would like to pass on to people thinking about getting into the business themselves.
Harley Race: I guess in my own for instance, it's not taking anything for granted and prepare yourself to be able to wrestle for an hour, and I did a lot of that.
RichInKC: You don't see a lot of matches going that long anymore.
Harley Race: I don't think there are a lot of wrestlers that are capable of going that long anymore. You take a lot of your real super bodybuilders. When your body is that tight, once you get beyond that 15 or 20 minute marks, that body starts to tighten up on you. Some of them get so stiff they can't even bend.
RichInKC: Now I understand you are currently a Kansas City resident. Were you born in Kansas City?
Harley Race: I was born about a hundred and twenty miles north of here in Quitman, Missouri. Population when I left there was 103, and it is down to 47 right now.
RichInKC: Did you ever think when you were growing up that you would become a professional wrestler?
Harley Race: Yes. I watched wrestling for the first time when I was fourteen years old. I told my father at that point in time, "Dad, that's what I want to do the rest of my life."
RichInKC: What was your dad's reaction?
Harley Race: Oh, like everyone else, he just kind of laughed at it, but a year later I was doing it.
RichInKC: It's been one heck of a career, hasn't it?
Harley Race: Yes it sure has. I am probably one of the most fortunate people on Earth who can truthfully say they have done what they love to do their entire life.
RichInKC: Do you miss being in the sport?
Harley Race: Oh yes. Without a doubt. The only part I don't miss is the constant travel.
RichInKC: I bet the frequent flyer miles really do rack up.
Harley Race: As a matter of fact, if they had had those programs when I started I'd have a jillion of them. I still have over a million left on Delta and at one point in time, I had three and a half million on Northwest. Frequent flyer miles only came into being in the late '70s.
RichInKC: I understand that you and your wife, BJ, are avid pool players.
Harley Race: I wouldn't say we are anything spectacular, but both of us play a little bit.
RichInKC: When did you first start playing pool?
Harley Race: I started back when I was probably nine or ten years old. I used to hustle ice cream cones and stuff.
RichInKC: Are there any particular stars that catch your attention today? Are you a fan of any of the guys in particular?
Harley Race: This Goldberg seems to be an up and coming kid. What is he, like 70 and 0 right now?
RichInKC: That sounds right.
Harley Race: And you will think I am saying this because this is going up on his web site. Diamond Dallas Page started in wrestling a few years ago and went virtually nowhere for quite some time. He changed his whole style of wrestling and did a major turn around.
RichInKC: Are there any guys on the WWF side that have gotten your attention?
Harley Race: Stone Cold, of course. As you know he was in WCW for quite a while as kind of a middle of the road type of guy. Now he went up there, changed his attitude, changed styles a little bit, now he's one of their headliners. Another one is Owen Hart. I've known the Hart family when those guys were just little bitty kids. He's done fabulous. Whether you like him or don't like him, Shawn Michaels has done pretty much the same.
RichInKC: Are there any matches you wish you could see right now? If you were the promoter, are there any matches you would love to put together?
Harley Race: I think virtually anything that's out there has been done at some point in time. The guys switch back and forth between the two major feds now when the whim hits them. It's hard to say. I am sure that the fans would like to see several different people get together. As far as myself, I have seen it all at some point in time.
RichInKC: What are your thoughts on the two federations are progressing? Recently, Raw defeated Nitro in the ratings for the first time in more than a year. Do you have any insights on that? If this is a question you would rather not answer to prevent upsetting anyone, we can scratch it.
Harley Race: No, I don't really care if I upset them. I think that the reason Raw is probably is coming back a little bit is that most of their matches come to a conclusion. In WCW, almost none of them go to a conclusion anymore. About 15 minutes into the match, people turn around and start looking to the dressing room to see who is going to come running out.
To be continued...
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Monday night was Legends Night on Nitro which opened with Terry Funk arriving with Larry Zbyszco, Paul Orndorff and Arn Anderson in tow. He brought his entourage out at the end of the first half hour and stated that he "picked them up off the unemployment line" and referred to them as "The Old Age Outlaws". Anderson got on the mic and promised to skulk the halls and get him some payback tonight for what happened to him last week. Legendary Larry essayed his usual rant about "tradition". Then Orndorff pointed out his students in the first row and said that they are the future. He allowed that he is of the past but claimed that he can still go with the best of them. The nWo responded immediately with old-jokes. Nash was confident that he would become the Commissioner and joked that he should have been out buying suits for his new job. Funk came back in classic Vince McMahon fashion, setting up gimmick matches for his enemies. For Jarrett, he booked three matches against three different opponents including a Bunkhouse Brawl and a Cage Match with Chris Benoit as the referee. Bret Hart got Kevin Nash in a World Title match! When the two of them protested, Funk declared that he would suspend both of them for a year and strip Hart of the title. Scott Steiner started to make an onscene rant but was buzzed out by the censors. When he finished, Funk stated that he couldn't put Steiner in a match because he's not cleared to wrestle, but he promised to wash young Scotty's mouth out with soap!!
There was a Revolution/Filthy Animals/Flair & Crowbar three-way dance for the Tag Team Titles at the top of the show. Malenko and Saturn pretty much dominated it until they decided to walk off with Rey Misterio and punk him. They set Misterio on a table then Saturn splashed him from the balcony - at least 15 feet - maybe 17-18! A spectacular move which effectively ended the match as the rest of the competitors run up to join in the melee. David Flair covered Saturn for the pin then Rey-Rey was hauled away in an ambulance still writhing in pain.
The nWo showed up and celebrated Scott Steiner's birthday by giving him 5 female playmates as they entered the building. This theme continued throughout the program as Steiner took them into a private room two at a time. By 9:45, he was looking completely winded as one of the babes splashed champagne in his face to bring him around.
If the Powers That Be seem to have disappeared, not so with Ed Ferrarra aka Oklahoma. Although, Dr. Death has disappeared. OK's feud these days is with the Cruiserweight Champion, Madusa. They have a Title match at Souled Out. I can't figure out how this guy, who has got to be 250lbs if he's an ounce, can be competing for the Cruiserweight belt. Tonight the modern day Andy Kaufman took on Aysa, who handled him easily after initially being clobbered from behind. He had to use his bar-b-que sauce bottle to knock her out and halt her onslaught. Madusa ran down and was also pasted, with a broom.
I'm wondering if anybody really cares about the DDP/Buff Bagwell feud. Tonight they were threatened with $50,000 fines if they couldn't have a 5 minute face-to-face meeting without resorting to violence. They proceeded to insult each other nose-to-nose, each of them trying to goad the other into striking first. Actually, they did last five minutes, and then Page struck once. Bagwell came back and whipped Page with a collapsable baton!
At the top of the 9 O'clock hour, Hart and Nash got into a little argument over what they should do and ended up goading each other into the match. During the rest of the evening, Jarrett shuttled back and forth between the two, attempting to widen the split. Clearly a fly in the ointment...
Jarrett's first contest of the evening was the Bunkhouse Brawl against George "the Animal" Steele!!! Jarrett couldn't even get into the ring as the Animal knocked him off the apron with a trashcan, trashcan lid, a wash tub and a steel chair. Jarrett feigned that he was leaving then turned back to attack Steele (who had turned his attention to devouring the corner pad) with his guitar. That prompted AA to run in, grab Jarrett and put a spine buster on him. Steele took an easy pin.
Stevie Ray came out to explain his actions of last week. He claimed his brother has forgotten who he is, and where he is from. He wants Booker in a match at Souled Out, and said that the PPV was named after his brother. He got a resounding "A$$hole!" chant for his efforts. Booker showed up with Midnight and refused the match until Stevie back jumped him.
Jarrett's second match was ordinary enough except that it was against Tito Santana!! The Chosen One started the contest by ticking off members of the Buffalo Bills at ringside then entered the ring. Actually this was a "Dungeon Match" which meant that anybody who left the ring would lose the match. Santana looked out of shape and it was doubtful that he would have won the match. But that didn't really matter because the deck was completely stacked against Jarrett. You could tell that Benoit was inexperienced as a referee because when one of the football players climbed up on the apron, Benoit was looking right at him, but turned aside to warn Zbyszco off the opposite apron. Legendary Larry continued to "distract" Benoit while Orndorff entered the ring and put on his famous piledriver. Tito had to be rolled on top of his opponent to get the pin.
"Stinky" Tank Abbot tried again, without success, to deliver a rant. He challenged Doug (Duck Boy) Dillenger to come out and take a free shot at him. Dillenger took a poke at him then security forces subdued the idiot (Abbot) so that Jerry Flynn could run out and kick him in the head.
Jarrett's final match was in a cage against Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka. This is where they truely lost me. Snuka hasn't even looked able to wrestle in more then ten years. One thing he has going for him is that coconut-hard head of his. It seems unlikely that a mere guitar shot would have had much affect. Benoit showed up late, having been attacked backstage during the break, and immediately attacked Jarrett as Snuka recovered in a corner. Jarrett managed to fight Benoit off but then was faced with both Orndorff and Zbyzsco. They knocked him down so that Snuka could climb to the top of the cage and, bless his heart, splash Jarrett in the center of the ring. Benoit then followed that spectacular move with his own flying headbutt from the top. Snuka had no trouble taking the pin.
By the time the main event rolled around, Nash and Hart had us convinced they would have a "real" match for the World Title. As Kevin Nash made his way to the ring, we switched to a backstage camera and watched Commissioner Funk deliver on his promise to wash the exhausted Scott Steiner's mouth out with soap! The match itself was a real knock-down-drag-out affair with Nash dominating the early going then Hart coming back with his classic assault on the knee of his opponent. As he did in the WWF, Hart proved himself too much wrestler for the big guy and each time, after Nash would make a brief comeback, Hart would doggedly attacked that injured leg. Regardless of how this match would come out, Funk had accomplished his goal of keeping the nWo too busy to bother anyone else. Then about the time that Nash was ready to bring a chair into th ring, AA attacked him with a steel pipe! Nash was unconscious on the floor when Arn distracted Hart so that Sid could enter the ring behind him. Hart turned and had the chair kicked into his face, the cage was lowered and Hart was powerbombed. Funk then came out with a flaming branding iron and pretended to brand Nash.
Over on RAW (live from the Kiel Center in St. Louis, MO) it appeared that both promotions decided to use variations on the same theme. Payback is a b*tch. It started when the entire locker room appointed the Rock as their spokesman and threatened to walk-out unless the McMahon/Helmsley regime mended it's ways and reinstate Mankind. They reinforce their demands by threatening to form their own promotion! Hey! Maybe they could get together with Hogan and Bischoff over on Fox... The results were two matches that promised to widen the schism beginning to form within the ranks of DX as the New Age Outlaws were pitted against each other and HHH was forced to take on his "little buddy", X-Pac. No doubt this scenerio is also meant to set up the return of Vince McMahon as the happy couple have been shown to have lost all control over the promotion.
It was Outlaw vs. Outlaw as the opening contest as the Road Dogg faced his Tag Team Champion partner Billy Gunn. As the match developed it seemed that BIlly was in the drivers seat, but just about the time I came to that conclusion, the Dogg made a comeback and won the match rather suddenly. Afterward, Billy chose to be truculent and the two of them ended up arguing throught the remainder of the program.
For the rest of the evening, the wrestlers were seen signing themselves up for the matches of their choice.
Another result of all this was the return of Mick Foley and the making of the highly anticipated Foley/HHH main event at the Royal Rumble. For his part, after entering the arena through the crowd during the opening segment, Foley spent most of the evening torturing Dennis Knight (aka Mideon/Faux Mankind) in a backstage room and then later made all of Psycho-Tori's fevered nightmares come true by propositioning her and slapping her butt in a backstage hallway. This turned out to just be another phase of Knight's torture as Kane was led to "dressing room #3" by Tori so that he could beat up on who he thought was Mankind.
The Kurt Angle saga continued as he and Steve Blackman took on the Hardey Boyz. It looked to me that Matt Hardey is still recovering - he let his brother do most of the work. One of the highlights of this match was when Jeff attempted a Frankensteiner on Blackman on the outside only to have the latter catch him and swing his head against the ring steps! In the end it was Matt who put a swinging neck breaker on Blackman (after Jeff hit him with a missle drop-kick), and took the pin.
Val Venis accepted the challenge of Edge for his European Title, meanwhile revealing that his sister is engaged to his evening's opponent. Of course, Edge proved that he couldn't wrestle when he almost crippled one of the Borequas early in his WWF tour. Consequently, Val dominated this contest although Edge had his moments, mostly during flying moves. Missing his wimpy spear, he sets himself up for the fisherman's suplex. The prospecive brothers-in-law hugged after the match (eyewwww!)
The Co-Intercontinental Champions took on the Hollys (what, again..?) Jericho set himself up for failure by taunting his partner about his bigger crowd response during their respective entrances. Although the two of them actually managed to function fairly well as a team, they were clearly outclassed by the teamwork of their opponents. At a critical moment when Chyna needed a tag, Jericho turned away to acknowledge the fans, thus causing their loss.
In the second DX vs. DX match at the middle of the show, HHH and X-Pac battled it out for several minutes before Stephanie knocked X-Pac off the top corner and gave the win to her husband. A little later in the evening, the handwriting appeared to be on the wall as HHH pleaded with his comrades to "stick together" but they muttered ominously among themselves.
In a six-man match that has been brewing for a couple of weeks, Too Cool/Rakishi took on the Headbangers (who thankfully lost the stuffed bras)/Al Snow. The match was short, ending about 5 seconds after Rakishi got into the ring for the first time. Snow attacked his partners afterward as the boys in the ring did their dance.
D'Lo Brown teamed up with his old partner Kama (aka the Godfather) to take on the Dudleys, who rudely interrupted GF's opening rant to make their rather abrupt entrance. Has anyone else noticed that head referee Tim White always officiates the Godfather's matches...and why is that..?
Test/Big Show faced the Boss Man and Prince Albert in a clash of the titans which was over in a matter of moments as Test pinned PA. At one point, the Boss Man's hand was tied up in the ropes and you could tell it wasn't a planned move by the alacerity with which the Big Show freed him before continuing the battle. After the pin, Boss Man and PA got into a little tiff which the Big Show broke up by simultaneously choke-slamming both of them.
In the 8 man main event, DX tried to hold it together long enough to fend off the Acolytes and the Rock n' Sock Connection. HHH was clearly the odd man out as his DX partners cold-shouldered him before the match. As the match got underway, there seemed to be transmission problems - the pictured blacked-out several times during the opening moments. As the match continued it was obvious that everyone was in it except Foley and HHH. When they finally did enter the ring against each other, and Mankind dominated his opponent, the rest of DX abandoned their partner at the critical moment (Foley's team left as well) leaving it to Stephanie to distract the deranged one so that her husband could regain his composure and get back into the fight. Eventually he put the Pedegree on his tormentor on top of the broadcast table then returned him to the ring to administer a second Pedegree and take the pin. That wasn't the end of it however. The busted and bleeding Foley came back and took HHH apart hitting him with everything that wasn't nailed down including a set of ringsteps before we faded to black.
As Thunder opens (on tape from the Civic Center in Erie, PA) we saw that Bret Hart had become estranged from the nWo. Hart came to the ring following the first commercial break, acting contrite, saying he's let everybody down, calling the nWo a bunch of thugs. He said he plans to change his ways and denounces his nWo associates. This brought Nash, Jarrett and Steiner out to rant back at him. Hart wanted to take them all on one at a time. Nash invited Bret to leave and save himself a beating. Swerve alert! Swerve alert!!
I have to say that this David Flair/Daphne/Crowbar thing is growing on me. Crowbar (Devon Storm) lends credibility to their tag team and Daphne is there to provide distraction and the occasional lead pipe to the back of the head of their opponents. Flair's "crazed" act is convincing, if not believable.
After the second break we came back to taped highlights of a backstage battle between Brian Knobbs and Fit Finley - evidently a training session for Knobbs to face Norman Smiley tonight. It ended when Smiley and Meng showed up and cooperated to dispatch both of the combatants. In the match Wednesday, Knobbs defeated Smiley in a parking lot match so that he will be the Champion going into the Souled Out PPV.
About 40 minutes into the program, the nWo caught up with Bret Hart in his dressing room. A little later we saw them dragging him down the hall, kind of like what they did with Arn Anderson last week. Out in the parking lot they burned his "pink & black attack" tights. Then later on they appeared to be ready to cut off his hair. Meanwhile, the Commissioner and his OAO buddies watched and decided not to do anything. Throughout all of this, we never actually see the thugs lay a hand on the World Champ. I'm still betting on a swerve...
Wait a minute! When did Aysa hook back up with the Revolution? Suddenly on Thunder she was coming out with them again. Oh I see, they are playing the scenerio out again. Building up to her blow-up, I guess.
Thankfully, Jerry Flynn attacked Tank Abbot before he got a chance to get into his usual lame rant. They were subsequently arrested then stupidly put into the same cell!
God save us from Oklahoma in an evening gown...
Stevie Ray prevented the scheduled Three-Way Dance between himself. Booker and Midnight via a pre-emptive backstage attack. Just as well - the match didn't make any sense in the first place. Booker recovered and joined the frey but Stevie then abandoned the fight and got himself counted out. This left Booker and Midnight to finish the match. Booker was reluctant, but then as soon as he started to join the fight, Stevie laid the blackjack upside his head then invited Midnight to cover him. She laid down and pulled Booker over her instead.
More Triad vs. Triad stuff as Chris Kanyon and Bam Bam Bigalow went at it in a "Champagne on a Pole" match. Lex Luger decided to get involved in this one by running out in his Sting get up and clobbering Bam Bam with a baseball bat. This segment was capped with another "mysterious" Sting non-sighting.
Kimberly threw some more fuel on the Bagwell/Page feud fire without really saying much during a rather guarded backstage interview with Mean Gene. She specifically refused to comment on the allegations of an affair with Buff Bagwell.
Nash and Jarrett took on Benoit and Sid toward the end of the show in a match that went all over the arena floor. Jarrett took the pin on Benoit after the latter missed his flying headbutt.
Just after the match above we glimpsed Scott Steiner out cold with a table laying on him as we cut to the final commercial. Apparently Bret had escaped. Sure enough, after the break we saw Hart starting to leave the arena then changing his mind and going back to confront his tormentors. He marched right back to the ring (armed with a steel pipe) and called the nWo out. Nash and Jarrett appeared and a stand-off ensued until the Commish came out with his branding iron again. For some reason, Arn was carrying a bucket of water. Funk told Hart to leave the ring, but then AA suddenly doused Hart with the water, which revealed that the "black eye" he was sporting was makeup! His hair was uncut. Sure enough, the whole thing was a ruse. The show ended on a big OAO vs. nWo showdown (with Mike Tenay flubbing his lines by yelling "Here come the New Age Outlaws..." - no doubt the WWF will make a stink about that) with no clear winner as the program faded.
SmackDown (on tape from Chicago) opens with DX seemingly in disarray following the events on RAW. The happy couple came to the ring looking pissed as the crowd jeered them. I notice that the HHH and Stephanie banners have disappeared from either side of the TitanTron. HHH delivered an apology to his DX comrades then started setting up gimmick matches to make amends. The New Age Outlaws facing Bradshaw in a handicap, then later facing Faarooq under the same terms. For X-Pac, he set up a tag match pitting himself and his little buddy against the Big Show and the Rock. Then he turned and challenged Mick Foley to a match "right here and right now." Instead, the faux Mankind (Dennis Knight in a leather mask) came out and prostrated himself in front of HHH. This brought the real Foley out, his shirt still bloodstained from Monday night. He made a speech about who Mankind "was" and then offered a substitute for the Royal Rumble main event - Cactus Jack! Jack then proceeded to drive the happy couple from the ring and make mincemeat out of the phony "deranged one". Afterward he made another chilling speech, ending it with his classic signature phrase, "Bang! Bang!"
Bradshaw used powder to get the jump on the NAO in his handicap match but it only helped him for a little bit as the Tag Champs recovered quickly, turned the tables and dispatched him with...well...dispatch.
Throughout their 6 man match against Too Cool and Rakishi, we watched the Hollys snubbing their partner Al Snow by refusing to tag him in. Of course that set him up to attack his partners after the match. This act is getting a little too old. On the other hand, watching Too Cool and Rakishi do their dance afterward is always a delight.
It was great to see Gangrel and Test go at it in a straight ahead, non-gimmick match for a change. Test is developing into quite a formidable competitor.
In a weight class miss-match, but otherwise a great pairing, the Hardey Boyz took on the Big Boss Man and Prince Albert. Again, the tendency of the two big guys to argue caused them to lose the match. Afterward they got into a brawl ringside.
One of the few aspects of the whole Helmsley/McMahon debacle that I was enjoying was HHH's continual quest to end Kurt Angle's winning streak. No sign of it tonight, but there was a little byplay between Steve Blackman and Val Venis centering around the revelation that Edge is his prospective brother-in-law. Blackman went for his bag-o-tricks at the conclusion of his tag match with Edge and Christian but couldn't find his kendo stick...because Val had it.
NAO took on Faarooq later in the show and beat him pretty quickly.
It looks like they intend to keep the team of Godfather/D'Lo on at least a semi-permanent basis. They took on the Headbangers this week and trounced them.
In the continuing saga of Chyna and Chris Jericho, this week the better half used Psycho-Bitch Tori as her pawn to get Kane to put a beatin' on the co-holder of the Intercontinental Title. For his part, Jericho didn't help matters any by insulting Tori in the process of trying to assure Kane that he wasn't interested in the big guy's main squeeze. Chyna walked off with the IC belt after Kane creamed the Millennium Bug.
Before their main event tag team match against HHH and X-Pac, the Rock managed to piss off his partner the Big Show. The upshot was that the Show deserted partner causing a loss to DX and then came back and attacked the Great One.
ECW on TNN (coming to us from the Center Stage in Atlanta, GA) opens with Styles and Gertner who are rudely interrupted by Cyrus (from "the Office") who reads off a laundry list of things they (most especially Gertner) are not allowed to talk about, such as, sexual inuendo, obscene middle names, jokes about country music (Garth Brooks weight, for instance) and Roller Jam.
Super Crazy took on Little Guido in the sleeper match of the program. These little guys can really go! Crazy flies like no one else and Guido can really wrestle, together they put on a great show. Unfortunately, this match was interrupted by a commercial so we missed a big chunk of it. After a furious battle, Crazy took the pin with a swinging, flying DDT.
Bill Alfonzo pledged that Sabu would leave ECW if he lost his match against Rob Van Dam last Sunday. He lost. So now he is gone...right...
Clips from last weeks PPV showed Raven and Tommy Dreamer losing the Tag Team Titles (after Raven took a cane shot in place of Francine), Spike Dudley having his head handed to him by Mike Awesome and Rhino puttin' a clubberin' on the American Dream.
The second (and only other) match on the program saw those two wild and crazy guys Tajiri and Jerry Lynn tearing each other up for about ten minutes. Tajiri is such a showboat, applauding his own moves, etc. Not that he doesn't back it up with some spectacular action. In the end it didn't serve him well. JL won the match with a big piledriver.
I'll be back Sunday night with my Souled Out Report, Until then...
At least that's the way I see it...
Editor, Solie's Wrestling Newsletter
This page is a personal tribute and is in no way connected to any of the wrestling promotions mentioned on it. It is dedicated to the Dean of Wrestling announcers, Gordon Solie.
Copyright 1999 - Jump City Productions