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Harley Race

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Not on tape:

 

http://sportsandwrestling.mywowbb.com/forum2/11512-1.html

 

1966

06/10 Sydney, Australia Harley Race beat Nick Bockwinkel

 

1969

10/23 Amarillo, TX Harley Race draw Nick Bockwinkel(45:00)

 

They teamed in the 1984 Tag League. I'm a bit surprised that Baba never booked a match between the two, but could guess that there may have been NWA-AWA reasons for that.

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Harley Race vs Miguel Perez Jr WWC 1990

 

I had no idea Harley actually wrestled after leaving WWF in 90. This isn't bad as it basically turns into a brawl with fans throwing trash and Race slaming Perez on a table. Plus for a guy that is injured, Race takes a flair bump over the turnbuckle onto the floor.

Race worked for NWA in 1990.

 

 

He also had one match in the AWA.

 

8/11/90 Rochester, MN

AWA Champion Larry Zbyszko beat Harley Race dq

DJ Peterson & The Trooper beat Destruction Crew Mike Enos & Wayne Bloom to win AWA Tag Title

Buck Zumhofe beat Jonnie Stewart to win AWA Light Heavyweight Title

Jake Milliman won a battle royal to give Larry's Legends the victory in the AWA Team Challenge Series for $100,000

Plus other bouts

Note: Last AWA TV Taping

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He was one of those guys who came off real in the ring.

 

Even when Harley was managing Vader and others, his punches looked like they really hurt. The Dolly Sisters Larry Hennig and Harley Race were before my time as a fan. I can tell you the AWA old timers rate them on par or even above Bockwinkel and Stevens. As for taped footage, it depends how much Verne saved and what was sold to Vince the Younger. WWE is really lazy with AWA footage. Most of what they show was available on DirecTV PPVs many years ago. They have aired a few TV cards not previously on DirecTV but only a couple.

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vs. Dory Funk, Jr. (JIP – 5/24/73)
vs. Dick Murdoch. (JIP – 4/22/75)

 

Not going to do full analyses of these, this is more really to note that I've watched them.

 

The Dory match just shows the third fall of a 2/3 falls match. It's from Kansas and I don't know who the commentator is. Perhaps Kevin Wall or even a young Rick Stewart? Probably too early for Matysik. I believe Bill Kersten was the ring announcer.

 

Some nice suplexes and things here. Race looked smooth as he alwys does. A lot of the "falling headbutt" spot, perhaps he overdid it here.

 

The Murdoch match is more of the same. Hard to get a sense of the work from matches with this much clipping.

 

vs. Dusty Rhodes. (12/6/75)

 

This is in All Japan. Dusty works a headlock for the first four minutes. Race has short hair and a moustache here. He takes over on offense and takes it outside. Back in and Rhodes is back on top with a snap mare and two fist drops. Dusty in 1975 is much more nimble than Dusty from 1985.

 

Failed bodyslam / crossbody spot where Dusty falls on Race. But Race takes over again and hits a piledriver. But he can't sustain it, and Dusty gets back on top. Race has very much worked this from underneath so far.

 

He finds a way to get back on offense after taking Dusty's usual assortment of elbows and hits a sweet backbreaker. Slugfest now and it's starting to get STIFF. But Dusty comes out on top and hits a big elbow drop. Goes for a second, which misses, and this Japanese crowd is getting into this match.

 

Race hits a diving headbutt from the top rope for the pin. Yes, Dusty put him over clean as a whistle in the middle!

 

This was an okay match but I think Dusty's limited range of offense brings it down, as does the fact that it was structurally all-over-the-place without any real flow or rhythm. I don't know if Dusty is the best opponent for Race. About a **

 

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vs. Abdullah The Butcher (5/13/76)

 

Also in All Japan. Stiff crawling to start, Abdullah gets the best of it and posts Harley several times who catches colour almost immediately. Abby gets down and dirty now BITING THE CUT. Well AIDS was only invented in 1983, so that was fine.

 

Race gets a crutch from a dude in the crowd and starts hammering Abdullah with it. Race is COVERED in blood. He snaps the crutch and now beats on Abby with the shard of wood. Nasty looking. Abdullah has colour now too.

 

But a dude with a beard comes now and holds Race down. If I had to guess I'd say that dude is King Curtis Ikea. Who's this now? Jumbo Tsurta comes out to make the save for Harley. And now Giant Baba is out too! It's chaos here and Race posts Abdullah as Curtis and Jumbo brawl to the back.Race and Abdullah now brawl in the crowd. I worry about their blood getting on people!

 

I don't know about a star rating but this was an incredibly entertaining 6 minutes or so. And what an incredible blade job by Race.

 

He can add working wild brawls with Abby to his CV for sure.

 

 

 

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Harley Race vs. Terry Funk. (JIP – 2/6/77)

 

Race has longer hair here. Funk hits a big backbreaker and then a piledriver. This is from Toronto, so Maple Leaf Wrestling and the commentators are "Sam" and "Frank". Frank, I'm assuming, has to be Frank Tunney. Sam, I'm less sure on. He sounds old, so could it be Sam Muchnick dropping in? I'm very unfamiliar with Toronto. Funk is the NWA champ and this is for the title.

 

Race comes back with a headbutt and a snapmare. Kneedrop. Backbreaker and a beauty! He goes for a second but Funk reverses it with a bodyscissors. Funk takes a tumble to the outside now. Back in and Funk goes to work on Race's leg.

 

Spinning toe hold! Sam mentions that this is the hold with which Dory Funk Jr beat Gene Kiniski in 1969 and the move that Terry Funk used to beat Jack Brisco. Nice.

 

Race comes back with an awesome looking knee breaker, it looks more like an atomic drop, but it hits the leg! Funk sells it amazingly well. Indian deathlock by Race now. Funk struggles. Race is doing SIT UPS to apply the pressure. This Indian deathlock is GLORIOUS.

 

And that's it, Funk submits and we have a new champion!

 

Wow, this was great, I don't know how much we got of it, but what we saw is at least ****, really enjoyed this.

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vs. Superstar Billy Graham. (JIP – 3/77)

 

This is silent super 8 footage that looks like it could have been recording in 1942. It's a bit disorientating to watch for some reason. We don't get that much of it before Race gets the three count for the first fall. Guessing it's 2 out of 3 falls.

 

Graham works over Race with basic stomps and so on for the start of the second before hetting him in a bearhug to which Race submits. Graham flexes his muscles.

 

There is a lot of clipping ans skipped frames here, but even through it all, I can tell that Graham was mostly horrible as a worker. There's a contentious finish as Graham has Race in a beahug but somehow ends up getting himself pinned. Rubbish.

 

vs. Jumbo Tsuruta. (6/11/77)

 

Back in All Japn now and Race is the champ. Great mutton lamb-chop sideburns and NO moustache, looks like his gut is smaller than usual here and that he's bulked up in the chest and arms. Jumbo is rocking 70s lego hair. Jim Barnett is there looking ANCIENT, he holds up the NWA belt for all to see.

 

Superb arm drag by Jumbo, he got the depth of Steamboat there. Race comes back by attempting an atomic drop, but Jumbo rolls out. Bodyslam by Race now. Jumbo answers with one of his own and then an arm drag. Nice "anything you can do I can do better" opening.

 

Jumbo works Race's arm. But Race comes back with a side salto suplex. Jumbo goes back to the arm and jumps down on it as if he were Bob Backlund. He pulls on the arm. Jumbo appears to be sweating profusely.

 

Race comes back with a backbreaker but it only gets 2 and Jumbo gets a slam. He goes for a butterfly suplex but Race blocks it. Jumbo struggles with him for the suplex, but Race isn't budging. Still he tries again ... no cigar. Race from that position starts battering ramming Jumbo. Lovely counter.

 

Front facelook on the mat now by Race. He uses his body to fall on top of it to give the hold his full weight. Pretty good. I like the fact he can make the front facelock an impact move. He goes for a vertical suplex but Jumbo counters it into a slam. Criss-cross now. TIGER KNEE! Jumbo hits his signiture knee lift and NOW he goes for the butterfly suplex and gets the three count for the first fall. I thought that first fall told a beautiful story of struggle, attrition and Jumbo overcoming the blocks Race was putting in his way. Both men with a basic gameplan that they are trying to pursue at all costs: Jumbo working Race's arm, Race working Jumbo's neck and face area.

 

Race starts out on top now and hits a series of spots culiminating in another side salto suplex. Jumbo comes back with a snap mare but misses the elbow. NASTY knee drop by Race now. And again. Right across the temple. Snap suplex by Race now floated over into a front facelock again with the impact drops. I like the fact he's going back to his basic gameplan now.

 

Small package by Jumbo only gets one. Falling headbutts by Race now. Gets two. Jumbo manages to get Race in a hammerlock. He's still working that same arm he has been all match. Jumbo is dropping his weight on this hammerlock in a similar way to Race was with the facelock earlier. Now he gets him in a wish bone wing with a knee in Race's back. Both guys are sweating their arse's off at this point. Race comes back with some strikes and a knee lift and drops an elbow for two. Big fist. Jumbo misses a charge into the turnbuckle. BRAINBUSTER! BRAINBUSTER! I love it when the Japanese commentators do that. Race changes gears now and gets Jumbo in a leglock, the one where he falls back to give it leverage. He falls back four or five times and this is enough to make Jumbo submit for the second fall. Excellent match so far, hope this third fall lives up to what has preceded.

 

Race starts the third fall by attacking Jumbo's injured leg. Kneebreaker. And now a leglock. Jumbo is able to counter and now starts busting out the strikes and a suplex! Cover gets two. BIG dropkick by Jumbo. He goes for a second by Harley parries it away. He goes back to the front facelock now. Hmmm, didn't fancy the leg anymore?

 

Up into a headlock now and Jumbo is able to suplex Race from that position. Anothe nearfall. Flying lariat from Jumbo takes Race over but he's injured himself. Gets on an abdominal stretch now. He's got the leg hooked in and everything. Race comes back and hits a falling headbutt. Goes to the top, but Jumbo catches him and slams him from it. Goes for a bodypress but Race gets the knees up. Bodyslam by Race. Bodyslam by Jumbo. Jumbo goes for the running knee but misses and Harley rolls him up into an inside cradle for the three count.

 

This is a terrific match that I'd give about a ****1/2, the third fall doesn't quite ramp up into overdrive as much as I'd like but despite that this is really well worked. Recommended for anyone to watch.

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vs. Randy Alls. (JIP – 6/14/77)

 

This is from Atlanta, GCW with Solie on commentary. Alls is Randy Rose. Race hits a couple of suplex variations to start. "Excellent Greco Roman move", says Solie. Gordon mentions the car accident Race had when he was young.

 

Alls misses a turnbuckle spot and Race drives his knee into his head. Verticle suplay now. That'll do for three. I feel like I've seen this match before, maybe it's on the St. Louis set.

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vs. Ron Miller (12/77)

 

This appears to be from Jim Barnett's Australian WCW. Interesting little segment beforehand as Race's scheduled opponent, Kevin Martin, is injured giving him the default win, but Ron Miller says that he's ready to take on the champion. Race objects. "This is absolutely ridiculous ... I'm not wrestling this man on television, it's an embarrassment." Race thinks that Miller is a "ringer".

 

The bell rings and nonetheless, Race gets in the ring. It's surreal watching this, the Aussie commentator is so stereotypical that the whole thing feels like a spoof.

 

Suplex by race. Action goes to the outside. Race hits a flying crossbody from the top rope and the momentum takes him over for Miller to get the pin for 1, 2, 3!

 

Miller pinned Race!!! So is it NEW World Champions Ron Miller?

 

Guess it was a non-title match. But wow, the crowd is happy for Miller. From this evidence, I don't think Miller is a lost worker or anything.

 

Awesome slightly psycho promo by Race afterward with a massive cut on his head. "Well I bloody well pinned ya didn't I", goads Miller. Race is going fucking crazy here. AWESOME promo.

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vs. Superstar Billy Graham (JIP – 1/25/78)

 

NWA champ vs. WWWF champ; the Superbowl of Wrestling taking place in Miami. We're treated to a press conference first from Florida. NWA President Eddie Graham is sipping tea out of a cup, they have saucers too. Very nice. I note Solie also has one but also has a glass of wine there. Any bets on which one he was drinking from? Graham notes that the NWA title can be traced back to Frank Gotch. He says that the AWA champ was invited to participate, but for whatever reason it could not be negotiated. Both guys have to put down a $25k bond. Winner gets 70%, loser 30%. Strange that Vince Sr is not there.

 

Solie is with both participants now. Race is suited and booted, Graham is in dark red-brown trousers and a loud shirt. Graham is serious about being "man enough" to take the NWA title. Race says some stuff, but Graham takes his shirt off and flexes his massive bicep. "Do you have this?", asks Graham. "I don't need no pumped up balloney", says Race, "I'm already a man".

 

There are two refs for this match. Gorilla Monsoon is representing the WWWF. Harley starts out on top hitting a piledriver and then the falling-back leglock. Side-salto suplex but misses a diving headbutt from the top. Graham takes over now ... bearhug. And Race submits for the first fall.

 

Pretty heavy clipping now. Race gets the second fall after a vertical suplex.

 

Third fall and Race has the sleeper on. Both men have colour. Falling headbutt. Gets back in the sleeper, but the time runs out, 60 minutes has elapsed and it's a draw.

 

This match looked like it would have been really boring.

 

 

 

 

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vs. Dusty Rhodes (6/27/78)

 

This is a lumberjack match from Florida. Race hits a salto to start, but Rhodes takes over. Race comes back with a suplex. Dusty tussles on the outside with obscure Turkish wrestler Ali Bey, and ends up posting him. Ali Bey was born in 1911 and was reported to be still alive and well when he was 93. If he's still alive, by my calcuations, he'd be 104 now. His career started in the 1930s. How he ended up in Florida in 1978 is anyone's guess, but I note that he had a late job run in Crockett in 1984. Anyway, Dusty has injured Ali Bey and he has to be escorted to the back. Solie tells us that a standby luberback will be called to fill in.

 

Race appears to be bleeding now. Dusty works over his leg. Spinning toehold. The action goes outside and Dusty hits a piledriver outside the ring! There's also a ref bump (of course, it's Florida in the 70s!) and while Race is still out cold Eric the Red gets into the ring. Rhodes dispatches him. Sonny King comes in the ring now and nails Dusty with a foreign object. Race is rolled back in for the cover, but Wahoo McDaniel is here to explain to the ref. But he's already counted 3.

 

Holy over-booking Batman.

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Harley Race, Ric Flair & The Masked Superstar vs. Dick Murdoch, Wahoo McDaniel & Blackjack Mulligan (JIP – 6/18/78)

 

Mulligan with a piledriver on Superstar. Murdoch comes in now, Race with the drunk selling. He regains control though and hits a kneelift. Kneedrop. Murdoch reverses a suplex and scores the pinfall. There's no commentary so I don't know where this is from. It was very short. With Flair there, I can only guess this was Mid-Atlantic.

 

vs. Dick Murdoch (7/2/78)

 

This was definitely in Greensboro because Dr. Tom Miller is there with the introductions. "This is a one fall match, with a sixty-minute time limit" FUCK YEAH. This makes perfect sense: Murdoch got the pin on Race in the tag match, so he deserves a title shot. Murdoch very over as the babyface, Race gets booed.

 

Murdoch gets the best of the early going, winning the slugfest and reversing Race's side-salto. He applies a headlock. Both men take a tumble now and it goes outside to the hard-looking concrete floor. Race crawls back in and then drags Murdoch in. Naturally, Murdoch has bladed. Side salto. Ref keeps checking on Murdoch's cut. Race keeps attacking it until eventually Murdoch hits a brainbuster.

 

There's a nice call-back spot now as Murdoch goes for the cover but Race gets his leg on the rope, as Murdoch did twice earlier.

 

We get a flash pin from Race to end it.

 

Not a brilliant match.

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vs. Ricky Steamboat (10/21/78)

 

Still in Crockett country now and this is fairly exciting. Collar and elbow tie-up. Nearfall by Steamer. They lockup again. Big backdrop by Steamboat and a signature chop. Bodyslam. Standing powerslam. Race cuts the momentum with a stick knee to the gut, now a kneelift. But Steamboat comes back with a double-axehandle from the top rope.

 

Headlock by Steamboat now, who has enjoyed an extended shine sequence here, seemingly a benchmark of Harley matches. Race tries to suplex himself out of the headlock (after several minutes), but Steamboat reverses it and goes right back to the headlock. This headlock is really dragging at this point. An elegant-looking woman in the crowd checks her watch. An old man puts a sweet into his mouth. A guy folds and then unfolds his arms. And the headlock is still going on.

 

Eventually, Race hits an inverted atomic drop but then misses his falling headbutt. Steamboat hits a quick elbow drop and then ... goes right back to the headlock. A man in the crowd coughs. The elegant woman has put her hand on her chin. A kid in a baseball cap puts his magazine on the floor. A black guy goes into a back and gets out a chocolate bar. And this fucking headlock is still going on.

 

Eventually Race hits a left hand and Steamboat is on the floor. Race goes to follow up but Steamboat blocks it and hits about 8 of his MASSIVE chops. Crowd pops. I'll note that Race has had precisely 1% of this match on top so far.

 

Action goes outside and Steamboat is still on top until Race manages to post him. Kneedrop outside. Finally Race actually has something approaching a heat segment. Turnbuckle. Kneedrops while Steamboat is on the apron. Gullotine. Race is playing a very dirty game here. Suplex back in? No, Steamboat lands on top of him for a pin attempt.

 

Steamer hits a piledriver now and covers but Race has his legs on the rope. Snapmare. Races goes to the eyes. But Steamboat is still strong clubbing on Race and gets in a flashy cover. But he misses a roundhouse right and Race gets in a back suplex. Falling heabutt. And another ... but he misses. Steaboat starts chopping him but Race cuts him off with a head to the gut. Throws him out of the ring. He grabs a chair and tries to nail Steaboat with it but loses the struggle and Steamboat nails him with it instead. DQ? No.

 

Steaboat suplexes Race back in. Two count. Steamboat collides with Race from an Irish whipe and falls outside. Race goes after him and goes for a piledriver. Reversed. Back in the ring and Steamboat is hitting his double-palms. He's dominating Race. Standing powerslam again and Steamboat goes to the top. Flying bodypress and a cover but Race's feet are in the ropes.

 

Race gains control now. I should fucking hope so, it's only been 21 minutes of shine sequence so far! He drives knees into Steamboats back, but the Dragon soon comes back with his chops. Race goes for a piledriver ... and hits it! Steamboat does the shaky-leg sell but the cover only gets a two.

 

Atomic drop by Race now but Steamboat comes back and levels him with a massive chop. Series of nearfalls now. And then we clip to Steamboat doing a wild firey come back with the Texas-style punches and Race drunk-wobbly-leg-selling all over the shop. Still gets his foot on the ropes for the cover.

 

Race gets on the top rope but Steamboat catches him. It's like Steamboat has had an answer to absolutely everything Race has tried to do. We clip to Steamboat trying a Boston crab and then quickly to Race on the top rope going for his diving headbutt which he hits. Steamboat does the shaky leg sell.

 

Clip to Steamboat hitting the ten punches in the corner, and now we get a ref bump. Only five minutes remain in this match. 25 minutes showing on my clock, so could this have been a 30-minute match or a 60-minute cut down? Race is on top hitting his various knee drops. A sub ref has come in. Race misses his diving headbutt now and Steamboat goes to the top and hits a flying crossbody. Ref counts THREE but Race has got his leg on the ropes. The ref hasn't seen it and raises Steamboat's arm. Crowd is going WILD and Steamboat thinks he's won the world title. Pandemonium here.

 

Another ref comes out now to explain that Race had his foot on the ropes. Steamboat has the belt and wants to leave. Ref says the match must continue. Steamboat beats on Race some more and we only have TWO minutes remaining in the match now. A girl in the crowd has he right arm in the hair and her fist clenched. She nudges her friend to do the same. Ha ha ha.

 

Three big chops from Steamboat now and a snapmare. Cover gets only two. And again. Piledriver by Steamboat hits. Race has his leg on the rope. Three big chops again now and Steamboat can't put Race away. Double axe-handle from the top and he covers but the bell goes for the time-limit draw.

 

Honestly, I thought this match fucking sucked balls, as much as the Race vs. Backlund match but EVEN MORE so because Steamboat was even more dominant than Bob here. Race could barely string two moves together and looked completely outmatched throughout.

 

I don't really care if this is how some NWA Champ matches were worked, I HATE the formula. It's fucking stupid and makes the champ look like a chump. Not only that, it's stupid psychology. The babyface never gets any sympathy on him, and the heel never gets any heat on himself. What's the point? It's also a total waste of Steamboat's key attributes in the selling department and a waste of Race's key attributes in the cool bombs department. I expected this crap from Backlund, but not from Steamboat. The common demoninator is Race, and I just CAN'T STAND this structure for a match.

 

There were 30 minutes here and in that time Steamboat dominated completely including a 10-minute fucking headlock spot where I was literally watching members of the crowd pick their nose. Total shit.

 

*1/2

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vs. Paul Jones (JIP – 11/78)

 

Ref has bright 70s red flares on. This looks like it might be Cornette garbage tape footage. Jones sends Race tumlbing into the turnbuckle. On this evidence, fans in the Mid-Atlantic area might have thought that Race was a wimp. Race is still stuck in the turnbuckle and Jones goes outside to nail him in the face. Atomic drop by Jones. Race sells it well.

 

He comes back with some battering rams. Jones throws Race out of the ring. Suplexes him back in. Cover gets three, but Race has his feet on the ropes. Come on now George Scott, come up with some new ideas! Exactly the same finish as the Steamboat match with the second ref explaining what happened. The live crowd weren't to know. Match continues.

 

Inverted atomic drop by Race. Jones hits a suplex. This is the frustrating thing about Harley, he never seems to be able to get more than one offensive move in before feeding his opponent a bomb. Piledriver by Jones now. We get covers where Harley's legs are on the ropes. Slugfest now but Harley swings and misses allowing Jones to get in a back suplex. Cover ... feet on the ropes. This is getting tiresome and fast.

 

Five minutes remain. Jones is hammering on Race's face. Harley comes back with a left. He's staggering. Goes for a side salto but no! Jones reverses. And the tape jams so we don't get the finish.

 

That's the second match in a row where Race has worked as much too weak. I understand working as bitch champ to an extent but this is just ridiculous. The opponent here was Paul Jones and Harley is giving him move after move after move and getting very little in himself. He's too giving to his opponent and all it does is make the champ look overly weak. It also doesn't make a lot of sense from a character point of view because Harley was presented as a tough guy not a chickenshit or a coward, so why's he working like he's the fucking Honky Tonk Man?

 

Getting very frustrating.

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vs. Pierre Lefevre (JIP – 11/78)

 

This is from the St. Louis set we watched some stuff from on Titans. Matysik on commentary. Dick the Bruiser is there and says he's going to where the belt in less than a week. Brusier is trying on Race's belt and Race is distracted. He's insensed. Lefevre sneaks a small package for two. Bruiser keeps saying "I don't want anybody to beat Race until I beat him". Belly to back suplex bridged into a pin by Race for a win. Well at least he can beat jobbers.

 

Bruiser wearing the world title goes after Race. Race goes for the piledriver, which of course is reversed. He stands on Race and raises the belt in triumph. The ref wants to stop him raising his arm. The hipster St. Louis crowd approves.

 

Harley Race & Bulldog Bob Brown vs. Ted DiBiase & Paul Orndorff. (JIP – 12/78)

 

This is a match we actually watched on Titans. Ted is called "DiBiass" throughout. Matysik references Race's title win over Funk with the Indian deathlock and then lists all of the moves that Race does. The suplex slam, the side salto suplex, the piledriver, the atomic drop backbreaker, the diving headbutt.

 

There is clipping here. But cut a long story short, Ted gets the hot tag to Orndroff. But gets cut off with about three minutes of the match left. Race goes for a piledriver but it is reversed. Brown walks over Paula. But he makes the hot tag now.

 

Ted a house of fire but Brown tags Race who goes for a suplex, but Ted slips out of it and back down behind him to hit an awesome German suplex for three. He's pinned the champion!!

 

Ted and Paul celebrate wildly. It was a great German suplex.

 

We didn't learn much about Harley from this St. Louis stuff.

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A “Battle Royal” with Harley Race, Dory Funk, Ray Stevens, The Wild Samoans, Roddy Piper, Buddy Rose, Ed Wiskowski, Ron Starr & T. John Tibedeaux (1/79)

 

I'm guessing with Rose and Wiskowski involved and with Piper there, this has to have been in Portland. The Samoans seem to be wearing skirts this evening. T. John Tibedeaux is a massively fat guy in dungarees along the lines of an Uncle Elmer or Haystacks Calhoun. This battle royal is worked according to WWF Wrestlefest (the 1991 Arcade game) rules whereby you can eliminate opponents by pinning them, which the fat bastard does to someone here to kick things off. Think it might have been Piper who was pinned.

 

This match is all over the place with all of the men getting into a giant mound of flesh, a pile up you might say. Harley eliminates Ray Stevens by throwing him over the top. Rose grabs the cane of a manager and nails a Samoan but the other Samoan decks him. Samoans seem to be getting babyface pops here.

 

It comes down to Race, Afa, Rose and I want to say Ron Starr, who uses some knucks on Rose. He does the bob and weave and Rose sells for him like a pro. He's busted open and has severe colour. Meanwhile, Race and the Samoan are just kind of there.

 

Afa is pounding on Race as Starr is pounding on Rose. Atomic drop by Starr. Slam by Afa. Double cover. Rose is eliminated but Race kicks out. And the camera misses Race eliminating the Samoan.

 

Then Starr just backdrops Race over the top and celebrates like he's won the World Cup.

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I'm skipping the David Von Erich match from St. Louis because I can't bear to watch that bitchfest again. We reviewed it on the St. Louis Titans special if you want to hear my thoughts on it.

 

vs. Rick Martel (JIP – 6/79)

 

This is from Australia with the comically stereotypical commentator again. He just makes the thing seem like a spoof, takes me out of things. Ha ha.

 

The ref is bald and built like a bowling ball. Race has been on top so far, but Martel comes back with strikes. He misses a flying bodypress though. "Race too cunning for Martel" says the commentator. I could get into this guy.

 

Stalling vertical suplex gets the three for Race. That match, from the few minutes we say, looked like it was worked with Race being a bit stronger.

 

vs. Giant Baba (10/31/79)

 

My buddy Pete has noted that Race worked differently in Japan from the way he worked in the territories, that he worked much less of a bitch. Well let's keep that in mind as we watch this one.

 

There are so many grey suits in the crowd that they look black and white.

 

Big boot from Baba to start sends Race 360 taking one of his trademark bumps (which we weirdly haven't seen thus far). Side headlock by Baba. I always worry for Baba's arms in situations like this, they look like they might snap.

 

Slam by Baba. Headlock takeover. Sits in the headlock again, but not for long. Race comes back and goes for a piledriver which Baba reverses. Can never get over Baba's weird body, he doesn't look human.

 

Race tries to power out of the headlock. BRAINBASTER BRAINBASTER! No, Baba falls on top of Race for two. Russian legsweep by Baba. Bodyslam. Headlock takeover. And back into the headlock. I'll give Baba this: he's making this headlock a hell of a lot more interesting than Steamboat's was. He's wrenching on it and grimacing.

 

Race comes back with a neckbreaker. Piledriver. Oooh, I bet that hurt the top of his head. Knee drops across Baba's cheek now. Race twists on Baba's neck now as if he's going to do a swinging neckbreaker, but just twists it. Baba goes for the headlock again but Race battering rams him. Side salto suplex by Race and a beauty! Gut wrench suplex now ... no! Reversed by Baba!

 

Double stomp spot by Baba. Nasty. Chops now in the turnbuckle. Irish whip and Race flips to the outside in another of his signiture bumps. He goes for the piledriver outside but Baba reverses. That is one of the most telegraphed of all old-school spots. They never hit that piledriver outside.

 

Back in and Baba covers. Feet on the ropes. Baba misses a drop kick and lands on the mat like a heap of bones. Big kneedrop from Race. And again. Baba bails. The crowd are in chorus with "Baaaaba Baaaaba"

 

Race goes after him and pounds on him outside. Rolls him back in. Vertical suplex and a beauty. Baba has colour. Falling headbutt. Back outside and Race goes to post Baba but it's reversed and Harley eats the steel. Race now has the crimson mask.

 

Back in and Baba levels him with a palm. And again. And again. Cover gets one because Race got a leg on the rope. He does that so often, what a wily veteran. Race gets on the top rope but is caught and slammed. Baba fires up and the crowd goes wild. Running lariat! And that gets three for the title.

 

Well this was fucking phenomenal and one of the best matches of the 1970s that I've seen. About ****1/2, but a shade ahead of the Jumbo match from 78.

 

It just goes to show that Race can bring it when he wants to, and when he works a more even contest, he can be part of great matches. Would recommend this one to anyone.

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vs. Giant Baba (11/7/79)

 

The inevitable rematch a week or two later. I'm thinking that Race and Baba had really good chemistry. Race hits a backbreaker and multiple kneedrops to start. Chinlock. Snapmare. Back to the chinlock.

 

Baba takes over. Standing powerslam. Side headlock takeover into a headlock. Russian leg sweep. Standing powerslam. Headlock takeover into a headlock. Baba's control here is a bit rinse-repeat. Some struggle from Harley now but then Baba hits a massive back suplex and his powerslam and then back to the headlock. Baba seems a bit more content to sit in this headlock tonight, but he's using it as a pin attempt too.

 

Race goes for an atomic drop but Baba seems to break the fall and hits one of his own. Race takes a tumble to outside. He's slammed back in. Baba with some Ron Garvin-style stomps now. And back to the headlock. He's spent too much of this match sitting in that for my tastes.

 

Given that the headlock is going on so long, I want to educate my American and Candadian readers by introducing you to the savoury snack we have here in the UK known as twiglets.

 

british-twiglets-snacks-case-of-30x-45g-

 

twiglets_el_26mar12_rex_b_639x426.jpg

 

It is these that Baba's arms always put me in mind of. Action goes to the outside and Race goes for his piledriver which is always reversed, and this is no exception. Swinging neckbreaker by Baba. Pin, but Race has his foot on the ropes. I seem to type that so often!

 

Piledriver by Baba. Cover. Foot on the ropes. Headbutt by Race. Falling headbutt. Kneedrop. Cover. You're not going to beat a man like Baba without hooking the leg, Jess.

 

Couple of right palms from Baba send Race down. Gutwrench suplex by Race! Piledriver! Cover only gets two. Kneedrops. Falling headbutt misses. Big boot sends Race down. He comes back with a punch but Baba hits the Hogan-style big boot from the Irish whip. Massive kneedrop. Race has got colour from that, I wonder if it was hardway.

 

Palm sends Race down again. Another Hogan big boot. Side Russian leg sweep. Cover, but Race has a foot on the ropes. What's new? We get shots of Race's wife and kid in the crowd. She also made an appearance at that press conference in Florida. Race goes to the top rope but is slammed off. He goes for a diving bodypress but Race gets his knees up. I worry about Baba's twiglet torso.

 

Piledriver by Race. Only two. Suplex attempt reversed into a neckbreaker by Baba. Cover gets two. Race is really bloodied at this point. Thesz press by Baba! Gets two. Baba goes up to the top. Hits the flying bodypress but the execution is terrible, the momentum was meant to send Race over but they botch it horribly and Race awkwardly positions himself over for the three count to regain his title.

 

Well this had its moments but is nothing compared to the last match. The headlock spots by Baba go on forever and the finish is just atrocious. There's a good hot spell before that though.

 

About ***

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This tape starts in Harley Race's office. Chris Owens is our host. Harley looks pissed off, but that's just his face. They are going to be watching some old film footage and Harley is going to talk us through some of the matches.

Harley Race vs. Bob Backlund (1976)

This is from St. Louis. It's a lumberjack match. Race says that Backlund was very strong and had tremendous leg strength. He tells a story about how he used to ride a bicycle 13 miles every day to the gym in Tampa. Bob Giegel (RIP) and Ox Baker (RIP) are two of the lumberjacks.

In the ring there has been a lot of action. Backlund has been slamming Race around but Harley gives him a vertical suplex. Gutwrench suplex. Side slam by Backlund. There's a lot of clipping here so it's hard to call, but the VQ is really good. Multiple headbutts by Race. Goes for a suplex but Bob lands on top of him. Big elbow by Backlund sends Race flopping to the mat. Race says that the canvas in St. Louis was just like concrete.

Not really going to rate this, but it was interesting to see the amount of ACTION here. Hard to say how much was cut but it didn't look like there was much downtime in this one. Backlund seemed to be showing a lot more vulnerability and selling a lot more than we would see him in New York, adding some credence to Johnny's and Pete's theories about why he was such a complete douche up there. That said, he seemed to be guzzling up his fair share of this one too.

Harley Race vs. Rocky Johnson (1976)

This is also from St. Louis. This was obviously later in the year because Harley's hair is a good bit longer, and he has a full moustache. He had short hair and a stubbly beard in the last one. Race says that Rocky Johnson had a lot of quirks and was afraid of a lot of things, including snakes. One time in Macon, Race threw a rubber snake into his room. Race claims that Rocky Johnson had more ability in the ring than his son, The Rock. Johnson has been dominating the action here with a headlock and headlock takeovers. Gutwrench suplex by Race. Kneedrop onto his head. Cover gets one. Slugfest back and forth now. Elbow drop by Race. Vertical suplex. Slam off the top of the ring. Race points out that the ring didn't move one bit and maintains it's the hardest ring he's ever wrestled in. Cover gets two. Backbreaker by Race. Kneedrop. Match ends up as a draw.

Again too clipped for a rating, but man this one seemed like it had even more ACTION than the last one. Very back and forth match with a ton of high spots. Of all the 70s workers, Harley seems like by far the most action-orientated. I think you could make an argument that he is even more action-oritentated than Flair.

Harley Race vs. Terry Gibbs (1977)

This is from All-Star Wrestling. The caption incorrectly says that this is vs. Terry Funk in St. Louis. We go to the original commentary. Gutwrench suplex by Race. Front facelock. Slam by Gibbs. Back suplex by Race. Great knee drop. Head scissors takedown by Race. Gibbs tries to handstand out of it. Back up. Race resorts to the thumb to the eye. Piledriver! Only gets two! Kneedrop. Vertical suplex! And that's all she wrote here.

Pretty standard studio squash with Race showing off his big bombs. Good for what it is.

**1/2

Harley Race vs. Dick Murdoch (6/16/78)

Where's this Funk match we were promised? This is completely silent now. I guess Race isn't going to be commentating on everything.

Murdoch is on top as we join things and he looks like he's giving Race a real pasting with a lot of great looking punches and stomps. Finally Race catches Murdoch with a punch and he does some of the most ridiculous jelly-legs "drunk" cartoon selling you will ever see. Murdoch gets back on top and eventually Race eats a pin for the first fall. As he's recovering on the mat, Murdoch starts doing star jumps. Sleeper by Race now! But he ends up eating turnbuckle. Atomic drop by Race but he misses the diving headbutt. Big clothesline by Race. And he manages to get Murdoch over for the second fall.

Third fall and Murdoch is back on top. Elbow drop. Dumps Race outside, but he manages to get back in and steal a pin.

If we had this in full, this looks like it would be a really good match. I think Murdoch and Race are comparable workers in some ways.

Harley Race vs. Terry Funk (4/7/78)

Finally, here it is! Race is on commentary again. He runs through the three members of the Funk family. He calls Dory Sr the king of the rattle snakes. Dory Jr, he says, could wrestle as well as anyone whose ever laced up a pair of boots. And Terry was a combination of the two: one hell of a wrestler and tough as tough could be. He says that the scar above his eye came from a Russian chain match he once had with Terry. The match going on in the ring looks pretty exciting as Race takes the first fall. Terry has the short hair here. Shinbreaker by Race. Indian deathlock by Race. Diving headbutt. Piledriver. Terry runs into the post. Race mentions that the referee in this match reffed about 90% of the title bouts in that era and that they'd send him absolutely everywhere, but Race can't remember his name! Race takes the second fall after a coupe of piledrivers.

Again if we had this in full, it looks like it would have been a good one. It's clear to see from these clippings, though, that Race was quite "go go go" in a way. But it wouldn't be fair to say that he lacks psychology, because he focused all his offense in this one on Terry's neck.

We get an interview now. Bill Kersten is on the mic and Race has the NWA title. This seems like it is from St. Louis. Race says that if Bruiser is the toughest guy around, why isn't he world champ? Good point Harley. Race says that Dick has been chasing that title for longer than anyone can remember but he's not been able to win it, but Race has! Again, hard to argue with him. Race says that he's the cock of the walk. Good promo. Then again since everything has been from St. Louis so far, maybe this was from St. Louis.

Harley Race vs. Dick the Bruiser (8/11/78)

This is from St. Louis. Hiptoss by Brusier. Race mentions that Dick used to play football for the Green Bay Packers. Race goes for a suplex but Bruiser falls on top of him. Big punch by Bruiser. Post shot by Bruiser. First fall goes to Race. Kneedrop by Race. Punches back and forth. Goes outside. Back in. Pinfall by Bruiser for 1-1. Bruiser slams Race into a table outside. Race has colour. Another slam on the table. Race says that Dick didn't know a wristlock from a wrist watch when it came to wrestling ability, but he didn't need to.

This didn't look very good because Dick the Bruiser was shit.

Another interview now from Race. This time he's talking to Ted DiBiase. He says that just because he has people around him right now telling him how great he is, he reminds him that it took Race 16 years to become world champion. He says that people are infalting DiBiase's head like a balloon. "Don't let that big head overload your backside!" Race says that he's been in his position and he knows where he's coming from. Race tells him to bring it, because he doesn't care how good a young wrestler he is, because he's "the king of that squared circle". Really good promo.

Harley Race & Bob Brown vs. Ted DiBiase & Paul Orndorff (12/78)

This is the St. Louis match I've reviewed numberous times before on here and in audio form (Titans St. Louis special). But here it is with an alternate camera angle with Race on commentary, so I'll watch it just to see what Race says. He mentions that at this time both Orndorff and DiBiase were working for Leroy McGuirk. And Bob Brown was working Kansas City for himself and Bob Giegel. He says that DiBiase was a fabulous young wrestler and that his father died in his arms in Lubbock, Texas. He first met DiBiase when he was 11 years old. Race says that Orndorff was a fabulous football player who turned down several pro contract offers to become a wrestler because that's what he wanted to do. Race says that St. Louis Wrestling at the Chase is the most recognisable of all the wrestling TV shows. He says that he worked all over the world and more people ask him about Wrestling at the Chase than any other show, including MSG or the Cow Palace. Race that Bob Brown was a "Dick the Bruiser-style guy, only not nearly as rugged or strong as Dick". He talks about how him and Bob Giegel were tag champs for a long time. He talks about how you can technically do anything you want within the four count, and whether the people like it or not, it's legal.

I've just realised that this commentary by Race is more or less 100% kayfabed. He mentions Orndorff was a trainer at the WCW Power Plant.

This remains a pretty good match in the ***3/4 range.

Harley Race vs. Ted DiBiase (1/79)

Well this is one I haven't seen before. It's Ted's title match following that tag from The Chase. Silent footage here with no commentary. Ted goes for an early figure four but Harley punches him off. Ted works the leg some more. Eye rake breaks it for Harley. Big bodyslam by Ted and back to the leg. He twists the angkle around. Harley tries to come back with a headlock but Ted gives him a back suplex. And now, figure-four! That gets the first fall and Ted gives us a fist pump in celebration.

Second fall and Ted stays on top until Harley goes to the eyes again to send him staggering. He tries to go for the figure four again but Harley nails him in the stomach and sends him into the turnbuckle. Kneedrop. Ted comes back with a shinbreaker but as he goes for the figure-four, Race gets an inside cradle to make it 1-1.

Third fall and Race catches Ted in the bread basket. Goes for a piledriver but Ted backdrops his way out. Slugfest now. Ted gets the better of it with some great looking punches. Abdominal stretch by DiBiase now. Once again Race goes to the eyes. He's playing this one extremely dirty. DiBiase hits a piledriver. Swinging neckbreaker! Cover is broken because Race has his feet in the ropes. Race is standing and swinging but is dazed. Ted swings and misses and Race gets an atomic drop. Ted goes for the figure-four yet again but Race kicks him off sending him all the way through to the post where Ted blows his shoulder. Irish whip into the corner, but Ted jumps up onto the second rope and back down for a crossbody but the momentum swings Race over for the pin.

Well this was pretty cool to see. DiBiase was booked extremely strongly here and Race seemed to give him an awful lot. This is your typical "babyface was dominant, but heel champ has too much cunning and sneaks out with a win" narrative. Again, if we had this in full, it looks like it would have been a really good match. These matches all look like potential ****+ affairs, but without seeing the whole thing, it's hard to say. Both guys sold big here. And watching Ted and his offense setting up the figure-four, I've got to wonder if Jack Brisco wasn't a big influence on him too. Young DiBiase is another guy I'd point to as a "post-Brisco" babyface, there are quite a lot of similarities.

Harley Race vs. Bruiser Brody (3/23/79)

Again this is St. Louis. And we have Race talking over it again. Race mentions that St. Louis was the only place in the world where Brody was known as "King Kong Brody", and that's because Muchnick would only allow one "Bruiser", Dick the Bruiser. Race says that while Brody was a big rugged guy, he was also a "cheap shot guy". Big slam by Brody. Stomp. Kneedrop. Stomp. Headlock takeover. Race mentions that at one time Brody held the world legpress record. He says he could wrestle but preferred to brawl. Kneedrop on the head. Dropkick by Race! Gutwrench suplex. Race mentions that there weren't a lot of moves in wrestling that he couldn't do, he just chose not to do a lot of them. He mentions that you wouldn't always see him do a dropkick, for example, but here against Brody the time was appropriate for it. Quite interesting!

Kneedrop from the second rope by Brody and that gets the first fall. Race talks about how Invader 1 is still a free man today and how he didn't even spend one night in jail. Headbutt by Race. Vertical suplex by Race. Knee. Snapmare. Misses a headbutt.

Race takes some time to tell a story about The Sheik. After Race's wife was killed only a month after they got married, and Race was recovering from the car accident, apparently the Sheik sent Race a paycheck every single month for 18 months. When Race started wrestling again, he told the Sheik that he wouldn't be able to pay him back all at once. Sheik said that he didn't give him the money to be paid back, he gave it to him because he needed it. Pretty nice guy. His son tells the same story on 57talk.com. Race says that you look at a tape of the Sheik and you'd think there's no way a guy like that could do such a nice thing ... "too bad you can't say the same thing about this guy". Safe to say that Race was not the biggest Brody fan in the world.

Brody has been on top for the last bit with kneedrops. But Race steals the pin. "There's not too many people who can say they beat Bruiser Brody in St. Louis".

Brody had his working boots on for this one, but I could still tell this wasn't up to the standard of Race's matches vs. Backlund, Murdoch, Rocky Johnson, Terry Funk, and DiBiase. Looked better than the Dick the Bruiser match though, mainly because Brody could take Race's high artillery offense, where Bruiser couldn't.

Harley Race vs. David Von Erich (6/15/79)

Yet again St. Louis. Race looks a bit like Santa Claus in his red robe. Backbreaker by Race. Piledriver! David counters a neckbraker attempt and gets a slam on. Race dumps David. Stops him gets back in. Goes for a suplex back in, but David slips behind him. Claw! Race on commentary runs through all the grissly Von Erich deaths, while David grabs the first fall.

Race says that of all the von Erichs, David was the "best wrestler by far" and would have been a great one had he lived. Race misses a headbutt. David punches Race and goes to the claw again. Harley comes back with pinches. Thesz press! But Race leans back and gullotines David on the top rope. Nice sequence. This has wiped David out and drained all of his momentum. Race capitalises.

Race claims that only David and Fritz could use the claw effectively. Says that the others' hands weren't big enough to do it correctly. Race mentions that he has a decent grip himself but his fingers aren't long enough to do the claw. Back to the match and he's got a front facelock on. Back up and goes for a suplex. Reversed! Backdrop! Claw! Race goes to a gut punch, but he keeps the claw on. David gets tied up in the ropes and blows his leg out. Race targets the leg and gets the pin. Race on commentary mentions that if he sees an opponent has hurt a body part, he'll target it. He wasn't like the Andersons who would pick a part and go after it, he wanted to see what was going to happen and pick his sports DURING the match. Some pretty interesting psychology talk there.

David is so injured that he can't continue, so the match is stopped at 1-1.

This looked like a really excellent little match here with some great psychology. Having Race on commentary to provide some extra insight was nice too. But David was great at selling here, and Race stooged for him in the early going and then was the consummate opportunistic dick heel later on. The spot where David gets hotshotted over the top after going for a Thesz press is really great and then later on it's the rope again that screws his leg up. Good storytelling here. I think these St. Louis matches show that you can't underestimate missing footage. Race looks like he was having very good to great matches with everyone here. If only some of them were full! I think these are "full enough" to get a decent feel though. You can follow the narrative and see the level of action. The clipping is not too bad.

Harley Race vs. Kevin Von Erich (2/22/80)

Again St. Louis. Harley mentions that Kevin was the only Von Erich to wrestle barefooted and partly this was because he resembled Argentina Rocca in his body type and way he worked. Kevin works a headlock. Slams by Kevin and a headlock take over. Backbreaker by Race! Kevin runs and gets a body scissors. Is that a submission for the first fall? Apparently not.

Kevin goes back to the body scissors. Makes sense. Bodyslam. Headlock. Headbutt by Race to come back. Tries to piledriver but takes a backdrop. Headlock by Kevin. Dropkick. Vertical suplex by Race. "Kitchen sink" by Race. Goes for another suplex but Kevin slips back over and goes to a chinlock. Shoulder charge to the gut by Race. Knee to the gut. Punches by Kevin. Knee again by Race. Dropkick by Kevin. Race talks about how he was targeting the abdomen here. And Race gets the pin for the only fall and win.

This didn't look that good to me. Kevin seemed intent on working a lot of holds, but it looked boring.

Suite of intereviews from Race now on Backlund before their 1980 match. "They call me king around New York, well they call me king AROUND THE WORLD". Great promo. But there's no way in hell that I'm going to watch that fucking travesty of a match again. Absolutely no way.

Harley Race vs. Kerry Von Erich (9/11/81)

Final match from this tape and it's St. Louis once again. Race mentions that Kerry was going to go to the Olympics to throw javelin had Jimmy Carter not boycotted the Olympics. Race mentions that Fritz HATED Jimmy Carter because of that. Race goes for a gutwrench suplex which is blocked. Headlock takeover. Kerry works this headlock now. I have to say that none of the Von Erichs are particularly compelling at working a headlock. Bodyslam by Kerry. Harley dumps him out of the ring. Goes after him but Kerry reverses a piledriber into a backdrop. Race seems to have colour. Back in and a snapmare from Kerry. Shot to the breadbasket by Race. Shot to the face. Swinging neckbreaker. Dropkick by Kerry. Sleeper! Dropkick! Kerry goes for a splash but Race gets the knees up. He goes over and locks his legs to take the win.

Again, this match didn't look that great to me.

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Think that's it:

 

Harley Race vs. Ric Flair (GCW, early 80s)

Harley Race vs. Ric Flair (2/28/82)

Harley Race vs. Ric Flair (End clip – 6/10/83, Harley wins his seventh NWA World Title)

Harley Race vs. Ric Flair (8/31/83)

Harley Race vs. Ric Flair in a “Steel Cage Match” (Starrcade)

Harley Race vs. Ric Flair (5/22/84)

Harley Race vs. Ric Flair (7/19/84)

Harley Race vs. Ric Flair (2/24/85)

 

This is assuming that the Harley comp I have is complete. The Flair one has obvious gaps.

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