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Harley wrote a lot of really nice stuff about Haku in his book. About how he did a lot of Hartley's spots, and wrestled a similar style. 

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6 hours ago, Brian Fowler said:

Harley wrote a lot of really nice stuff about Haku in his book. About how he did a lot of Hartley's spots, and wrestled a similar style. 

There's a fairly infamous match from Abilene, Texas where the local hero, Don Slayton, tried to double cross Harley and claim the NWA title. Harley was saved in part because the referee knew the finish and didn't ring the bell until Harley had won it back.

That referee was a young trainee on loan from All Japan named Uliuli Fifita. Yes, Haku.

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Here's the Slatton/Race story from Meltz.

Quote

In wrestling folklore, Slatton is best known for a May 10, 1978, match, on a show he promoted in Abilene, where he faced Harley Race for the NWA title in a chain match.

Slatton, better known as The Lawman, was billed locally as never having lost a chain match, and because he was facing Race under his rules, there was a big push that the hometown star was going to win the world title, and the crowd was way up from usual.

Race’s version of the story is that he got a phone call earlier in the day from Bob Geigel, the promoter in Kansas City, Race’s home territory and Race’s business partner at the time, asking if he was working with Slatton that night. When Race told him he was, Geigel told Race not to show up, saying he had been tipped off that Slatton was going to use the chain match rules of touching all four corners to try and steal the title. Race told Geigel not to worry because he was Harley Race. Some wrestlers might get double-crossed, but Race was one of the most feared real street fighters in the game, as opposed to Slatton, who was a tough guy in his youth, but was in his mid-40s by that time and nobody messed in those days with Race.

Race joked to Geigel that surely Slatton wouldn’t be that stupid to try something like that on him.

Race’s version of the story is that the finish he got in the dressing room from the runners (usually the officials, who would go between the face and heel dressing room as in those days everyone was kept separate) was that Slatton would drag him to three corners, and be on the verge of winning, struggling to hit the fourth corner, when a heel would come out and distract Slatton, who would cost Slatton the match and the title, and lead to his next program. Terry Funk would then come out for the save, but in the commotion Race would knock Slatton out with the chain and touch all four corners to win.

Everything was going as planned. The heel came out. Nobody involved seem to be able to remember who it was. Given who was on the card, it would have been Roger Kirby, Mr. Pogo, Lord Jonathan Boyd, who for some reason that name rings a bell with this story, or Rip Hawk, who had been one of Slatton’s biggest career rivals a few years earlier. Anyway, whoever it was came out, and Funk came out as well, but Slatton made sure there was slack in the chain and Race was unaware, and Slatton, instead of being distracted, touched the fourth corner. The place exploded. Slatton had just won the world heavyweight championship.

He quickly took the chain off and rushed off to the dressing room, not even taking the belt with him, figuring being in the ring with Race in that situation in his home town, where he was the local hero and had a reputation to uphold as a tough guy, was not the best idea. The fans were still celebrating and shocked, because Slatton was hardly a guy anyone expected to win the world heavyweight championship, even if this was his specialty match and it was noted he had beaten Race under chain match rules several times when both were younger in the late 60s.

The referee, a young Tongan former sumo wrestler just getting started and being trained for All Japan, using the name Tonga Fifita (who later became a star as Haku and Meng) was smart enough to know that the title wasn’t changing hands that night and even though Slatton was the guy paying him that night, never signaled for the bell. Slatton was gone and Race, first making sure the inexperienced ref wasn’t going to call the match, took off after him.

Race’s version of the story as told to people over the years is that he ran through the crowd, not even stopping to take the chain off, went to the babyface dressing room and found Slatton hiding in the shower. Race said he slapped him twice, dragged him to the ring and punched him a few times, and then dragged him around the ring, even though he no longer had the chain on, touching all four corners. Fifita then ordered for the bell, and told the ring announcer to announce that Race, and not Slatton was the winner, and still world champion. Some of the fans had left. The ones who hadn’t couldn’t figure out what they were just seeing. There had been no actual announcement made about Slatton winning since he and Race were both in the dressing room before the announcement could be made and Fifita never made the call.

In Race’s book, “King of the Ring,” the story differed slightly, with Race saying that he got to Slatton before Slatton left the ring, that he started throwing real slaps and punches, and then dragged him around the ring and Fifita called for the bell.

Race in his book claimed he then went to the babyface dressing room, where he heard Slatton and Funk laughing, opened the door and started swinging the chain, smashed lockers and chairs while Slatton curled into a ball saying, “Please, Harley, don’t hit me! Don’t hit me! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”

He claimed Funk then yelled at Slatton for trying to double-cross Race, but Race suggested that Funk may have been behind it from the beginning.

In other versions, Race said that he went back to his own dressing room, but ended up so mad, that he went back to the other side of the building. This time Slatton had locked the door, so Race kicked in the door. But Slatton was already gone, and he threw a few chairs against the wall, went back to his side of the building, then took his shower and went to the next town.

Funk said he remembered the story, but what he remembered is that after Slatton double-crossed Race, that Race went to the dressing room, knocked down the door, and Slatton was pleading with Race not to punch him, saying he lost count and thought he was touching the third turnbuckle and it was all a mistake. Race’s version was also similar, saying, “Slatton lied through his teeth, claiming it was an accident. After screaming a steam of profanities at Slatton and kicking him a couple of times, I let the poor bastard go.”

Funk said that Slatton always stuck to the story to him it was an accident, although what happened next would suggest otherwise.

Slatton had to know that he wasn’t going to be declared world champion, no matter how well the double-cross went.

The next day, the local Abilene Reporter story, likely coming from Slatton, reported that The Lawman had beaten the world champion, Race, but it had been changed to a non-title chain match.

Slatton then purchased himself a belt and billed himself locally as the world chain match champion, and started defending it on his cards. On his biggest show of the year a few months later, with a triple main event of Andre the Giant vs. The Sheik, Dory Funk Jr. & Terry Funk vs. David & Kevin Von Erich for the Texas tag team titles, Lawman defended his chain match championship against Abdullah the Butcher.

In 1979, Race was back in the territory on a card with Slatton and saw a belt on the bench in the dressing room which read, “World champion chain wrestler.” He said Slatton walked in and Race took the belt and told Slatton, “You won’t be needing this,” and left with it.

He said Slatton begged him not to take it because he spent a lot of money on it. By NWA bylaws, which could be ignored when convenient, no NWA promoter could bill someone as world champion who wasn’t the recognized NWA champion.

“There’s no earthly reason for you to have this, and I’m not leaving here without it,” Race claimed that he said to Slatton while taking the belt.

“To this day, I don’t remember what I did with the stupid belt. I just know Slatton never got it back.”

At about the same time, Abilene dried up as a wrestling city and stopped being run weekly, and instead became an every-so-often stop on the Dallas territory, with the Von Erichs replacing The Lawman and The Funks as the big stars.

By that point, The Funk Brothers, ahead of the curve of what wrestling was turning into, had sold the territory to Bob Windham (Blackjack Mulligan), Dick Murdoch and Mario Savoldi, and it died in 1981, after the new owners had suffered heavy financial losses.

 

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Posted (edited)

Poor Mulligan. People kept selling him down on their luck promotions.

No wonder he turned to counterfeiting. 

Edited by odessasteps
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Haha! I think buying in with Dick Murdoch of all people was probably a mistake too! 

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Haku as a ref is pretty wild. I'd never heard that full story before.

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I first saw Harley Race during his WWF run. As a kid I was intrigued by this strange man with tattoos down his arms - a time when tattoos represented badassery.  He was a pure heel and all my grade school buddies agreed he seemed like an 'arsehole'.  I always counted Race as a threat, and really dug that SNME battle with Hogan.  That said, I wasn't a huge fan until years later when the first Flair DVD set came out.  The promos Harley cuts on the road to Starrcade are just phenomenal.  The perfect line between menacing/real and absolutely hilarious.  I always gathered he was the real true Icon of pro wrestling amongst the wrestlers. 

Feels a bit unlikely, but I really hope WWE compiles a nice multi-disc set for Handsome Harley.  Or maybe we can just do it here freehand - any recommendation links on promos and matches from the master of the diving headbutt?

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16 minutes ago, Matt D said:

Here's the Harley vs Dory match: 

We covered it over at SC:

http://segundacaida.blogspot.com/2019/08/new-footage-friday-rip-harley-dory.html

Harley totally saves it. I've said it before (and had people jump down my throat at Wrestling Classics), but Dory jr. bored me to tears. He took the measured pace of Johnny Valentine (which was perfectly timed to seem menacing as all get out), and slowed it down to a snail's crawl. It was no longer menacing, it was just boring. For my money, all the talent in the family went to Terry.

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2 hours ago, cwoy2j said:

Haku as a ref is pretty wild. I'd never heard that full story before.

Same here. 

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Y’know, I asked a question a while back about what wrestlers other wrestlers were marks for. Brock Lesnar was the name that kept coming up. Danny Hodge was another. But looking at all these condolences from everyone from Ted Dibiase to Bubba Dudley I’d easily add Harley’s name to the list. The ultimate working champion

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What's the story about Harley Race wrestling C3PO in Mexico?

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Posted (edited)

Harley Race: "I've had to stop 2 or 3 different things. Probably one of the funnier ones was in Mexico. There was the Star Wars movie and they had that C3PO, and a guy in Mexico wrestling like him. We were supposed to go an hour at 10,000 foot altitude. He tried a couple of things and I told the referee to get his act together and get on with this. And he did, and the guy said that he would pretty well do what he wanted to do. So they ended up carrying out the yellow robot on a gurney."

In the dressing room the rest of the Mexicans weren’t happy at all with Race’s antics, but Race threw a beer bottle at a mirror and broke another bottle to lay next to him in order to keep the other wrestlers from jumping him. I’m sure they thought this was one crazy gringo.

Edited by The Great ML
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That story's in his book and it's fucking hilarious. Also in his book is the picture of him, Jack Brisco and Dory Jr. holding the NWA belt and looking like the hardest trio of all time. Same photo shoot as this but with all of them looking at the camera. It strikes fear in your heart -- Jack especially looks like he's going to kill you. 

4a53555e4dc171f1bccde910faf82bc6.jpg

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Harley Race was one of the toughest guys in any locker room he set foot in, yet he would sell like a total goofball to get his opponents over, sometimes even to his own detriment. That's the most pro wrestling thing ever. RIP to one of the greats.

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For all the bad we can say about Vince, often rightly so, this is a really classy thing to do.

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Vince was probably terrified that if he didn't pay for the transfer and Harley survived that Mr. Race would come after him like it was 1983 all over again. I keed I keed. Classy on Vince's part. That shows the respect Harley has/had in this sport.

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I wonder if it was Hunters call,given his love of Harley. 

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Probably. I remember them doing something similar for Barry Windham when he had his stroke a few years back

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Ok, the King of Trios Super Bowl...I want to see that trio of Harley, Brisco and Dory against that other European supergroup from the 70s: Andre, Karl Gotch and Billy Robinson.

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From World League Wrestling on Saturday, credit to ring announcer Ben Simon:

 

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43 minutes ago, The Great ML said:

Ok, the King of Trios Super Bowl...I want to see that trio of Harley, Brisco and Dory against that other European supergroup from the 70s: Andre, Karl Gotch and Billy Robinson.

18424093_1360198794017659_4377328705828335775_n.jpg

Have to get through these guys first...

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