Wrestling: Harley Race

During one of his eight reigns as NWA World Heavyweight Champion

Harley Race (b. 1943 in Quitman, MO) is a retired American Professional Wrestler and current promoter and trainer best known for his 8 reigns as NWA World Heavyweight Champion during the 1970s and 1980s. He started in Missouri as a teenager before moving to Memphis and wrestling under the name Jack Long and teaming with his "brother" John Long. Over time, he competed for, obviously, many National Wrestling Alliance territories, for the American Wrestling Association, for Stampede Wrestling, and for All Japan Pro Wrestling, before he started winding down his career in WWE in the late 1980s. He retired from active competition in 1991 and became a manager in WCW, most famously for Lex Luger, and, especially, Big Van Vader. He is also the promoter of World League Wrestling in Missouri. He was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996 and into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004. He is also on the list of wrestlers who had slammed André the Giant prior to Hulk Hogan doing it at WrestleMania III.

As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.

"Handsome Tropes":

  • Afro Asskicker: Just look at the photo.
  • Arch-Enemy: Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Dick The Bruiser and The Crusher, Junkyard Dog, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan; (as a manager): Sting, Cactus Jack, Ron Simmons
  • As Himself: As the ring announcer in the 2007 film Mil Mascaras Vs. the Aztec Mummy.
  • Awesome McCool Name: It's his real name, too.
  • Badass: Probably one of the top five legitly toughest guys in the history of the business. One of only two people Andre the Giant was afraid of, the other being Meng.
  • Bash Brothers: Larry "The Ax" Hennig, Roger Kirby, Bob Roop
  • Blonde Guys Are Evil: His stint as "The King" Harley Race in WWF, and his time as Vader's manager in WCW.
  • Cool Teacher:Some of the wrestlers who have trained under him are Richie Steamboat, Curtis Axel and Ted DiBiase Jr.
  • Determinator: Early in his career, he was in a car accident that killed his wife, and resulted in the near amputation of his leg. After his leg was saved, he was told that he might never walk again. The rest of the story tells itself.
  • Detractor Nickname: In-universe example; The Crusher would call Harley Race and Larry "The Ax" Hennig "The Dolly Sisters", due to their then-fairly pretty looks, especially by 1960's standards.
  • Dirty Coward: In 1983, he tried to retire Ric Flair by putting a bounty on him.
  • Expy: Some have compared the pairing of CM Punk and Paul Heyman to that of Race and Bobby Heenan.
  • Finishing Move:
    • Fisherman's Suplex
    • Diving Headbutt- He innovated this, though he later said that he wished he hadn't due to the physical toll it took on other wrestlers who adopted it.
    • Piledriver
  • Heel: His primary role.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: His beginnings were humble even by pro wrestling standards - he started out in the business as the guy who had to drive around Happy Humphrey, a comedy wrestler who's main gimmick was that he weighed close to 800 pounds.
  • I Hit You, You Hit the Ground: "If I hit him with my left [hand] and he doesn't go down, I will walk around him to see what's holding him up."
  • I Was Quite The Looker: His days as "Handsome" Harley Race, alongside the then-equally good looking Larry Hennig. Ironically, neither man would hit the big time until after losing their youthful looks.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Has gone on record to say that he wished he had never invented the diving headbutt, as it has lead to spinal and brain injuries for those who have used it (Dynamite Kid, Chris Benoit, etc.).
  • Power Stable: The Heenan Family in WWE
  • Real Song Theme Tune: (as "The King" in WWE): Modest Mussorgsky's "The Bogatyr Gates (in the Capital in Kiev)" (from his famous piano suite Pictures At An Exhibition. It's the same music Haku used during his run as the "King of the WWF" and that Jerry "The King" Lawler has used his whole time in WWE.
  • Red Baron: "Handsome," "The King"
  • Retired Badass: Needed a cane just to stand by 2014 in Pro Wrestling Noah, but there was a reason they had him announce his seal of approval prior to putting on their GHC Championship matches. Okay, a reason might be that his own promotion WLW and NOAH are both part of the Global Pro Wrestling Alliance but that's not the reason they had him do it in person.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: He and Vader knew better than to stick around when an enraged Madusa started kicking Paul E. Dangerously's ass after he fired her from the Dangerous Alliance and went off on a sexist rant at WCW Halloween Havoc 92.note 
  • Stun Guns
    • Used one to keep Cactus Jack down for a 10-count in his Texas Death Match against Vader at WCW Halloween Havoc 93.
    • During his stint as Vader's manager, there is a story about Race using a stun gun on a naked Vader to get him to hurry his ass out of the shower so they could hit the road. Even for a man Vaders size, getting tazered while naked and wet must have hurt quite a bit.
  • Wrestling Family: His son, Leland, wrestles in various Missouri-based independent promotions, including his father's.