WWE Hall of Famer on RAW's move to USA
During RAW's Oct. 3 Homecoming on USA Network, WWE will pay tribute to many of the Legends who helped pave the way for all of WWE's future success. WWE.com will be posting interviews with many of these Legends as we recognize the vital role they played well before RAW ever became the landmark show of sports-entertainment.
A seven-time holder of the NWA World Championship between 1973 and 1983, Harley Race set a record that stood until Ric Flair broke it in 1991. To this day, only a handful of individuals can claim to have won more World Championships than Harley Race. He finally joined WWE during the company's national expansion, and was introduced to a new generation of sports-entertainment fans worldwide as "The King" Harley Race. Clad in regal robes and a crown, he faced the late Junkyard Dog in a memorable encounter at WrestleMania III, and was the one of the earliest King of the Ring winners, years before that event became an annual pay-per-view spectacular.
WWE.com was able to contact Race about his appearance and various other topics, including why in the world did WCW let Steve Austin and Triple H go? Here's an exclusive interview with Race as RAW counts down to one of the most-anticipated shows ever:
WWE.com: How do you feel about RAW's move back to USA Network?
Race: I think USA has to be considered the No. 1 or No. 2 cable network there is today, so that can only be a good thing. And the product WWE makes is absolutely excellent. Getting back on USA is a real good move.
WWE.com: How much are you looking forward to being at the show Oct. 3?
Race: It's going to be fun to be back in the Dallas area. For years I wrestled there on a semi-regular basis. It's going to be great to walk out with my peers and hear the reaction of the crowd again. I'm just honored to be a part of it.
WWE.com: Who are you looking forward to seeing again or seeing for the first time?
Race: I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of the guys who are going to be there, especially Triple H. We still talk now and then and I often send him old tapes of myself.
WWE.com: You were in WCW when Steve Austin and Triple H were just starting out, what are your impressions of what they've done since?
Race: Well, I have no earthly idea why WCW let both those guys go. Those were two of the greatest young pieces of talent in the business and you're going to let them go because you can't find a spot for them? It was absolutely stupid.
Both of those guys (Austin & Triple H) had the talent to get where they got, and along with that, they were incredibly lucky. You have to find the right spot at the right time. A lot of young guys don't deserve the breaks they get. For instance, you had that guy who left to play football (Brock Lesnar). That's how some guys are. But these two were confident from the get go and had the confidence in themselves to take advantage of the break when it came their way.
WWE.com: Which Superstars really catch your eye these days?
Race: I have great respect for all of the guys who have made it there. Of course, Triple H. Kurt Angle is another fantastic talent. I don't know him too well, but you can just watch him and appreciate what he does.
WWE.com: You trained both Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch, what do you think about them capturing the World Tag Team Championship?
Race: Again, it's when talent meets opportunity. Trevor is an excellent kid who was with me since day one. He's a great talent and I couldn't be happier or prouder of the two of them. I think they could be around for a long time.
WWE.com: You were part of RAW in April of 2004 when Randy Orton spit in your face. Any thoughts on that appearance?
Race: I wish my arm was just six inches longer. I just missed tagging him in the face. That would have been nice. But I still remember how great the crowd was and the terrific atmosphere.
WWE.com: Do you think there is a spot for WWE legends on RAW or other shows moving forward?
Race: I'm sure there is a way to fit some of us in moving forward, but I'm perfectly happy with my time there and how it ended. We've had our day. When I came to WWE I was in my early 40s and should have been on my way out. Instead, I was on my way up because Vince (McMahon) realized I still had something left. I have nothing but good things to say about my time there.