On 1st of August 2019, the wrestling world united to mourn the passing of a legend, Harley Race. During his prime, he was considered by many, both critics and fellow wrestlers, to be one of the greatest wrestling minds of his generation. Considering the fact that Harley Race wrestled in the same era as Dory Funk Jr, Bruno Sammartino, Dustin Rhodes and Don Muraco, this is really high praise.
Most casual wrestling fans know him because of his “King of the Ring” gimmick, but contrary to popular belief, Race was the second wrestler to win the tournament, not the first (The first King of the Ring, Don Muraco, will make an appearance on this list).
However, he used his victory in the tournament to propel himself to greater success in the WWE (at the time known as the WWF). However, Harley Race was more than just a gimmick. He was a ring technician who could look good in both victory and defeat. According to his one-time tag team partner Vader, Harley Race had mastered the art of telling a story in the ring using his body.
In this article, we will take a look at Harley Race’s career and discuss five of his most iconic matches.
#5 Harley Race vs. Don Muraco - 1974
Before Harley Race and Don Muraco were household names in the WWF, they wrestled for a Florida based wrestling promotion known as Championship Wrestling from Florida. Don Muraco joined the company in 1974, and one of his first matches was against Harley Race.
At the time, Harley Race was a former NWA World Champion and most people expected that he would win decisively against the rookie Don Muraco as he had won in his previous matches. What people didn’t expect was how good Harley Race would make Muraco look during the match. At some points during the match, fans believed that Muraco would win in an upset victory over the former champion.
According to veteran wrestling journalist, Dave Meltzer, this match went a long way in establishing Don Muraco as a credible competitor in the eyes of the fans. The two men would go on to have more amazing matches against each other but for most people, this is the match that stands out.