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YouTube Finds: Harley Race has a proposition for you

November 22nd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
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Harley Race ended Ric Flair’s first NWA World title run with a victory in a best-of-three falls bout in St. Louis on June 10, 1983, for a record-breaking seventh championship reign, eclipsing the legendary Lou Thesz, who had six runs with the most prestigious belt in the business. Race had pushed hard for one last run as champion to boost attendance for his struggling Heart of America Wrestling territory, in which he had invested hundreds of thousands of dollars.  (Race would get an eighth NWA title win the next year, trading the belt with Flair in New Zealand.) Over the next few months in a series of rematches between Race and Flair, the heat was turned up Mid-Atlantic style, as Jim Crockett Promotions built up a return cage match for Thanksgiving night in Greensboro as part of the biggest card in the history of the territory, Starrcade ’83.

There was the incredible drama of the “local boy” going for the strap in his backyard, which was enhanced by fact that the Nature Boy had won the NWA belt the first time away from his home territory. To make matters more personal, Race put on a bounty on Flair’s bleached-blonde head, offering $25,000 to anyone who would eliminate his most persistent challenger. Race closed the offer growling, “Someone take the damn money!”  (Later, Race had to stress that he meant the offer was only open to wrestlers–not just any redneck in the Carolinas with an itchy trigger finger and bills to pay.) Years later, Triple H would cut a very similar promo, offering a bounty on Goldberg–presumably fearing that the former WCW champion wouldn’t be able to keep up with him in the ring.

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