National Wrestling Hall of Fame

Inductee: Harley Race

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Born in Missouri, Harley Race worked his way up through the ranks to become one of the best-known wrestlers of his generation. Beginning his pro career in 1959, he has won so many titles it is hard to keep track of them all. He and Larry Hennig were AWA world tag team champions in the 1960s, and Harley went on to claim the NWA world heavyweight championship on eight different occasions. He won it for the first time on May 24, 1973, from Dory Funk, Jr.

Known as “Handsome Harley Race” for much of his career, the Missouri native was one of the ring’s best brawlers, taking on everyone from coast to coast. Entering the WWF in the mid-1980s, Race was managed by Bobby Heenan. He won the King of the Ring title in 1986.

Harley wrestled in the WCW in the early 1990s and then retired to become a trainer of aspiring pro wrestlers, running a camp in his native Missouri. He later formed the WLW (World League Wrestling) and became a booker and promoter, operating mostly in the Midwest.

For nearly three decades, Harley Race battled all the top stars in wrestling, from Verne Gagne to Ric Flair and earned recognition as one of the top wrestlers of all time.