by Harley Race with Gerry Tritz
Hardback: 250 pages
A true legend, Harley Race has enjoyed almost unparalleled success in the world of professional wrestling. Having turned pro in 1959 at the age of 15, his work ethic and innovative style allowed him to become one of the three biggest names in wrestling during the 1970s and early 80s. He won the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) championship on eight occasions and was dubbed World Wrestling Entertainments first King of the Ring in 1986. In the autobiography King of the Ring, Harley Race tells his incredible life story for the first time.
In addition to his legendary ring career, Harley Race also became a successful promoter in the Midwest during the mid 80s with a wrestling organization seen on 13 television stations covering five states. Although injuries and a car accident in 1995 effectively ended his wrestling career, he decided to give back to the sport he loved. Race opened the World League Wrestling (WLW) organization in 1999, which serves both as a training camp and as a touring organization for young wrestlers.
King of the Ring explores Races life and career, both in and out of the ring, detailing everything from the grind of traveling 300 days a year to the glory of being a world champion. From the pitfalls and vices associated with professional wrestling to overcoming career-threatening injuries and the death of his first wife, the Harley Race readers will meet in King of the Ring is as candid as he is successful.
Excerpt from book:
Rikidozans Japan Pro Wrestling had split off into two groups: Antonio Inokis New Japan Pro Wrestling and Babas All Japan Pro Wrestling. Baba and Inoki were in a hard-fought battle to control wrestling in Japan. Baba already had the edge in profits and name recognition. He was a two-time NWA world champion, winning the belt on December 2, 1974, from Jack Brisco and then on October 31, 1979, from me. His last run as titleholder lasted two weeks before I won it back.
Now, a year later, I was on tour in Japan and wanted to do whatever I could to help my friend keep his operation the No. 1 wrestling organization in Japan.
In a secluded Japanese steakhouse, I said to Baba: How would you like to take the belt from me? Baba and I were scheduled to wrestle the next night.
Youre kidding? Baba responded.
Of course, he knew I had to be joking, since the NWA hadnt scheduled a title change during this trip to Japan. An unscheduled belt switch was taboo. It was like throwing the World Series: You just didnt do it. And if you did, you had better have a damn good reason for letting your opponent pin you. Being decapitated by a vicious clothesline might be acceptable, for instance.
No, Im not kidding, I responded with just a trace of a mischievous smile. At this point, Baba knew I was serious, and that I was offering him a rare favor. He wasnt about to turn it down.
It actually was a clothesline that Baba used for his finishing move on me. His huge outstretched arm caught me right along my neck, stopping my upper body like hitting a wall, while my feet kept flying forward until they were parallel with the rest of my body in the air. Then my entire 260-pound frame came crashing to the mat. Baba covered me for the three-count and the Saga, Japan, crowd went nuts.