The legendary Harley Race passed away this week, and the entire wrestling world has been paying tribute to the Hall of Famer.
It might sound cruel to say, but there are some wrestler deaths that seem to affect the industry more than others. Simply put, there are some men and women who had a bigger influence on the business than others. If you needed reminding how big an impact Harley Race had on the industry, you need look no further than the outpouring of heartfelt messages on social media following his passing.
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On Thursday of this week, news broke that Race had passed away. The eight-time NWA Worlds Heavyweight had been suffering with health issues for a while. There was even confusion earlier this year regarding how severe Race's lung cancer was. Despite reports that Ric Flair had gotten his wires crossed when reporting Race was terminal, this week Dustin Rhodes broke the news that the legend had passed away.
After Rhodes paid tribute to Race, wrestlers from every era and corner of the business began to follow suit. Flair, who has suffered some serious health issues himself recently, tweeted "Without Harley Race, There Was No Ric Flair." The Nature Boy also posted a really cool photo of a poster from when he and Race did battle for the World Title decades ago.
Today We Lost Not Only A Great Personal Friend, But In My Estimation The One And Only REAL World Champion. Without Harley Race, There Was No Ric Flair. I Tried My Hardest Every Day To Live Up To His Standard In The Ring. pic.twitter.com/vUnQFuM0CT— Ric Flair® (@RicFlairNatrBoy) August 1, 2019
Stone Cold took to Instagram to pay his respects to Race. We were hoping for a re-telling of the time the former World Champion tried to "fix" Austin's neck. Perhaps Stone Cold will tell it again on his podcast next week. We won't spoil it for you if you've not heard if before, but it is equal parts terrifying and hilarious and sums up exactly how tough Race really was.
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Harley Race has left us and is headed to that big squared circle in the sky. Harley was respected by everyone in the business for his love of being on the road, selling tickets, telling stories in the ring and on the mic, and representing Professional Wrestling at the highest level. The stories about Harley, and the stories Harley told, were absolute gold. From what I have heard and from what I know, Harley lived a hard, tough, fun, rough, full, adventure filled life. His contributions to Pro Wrestling are immense. His influence is classic. His class is timeless. And his toughness is legendary. Condolences to his family and those close to him. #nwa #wwf #wwe #champion
If we were to write about every single wrestler who has paid tribute to Race in the past 24 hours, we would be here all day. Chris Jericho, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomasso Ciampa, Cody Rhodes, Natlaya. The list goes on and on. You'll be hard pushed to find someone who had a bigger influence on the business than Harley Race. Rest in peace champ, you will be missed.