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8/1 THIS DAY IN HISTORY: HARLEY RACE PASSES AWAY, FINAL UWF SUPERDOME EVENT, LANCE RUSSELL CELEBRATES 60 YEARS AS AN ANNOUNCER AND MORE

By Mike Johnson on 2020-08-01 08:00:00

August 1st

On this day in history in ....

1963
- Eddie Graham defeats Hiro Matsuda for the (Florida) Southern Heavyweight Title in Jacksonville, Florida, beginning his fourth reign with the title.

1972 - D-Von Dudley is born.

1974 - Bulldog Bob Brown defeats Harley Race in Kansas City, Kansas for the Central States Heavyweight Title.  This ended Race's sixth reign with the belt, and started Brown's fifth title run.

1982 - Harley Race defeats Jumbo Tsuruta for the NWA United National Heavyweight Title (now part of the All Japan Triple Crown) in Tokyo, Japan.  This ended Tsuruta's fourth reign with the belt.

1983 - Jim Crockett Promotions ran Greenville, SC with the following results:
Vinnie Valentino defeated Tom Lintz
Gene Anderson defeated Mike Davis
Mike Rotundo defeated the Assassin
Jake Roberts defeated Rufus R. Jones
Bob Orton Jr. defeated Dory Funk Jr.
Ric Flair & Ricky Steamboat defeated NWA Tag Team Champions Jack & Jerry Brisco via disqualification

1984 - Jim Crockett Promotions ran Columbia, SC, with the following results:
Vinnie Valentino defeated Kurt Von Hess
Nikita Koloff defeated Barry Hart
NWA TV Champion Tully Blanchard defeated Pez Whatley
NWA Tag Team Champions Don Kernodle & Ivan Koloff defeated the Renegade & Mark Youngblood
Ricky Steamboat defeated Wahoo McDaniel via disqualification

1985 - Jim Crockett Promotions ran a doubleshot, featuring the following results:

Mount Holly, NJ at the Burlington County Vo-Tech High School featuring the following results:
Denny Brown fought Stoney Burke to a draw
Pat Tanaka defeated Gerald Finley
Ron Bass defeated the Barbarian via disqualification
Manny Fernandez defeated Superstar Billy Graham
NWA TV Champion Dusty Rhodes defeated Abdullah the Butcher via countout

 Huntington, WV:
Rising Sun #1 defeated Ricky Reeves
NWA National Tag Team Champions Arn & Ole Anderson defeated Johnny Weaver & Sam Houston
NWA U.S. Champion Tully Blanchard defeated Starship Eagle
Jimmy Valiant defeated Paul Jones in a dog collar match
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Rock N' Roll Express defeated Ivan & Nikita Koloff
NWA World Champion Ric Flair fought Magnum TA to a draw

1986 - Jim Crockett Promotions ran San Antonio, TX, healined by Baby Doll & The Rock N' Roll Express defeating Jim Cornette & NWA World Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express, Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey

1987 - Bill Watts' UWF held their final "Superdome Extravaganza" at the Superdome in New Orleans.  Watts' had run several supercards at the Superdome over the years, with it peaking in the early 80's, when Mid-South Wrestling (as the promotion was known then) drew up to 30,000 fans for shows with Junkyard Dog, Ted DiBiase and the Freebirds.  This show drew 5,000 fans, up from two previous Dome shows Watts had run, but far less than the peak events.  Watts would soon sell the promotion to WCW.  Here are the results:
- Shane Douglas defeated Gary Young.
- Davey Haskins defeated Mike Boyette.
- Terry Gordy defeated The Angel Of Death.
- Terry Taylor defeated Steve Cox.
- Barry Windham defeated Shaska Watley.
- Rick Steiner defeated Chris Adams in a Taped Fist match.
- Sting defeated The Enforcer.
- Tim Horner & Brad Armstrong defeated The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) via disqualification.
- Dusty Rhodes & Steve Williams defeated Eddie Gilbert & Dick Murdoch in a Double Bullrope match.
- The Fabulous Freebirds defeated Black Bart, Big Bubba Rogers & The Terminator in a First Blood Elimination Steel Cage match, in which wrestlers were eliminated when they were busted open. Order of elimination was: Buddy Roberts, The Terminator, Michael Hayes, Black Bart, Bubba Rogers.  Terry Gordy was the sole survivor.

1987 - Jim Crockett Promotions ran Richmond, VA at the Coliseum before 7,500 fans, featuring:

Thunderfoot #1 & Sean Royal defeated the Italian Stallion & Nelson Royal
Ivan Koloff defeated Todd Champion
The Barbarian defeated Kendall Windham
Jimmy Valiant & Bugsy McGraw defeated the MOD Squad
Jimmy Garvin defeated Manny Fernandez
Nikita Koloff defeated NWA U.S. Champion Lex Luger via disqualification
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Rock N' Roll Express defeated NWA TV Champion Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson
Ron Garvin defeated NWA World Champion Ric Flair via disqualification

1988 - Jim Crockett Promotions ran Milwaukee, WI at the Mecca, featuring the following results:

Dick Murdoch defeated the Russian Assassin
Jimmy Garvin defeated Rick Steiner
Al Perez defeated Kendall Windham
Larry Zbyszko defeated Tim Horner
Bugsy McGraw defeated Rip Morgan
Ricky Morton & Brad Armstrong defeated the Sheepherders
The Fantastics, Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers defeated NWA U.S. Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express, Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane in a non-title bunkhouse match
NWA World TV Champion Mike Rotundo defeated Nikita Koloff
Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Sting, & the Road Warriors defeated NWA World Champion Ric Flair, NWA US Champion Barry Windham, NWA Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard, and JJ Dillion in Wargames - The Match Beyond.

1989 - NWA ran a TV taping in Baton Rouge, LA at the Centroplex featuring the following results:

The New Zealand Milita, Jacko Victory & Rip Morgan defeated The Dynamic Dudes, Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace when Morgan pinned Ace after Victory hit Ace in the face with a canteen behind the referee's back; it was later stated Ace sustained a broken cheek bone as a result of the blow
Brian Pillman pinned Norman (w/ Teddy Long) with a roll over as Norman had a fit on the mat; after the match, Long slapped Norman and ordered him to go after Pillman, with Norman then ramming Pillman into the ringpost and hitting a splash off the middle turnbuckle after Long laid Norman's giant key across Pillman's chest

1991 - WCW ran St. Louis, MO at the Arena, featuring the following results:

WCW U.S. Tag Team Champions Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin defeated Tracey Smothers & Steve Armstrong
Richard Morton defeated Robert Gibson
WCW World TV Champion Steve Austin fought Bobby Eaton to a draw
Dustin Rhodes & Big Josh defeated Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko via disqualification
WCW World Champion Lex Luger defeated Barry Windham
Sting defeated Nikita Koloff in a Texas Death Match
PN News, Yellow Dog (Brian Pillman under a mask) & the Junkyard Dog defeated the Diamond Studd, Johnny B. Badd & Black Bart
Ron Simmons & EL Gigante defeated The Hardliners, Dick Murdoch & Dick Slater in a steel cage match

1992 - WCW ran Philadelphia, PA at the Civic Center, featuring the following results:

Bobby Eaton pinned Michael Hayes (substituting for Larry Zbyszko, selling the arm injury he sustained on TV)
Madusa pinned Heidi Lee Morgan
Dustin Rhodes pinned Greg Valentine with the bulldog; stipulations stated the match could only end following Rhodes' bulldog or Valentine's figure-four leglock.
WCW TV Champion Steve Austin fought Barry Windham to a draw
Rick & Scott Steiner defeated Unified WCW and NWA World Tag Team Champions Steve Williams & Terry Gordy in a non-title match
Ricky Steamboat pinned Cactus Jack in a falls count anywhere match
Sting & Ron Simmons defeated WCW World Champion Big Van Vader & the Super Invader
Nikita Koloff pinned WCW U.S. Champion Rick Rude in a non-title match

1996 - W*ING Kanemura defeats Masato Tanaka in a tournament final in Shiodome, Japan to become the first FMW Independent World Heavyweight Champion.

1996 - WCW ran Beaumont, TX at the Civic Center featuring the following results:
Konnan defeated Michael Wallstreet.
Alex Wright (sub. for Chavo Guerrero Jr.) defeated Terry Taylor (sub. for Psychosis)
Big Bubba defeated John Tenta
Eddie Guerrero defeated Chris Benoit
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. defeated Dean Malenko via reverse decision; Malenko originally won the match and title after hitting Mysterio with brass knuckles
Public Enemy defeated the Nasty Boys in a Streetfight
Randy Savage defeated WCW U.S. Champion Ric Flair; Flair originally won with his feet on the ropes for leverage but the bout continued with the title not at stake
WCW World Champion the Giant defeated WCW World TV Champion Lex Luger

1997 - Extreme Championship Wrestling ran Rostraver, PA at the Ice Garden featuring:

John Kronus defeated Louie Spicolli
Nova defeated Barry Hardy
Tracy Smothers & Little Guido defeated Los Cholos
ECW TV Champion Taz defeated Wolfie D
Axl Rotten defeated Chris Chetti
Mikey Whipwreck & Spike Dudley defeated Bobby Duncum Jr. & Jason
Shane Douglas & Bam Bam Bigelow & Chris Candido defeated Buh Buh Ray &, D-Von, & Big Dick Dudley
Rob Van Dam defeated Balls Mahoney
Sabu defeated Tommy Dreamer

1997 - New Japan Pro Wrestling ran Tokyo, Japan at Sumo Hall with the following results:

Takashi Iizuka & Kazuyuki Fujita defeated Kendo Kashin & Tatsuhito Takaiwa at 9:20 when Takaiwa submitted to Iizuka
Shinjiro Ohtani & Koji Kanemoto defeated Jushin Liger & El Samurai at 17:24 when Ohtani pinned Liger
Tatsumi Fujinami & Osamu Kido defeated Riki Choshu & Kengo Kimura at 9:06 when Kido pinned Kimura
Satoshi Kojima pinned Lord Steven Regal at 9:45
Hiroyoshi Tenzan pinned Tadao Yasuda at 10:31
Scott Norton pinned Junji Hirata at 6:31
Masahiro Chono defeated Michiyoshi Ohara at 18:39 via submission
The Great Muta pinned Manabu Nakanishi at 10:25
Shinya Hashimoto defeated Kazuo Yamazaki at 11:35 via submission

1998 - WCW ran Little Rock, AR at Barton Coliseum featuring the following results:

Lizmark Jr. & Silver King defeated Damien & Ciclope
Ernest Miller defeated Terry Taylor
Fit Finlay defeated Chris Adams
Jim Duggan defeated Kendall Windham
Raven defeated Perry Saturn
Brad Armstrong defeated WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho in a non-title match
Lex Luger defeated WCW U.S. Champion Bret Hart via disqualification in a non-title match when Scott Hall interfered; moments later, Kevin Nash made the save
Kevin Nash & Lex Luger defeated Scott Hall & WCW U.S. Champion Bret Hart

1999 - WCW ran Battle Creek, MI at the Kellogg Arena, featuring:

Vampiro defeated Chris Adams
The Barbarian defeated Lash Laroux
Jerry Flynn defeated Dave Taylor
Disco Inferno defeated Vincent
Perry Saturn defeated Kanyon
Jim Duggan defeated Curt Hennig via disqualification
Sting & Booker T defeated WCW World Tag Team Champions Diamond Dallas Page & Bam Bam Bigelow in a non-title match

2000 - WCW ran Terre Haute, IN at theHulman Center for a WCW Thunder taping, featuring:

WCW U.S. Champion, WCW Cruiserweight Champion, & WCW Hardcore Champion Lance Storm defeated Juventud Guerrera; only the cruiserweight title was on the line
The Wall pinned David Flair
Elix Skipper pinned Billy Kidman
Sean O'Haire pinned Shawn Stasiak
WCW U.S. Champion, WCW Cruiserweight Champion, & WCW Hardcore Champion Lance Storm defeated Norman Smiley; only the hardcore title was on the line
Buff Bagwell pinned Shane Douglas
Mike Awesome pinned Kanyon
WCW U.S. Champion, WCW Cruiserweight Champion, & WCW Hardcore Champion Lance Storm pinned Ernest Miller; only the U.S. title was on the line
WCW World Champion Booker T, Sting, & WCW Tag Team Champions Kronik defeated Jeff Jarrett, Vampiro, the Great Muta, & the Demon in an elimination match
Gen. Rection, Chavo Guerrero Jr., & Lash LeRoux (w/ the Wall & Major Gunns) defeated Cody Hawk, Race Steele, & Anthony Murphy
Rey Mysterio Jr. & Disco Inferno (w/ Konnan, Juventud Guerrera, & Tygress) defeated Chris Harris & Matt Stryker
The Great Muta defeated WCW Tag Team Champion Brian Adams

2010 - TNA ran Concord, NC at the Cabarrus Arena & Event Center featuring an appearance from Ric Flair before the main event.  Jeremy Borash introduced guest referee Mick Foley, who talked about the wrestling legacy of the Carolinas. Ric Flair then came to the ring and put down Concord, saying "Being in Concord on a Sunday night isn't my idea of a good time." He warned Foley to call the match right down the middle.   Rob Van Dam pinned A.J. Styles after a Five-Star Frog Splash to retain the TNA World Heavyweight Title. Mick Foley was the guest referee was hit with a low blow by Ric Flair, who came to the ring with Styles. Foley later laid Flair out with Mr. Socko.

Other results from the show saw:

Ink, Inc. Jesse Neal & Shannon Moore defeated Beer Money, James Storm & Robert Roode when Moore pinned Roode.
Douglas Williams pinned Jay Lethal with the Chaos Theory to retain the TNA X-Division Title.
Madison Rayne defeated Angelina Love to retain the TNA Knockout Title. At one point in the match referee Earl Hebner got in Rayne's way as she was whipped into the corner. Rayne stopped herself and yelled at Hebner, but Love then pushed her into the referee's arms and Hebner laid a big kiss on her. Hebner then did a Ric Flair-style strut to a big pop from the North Carolina crowd.
Jeff Jarrett pinned Desmond Wolfe after hitting the Stroke.

2011 - WWE broadcast Raw.  Richard Trionfo filed the following TV report:

This week’s show starts off with a look back at Money in the Bank with Vince McMahon’s comments about what would happen if CM Punk left the Allstate Arena with the WWE Title. We then see highlights of the match that was won by CM Punk. We move to last week’s Raw when Rey Mysterio won and lost the WWE Title in the course of two hours. After John Cena thought that he had won the WWE Title, he was confronted by the man who never lost the WWE title with his Summer of Punk music. How will Triple H’s second week in charge go?

We are live from Indianapolis, Indiana and your announcers are Jim ‘Elvis is Dead’ Ross, Jerry ‘Type’ Lawler, and Michael ‘Glamour Boys’ Cole.

The crowd chants for CM Punk as we get the weekly storm of pyro.

CM Punk makes his way to the ring with THE WWE title belt.

Punk has his mic to address the fans. Punk says that THE CHAMP is here. Punk takes his traditional position in the center of the ring to address the WWE Universe. Now the $64,000 Question. After everything that he did and said, why did he come back. Punk asks for everyone’s time to tell a story. Punk says that he knew for a long time that his contract expired on July 17, 2011 so he was thinking about this momentous change for over a year.

Punk says that he loves the place that he works. He just hates the people in charge. He could have resigned and dealt with the soul crushing status quo. Or he could speak his mind and cause some change in its wake. Punk says that he spoke his mind and he caused a bit of a change. The domino effect took place. The next night on Raw, Vincent K. McMahon was relieved of his day to day duties. Punk says that is tangible change that can be felt in the air. He asks for some of the credit, but he says that credit also goes to the fans. He says that the fans have been fed scraps. Punk says that he is here to make it fun again for everyone.

Punk says that he might be unpredictable or unorthodox but he wouldn’t want it any other way. As proud as he was of backing up everything that he said, he said that the voice of the voiceless needed to be heard. Punk says that the people needed to hear it. He says that he came back with a megaphone and other media outlets. Punk says that he cannot change this place or this industry sitting at home on his couch in Chicago.

Punk says that he made the call to come back, even though he hates being on the phone. Punk says that his timing couldn’t have been better. We are already back to the status quo because John Cena is parading around as the WWE Champion. John Cena is as much WWE Champion as the guy in the front row with his replica title belt. Punk says that the fan has a belt, but he has a Championship title.

Punk says that it is more of the same old same old. No matter the outcome of a bogus tournament that was held during his time off, not matter who believes that he should be getting a rematch. Punk says that he is holding the most important title in the world. This shows that without a shadow of a doubt, he is the best wrestler in the world. He says that he is the one and only WWE Champion.

Punk is interrupted by Triple H and Punk acknowledges that it is time to play the game.

Punk wants everyone to give it up for H-H-H who is the C-O-O. Hunter thanks everyone for the warm reception and he will address the WWE Title situation.

Hunter wants to explain why he resigned Punk. Hunter says that it came down to business because it was good for business. That is the same reason why he brought back JR. That is the same reason why he brought back John Morrison. It was good for business. As COO, it is his job to try to give them what they want. The WWE Universe wanted CM Punk so he put his personal feelings aside and he gave them CM Punk.

Punk acknowledges the ‘personal feelings’ comment. Punk doesn’t want Hunter to hide behind the suit and he wants Hunter to explain his personal feelings for CM Punk. Hunter says that they are irrelevant, but he thinks that Punk is a smug, overrated, attention seeking guy who puts a little too much stock in his hype. Hunter says that shouldn’t be a problem.

Punk asks Hunter if it is like looking into the mirror. Punk says that he is a bit of a jerk. Punk says that it is not up to him to decide if he is overrated. Punk says that he wishes that Hunter would have said that he hates Punk’s guts but he knows what kind of a commodity Punk is. Punk says that Vince and his yes men screwed the pooch with talent. Punk mentions guys like Batista, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, and Brock Lesnar.

Punk says that Hunter didn’t want to see him go anywhere else, but he couldn’t afford seeing Punk go anywhere else.

Hunter wants Punk to tell the truth why he resigned.

Punk says that he said that he wanted to facilitate change. Hunter says that another way of looking at it was that Punk was doing it for himself. He wanted to hear his own voice. What if the pipe bomb goes off and nobody is around to hear it. Without the WWE, the ‘pipe bomb’ and Punk really mean nothing. Hunter says that Punk did that for his own ego.

Punk says that is a 50/50 maybe and Punk prefers 100% truths. Punk says that he is THE WWE Champion.

Hunter says that Punk is the WWE Champion but so is John Cena. That is a situation that he will settle later tonight.

Hunter starts to leave the ring, but he wants Hunter to wait around and he tells the people in the truck to stop the music. Punk says that he is just getting started. Just because he signed his name, it doesn’t mean that he is going to shut up and toe the company line. He isn’t going to promo class or media training. Punk curtsies to the ego that is Hunter Hearst Helmsley. He talks about Hunter hogging the spotlight over people who deserved a spotlight. Even when Hunter was carrying Shawn’s bags, he was pushing people around. Punk asks Hunter how many times did he say I just don’t think he has what it takes while lying in bed with his wife. No matter what Hunter is wearing, he is the same man that he has always been. He is a bully who likes to throw people around and push them. He tells Punk to watch out who he pushes because he likes to push back.

Hunter tells Punk that he is the first person to say that he has a massive ego. That massive ego is telling him to slap every single rotten tattoo off his fat ass. Hunter says that he is not going to do that because it is bigger than that. Hunter says that he took the job as COO for the fans. That comes with certain responsibilities and rules. He might not like them, but he respects them. Hunter says that he will not break those rules. Hunter strongly suggests that Punk doesn’t break them either.

Punk asks ‘Or What’? Is he going to beat him up? Is he going to fight him? Is he going to punch him in the face? Does he have to ask his wife for permission first?

Punk leaves the ring.

Rey Mysterio is in the back and he is getting ready for his match later tonight. John Morrison flips over Rey and he gives Rey his t-shirt.

We go to commercial.

We are back and Kelly Kelly is at the announce table.

Match Number One: Divas Number One Contender Battle Royal featuring Eve Torres, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Alicia Fox, Tamina, Natalya, Kaitlyn, AJ Lee, Melina, Gail Kim, Beth Phoenix, and Rosa Mendes

Melina is thrown out of the ring as soon as things start. Rosa Mendes is also eliminated while Alicia Fox tries to eliminate Natalya. Tamina eliminates Kaitlyn. Beth works over Tamina while the Bellas work on AJ Lee and Eve. AJ is eliminated. Eve with a Thesz Press on Alicia in honor of the current champion. The Bellas with a double drop kick to eliminate Natalya. The Bellas work over Beth and we go to commercial.

We are back and nothing has changed because we still have five women in the match. Beth fights off the Bellas. The Bellas continue to work over Beth. Eve is sent to the apron but she fights off Alicia. Alicia slides to the floor and she eliminates herself.

Eve with an elbow and then she avoids a kick from Nikki. Nikki sends Eve into the turnbuckles. Nikki punches Eve while she is in the ropes. Eve is eliminated. Beth grabs both Bellas and then she eliminates them both.

Winner: Beth Phoenix

After the match, Kelly comes into the ring and she hugs her opponent at SummerSlam. Then Beth grabs Kelly and throws her out of the ring. Beth throws Kelly into the ringside barrier and then Beth grabs a mic.

Beth tells Kelly that her days as the perky cut blonde bimbo are officially done.

Miz is in the locker room taping his wrists for his tag match against Rey Mysterio and John Morrison. Truth enters and he asks Miz what’s up. Miz asks Truth who he is talking to. Truth tells Miz that they are the same. Miz disagrees. Truth asks Miz if he said that Triple H being in charge is a mistake. Miz points out that we have two champions. Truth interrupts Miz and suggests that it is a c-o-n-spiracy. Miz tells Truth that because they are tag team partners, they don’t have to share the same viewpoints. Miz talks to himself and he wonders why he is talking to himself.

Truth asks Miz if Hunter was going to bring Punk back all the time, why were they in a title tournament. Truth tells Miz that he is gonna get got.

We go to commercial.

We are back and Michael Cole mentions that The Rock first used ‘It doesn’t matter’ in Indianapolis.

Josh Mathews is with a WWE Champion John Cena. Josh asks John about CM Punk’s comments. Cena says that Punk is not afraid to speak his mind. You live by the sword you die by the sword. Cena says that Triple H has an important decision about the future of the WWE Championship tonight. Cena says that he will probably be there to see what Hunter has to say.

As Miz comes to the ring, we see footage of his appearance on George Lopez.

We see highlights of Rey’s title win from last week.

Match Number Two: Miz and R Truth versus John Morrison and Rey Mysterio

 

Miz and Morrison start things off and Morrison goes after Truth on the apron but Truth goes to the floor. Morrison with a flapjack and kip up. Morrison with a forearm to Truth that knocks him off the apron. Morrison’s focus on Truth allows Miz to connect with a clothesline and then he kicks Morrison. Miz with a suplex for a near fall. Miz tries for a slam but Morrison sends Miz into the turnbuckles and Morrison trips Miz before tagging in Rey who hits a seated splash from the turnbuckles for a near fall.

Rey with a head scissors that sends Miz to the floor. Rey with a baseball slide that sends Miz into the announce table. Rey sends Truth to the floor and then Rey hits a seated splash off the apron on Truth. Morrison with a corkscrew plancha on Miz as we go to commercial.

We are back and Truth with a rear chin lock on Rey as Rey tries to make the tag. We see footage from the commercial break when Miz hit a sit out driver on Rey. Truth with an abdominal stretch on Rey. Truth with a forearm to the back and Miz tags in. Miz with a snap mare and a running boot to the head for a near fall. Miz with an elbow to the chest and then he applies a reverse chin lock. Rey with an elbow to Miz and a punch to Truth. Rey kicks Miz and then hits an enzuigiri and Miz falls to the mat. Miz with a kick and a DDT to Rey for a near fall as he keeps Rey from making the tag

Truth tags back in and he puts Rey in a rear chin lock. Truth punches Rey while in the hold but Rey with a back heel kick but Truth hit the Lie Detector for a near fall. Truth stops Rey from making the tag and Truth tags Miz back in. Miz kicks Rey in the chest and then Miz has something to say to Rey about trying to make the tag. Rey punches Miz and goes through Miz’s legs but Miz keeps Rey from making the tag. Miz with kicks to Rey followed by an Irish whip. Miz hits the Awesome Clothesline and then he goes up top but Rey hits him with a drop kick as Miz comes off the turnbuckles.

Both men are down and Rey is able to make the tag and so does Truth. Morrison with a few clotheslines followed by a leg lariat. Morrison with a drop kick to Miz followed by a standing C4 on Truth for a near fall. Morrison puts Truth in the corner and Miz pulls Truth out of the way. Morrison misses Starship Pain. Rey with a dive onto Miz. Morrison with an enzuigiri that sends Truth into the ropes. Miz stops Rey from hitting the 619 and Miz throws Rey over the barrier. Morrison with a springboard round kick to Miz that knocks him off the apron. Truth hits Shut Up for the three count.

Winners: Miz and R Truth

After the match, Miz picks up Morrison and hits the Skull Crushing Finale.

Truth comes into the ring with a bottle of water and he wants to give Morrison a drink. Truth hits Morrison with the water bottle.

Josh Mathews is in the back with Triple H and Josh brings up the opening segment with Punk. Hunter asks Josh if he has shaved today. Hunter says that he has been in this business for twenty years. Punk thinks he dropped the big bomb by mentioning his wife, but that has been going on for ten years. He tells Punk to get some new material. Hunter says that it is fine if John Cena wants to come out for his decision. Hunter tells John Cena that he should keep this strictly business if he comes out to the ring tonight.

We go to commercial.

We are back with a SummerSlam Recall: Honky Tonk Man versus Ultimate Warrior at the 1988 edition of the Summer Extravaganza.

United States Champion Dolph Ziggler and Vickie Guerrero make their way to the ring. Vickie throws out a quiet excuse me but since people wouldn’t pay attention, Vickie throws out a more emphatic one.

She says that with all of the controversy over the two WWE Champions, she is with a man who has proven that he is more superior than John Cena or CM Punk. Vickie introduces her client, Dolph Ziggler.

Dolph says after his victory last week, he told everyone to ‘follow that’. That was directed to every WWE Superstar under contract. That means that no one will ever have his skills, his technique, his talent, or his charisma. As a matter of fact, he is more of a man than anyone in this arena or in the locker room.

Alex Riley’s music plays and he makes his way to the ring. Riley asks if Dolph is such a man, why does he hide behind a woman . . . or in Dolph’s case, Vickie Guerrero.

Vickie says that thanks to her, Dolph is a former World Champion, a former Intercontinental Champion, and the current United States Champion.

Riley makes his way to the ring and he tells Vickie ‘excuse me’. Riley says that Dolph makes a good point. Riley asks Dolph when was the last time that he accomplished anything on his own. Riley says that Dolph reminds him of someone he knows. He says that the Miz hid behind him and Dolph hides behind Riley. Riley tells Dolph if he wants to be a real man, he should drop Vickie. Riley asks Dolph if he is going to be exposed for what he really is. . . a bleach blonde arrogant fraud.

Dolph tells Riley that he doesn’t belong in here with him and he doesn’t even know who Riley is. Dolph takes off his jacket and belt before going to the floor.

We go to commercial with Zack Ryder and Santino Marella walking in half the screen while David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty walk in the other half.

We see footage from last week of Zack Ryder destroying Michael Cole last week.

Match Number Three: Santino Marella and Zack Ryder versus David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty in a Non Title Match

 

Santino and Michael start things off and Santino with a hip lock take down. Michael with kicks and then he sends Santino into Otunga’s boot. Otunga tags in and Michael with a running elbow while Otunga with a clothesline into the corner. Otunga with knees to the midsection followed by a slam. Otunga with an elbow drop and he gets a near fall. Otunga with a waist lock but Santino with punches followed by a Santino stunner. Ryder and Michael tag ina den Ryder with a flying elbow and a forearm. Michael runs into knees in the corner and then he goes after Otunga. Ryder with a running boot to the head and Otunga breaks up the cover.

Santino puts on his Cobra sleeve and Otunga goes to the floor. Michael hits Santino from behind. Michael misses the Rough Ryder and then Michael with an back breaker and Otunga with a forearm from the turnbuckles for the three count.

Winners: Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga

We go to commercial.

We are back and remember to watch Haven on Friday after Smackdown because Edge will be on the show.

We go back to footage from the opening segment tonight between Triple H and CM Punk.

CM Punk is in the locker room with Josh Mathews. Josh asks Punk if he has any idea what Hunter’s decision is going to be. Punk says that his Magic 8 Ball was uncertain. Punk says that he was testing Hunter earlier tonight and he passed with flying colors and he hopes that it will all be business. Punk says that he had one of the best title matches against John Cena and Punk points out that he won and is the champion.

We see highlights from last week when Alberto Del Rio defeated Kofi Kingston thanks to the cross arm breaker.

Match Number Four: Alberto Del Rio with Ricardo Rodriguez versus Evan Bourne

 

Bourne avoids Del Rio and hits a rana but he runs into a boot from Del Rio and Del Rio with a kick to Bourne for a near fall. Del Rio wraps Bourne’s arm in the ropes and then he drop kicks the shoulder. Del Rio gets another near fall. Del Rio with a snap mare followed by an arm bar. Del Rio with a tilt-a-whirl back breaker for a near fall and then he kicks Bourne.

Del Rio with a hammer lock followed by a power slam for a near fall. Del Rio with the arm bar on Bourne as he applies more pressure on the shoulder. Bourne gets to his feet and then he kicks Del Rio in the leg. Del Rio with a head butt to stop Bourne. Del Rio with a suplex that is stopped by knees from Del Rio. Bourne with a series of kicks followed by a knee to the head. Bourne goes up top but Del Rio with a step up enzuigiri and then he picks up Bourne and floats over into the cross arm breaker and Bourne taps out.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio

After the match, Del Rio puts Bourne back in the cross arm breaker but Kofi Kingston comes to the ring and Del Rio releases the hold and heads to the back with Ricardo Rodriguez.

Triple H is walking in the back as we go to commercial.

We are back and the WWE Universe feels that John Cena is the real WWE Champion by a 54/46 margin.

Triple H makes his way to the ring. Hunter says that he thought about this for a long time. For the first time in WWE history, there are two WWE Champions. John Cena and CM Punk. Both have legit reasons why they should be considered WWE Champions. Hunter says that he is going to.

John Laurinaitis comes to the ring and he introduces himself. He says that he is the Executive Vice President of Talent Relations, a job he took over from Jim Ross. He says that it is his job to sign talent and manage contracts.

Hunter wants to know when this became career day. He asks John what he wants. John says that Hunter has been a part of the WWE Corporate structure for a short period of time. John says that he has been working with Hunter’s father in law for more than ten years. He says that he knows how Vince thinks and how he would want Vince to handle things. He tells Hunter to strip John Cena of the WWE Championship.

John Cena comes out and he says that tonight’s decision is going to be a huge one. He says that there is a big decision to think about. He says that John has been with Vince so long because John is the ‘yes man’ that CM Punk talked about. Cena says that Laurinaitis wanted to have the bell rung like Vince did but he stopped John halfway.

Cena says that he will lose the title in the ring, not because some goon who used to ride a skateboard doesn’t like him.

Laurinaitis says that Cena is out of line. He made his decision because CM Punk beat him.

Cena says that John brings up Money in the Bank a lot. Cena says that his favorite moment at Money in the Bank was punching him in the face. Cena says that he liked it so much, maybe he should do it again. Cena says that is what he is going to do.

Hunter says that he doesn’t have a problem with that so Laurinaitis leaves the ring.

Cena asks Hunter if he is going to listen to him and strip John of the title. Since Cena beat Hunter at Wrestlemania 22, does that mean he can strip Hunter of the title of COO.

Hunter tells Cena that he is not going to strip Cena of the title because his claim for the title was legit.

Hunter says that he didn’t talk to Hunter until after ComiCon. Punk did not give him the contract until after Cena won the title.

CM Punk interrupts Triple H and says that Hunter isn’t going to strip Cena of the title so will he strip Punk of his title when he beat him at Money in the Bank? Will it be back to the status quo where we put smiles on people’s faces while Punk finds a urinal to throw up in.

Hunter tells both of them to stop whining like little girls. Hunter tells Cena not to call him Hunter because he is his boss.

They are going to settle it his way. At SummerSlam John Cena will face CM Punk to determine the Undisputed WWE Champion.

Punk and Cena stand in the center of the ring. Punk drops his mic and then he holds his championship title over his head. John Cena drops his mic and he holds his title belt over his head while his music plays.

Punk goes to the turnbuckles to get his music to play. Cena returns fire on the other turnbuckle. We go to credits.

This week’s episode of Raw reminded me a lot of last week’s episode of Smackdown. It was very heavy on promos and light on wrestling. While there was not a lot of wrestling, they tried to start a few new feuds going into SummerSlam. Triple H looks like he is going to have a position of prominence on each show and we will see if people are going to think that there is too much Triple H on their televisions. We saw the WWE Championship situation resolved and everything will be fixed by SummerSlam. This was a show that started off strong but as the night progressed there were only a few things that I thought were effective. There were two surprises on this week’s show and I will discuss those later in this column.

Overall, this was an average show only because the show started off so strongly.

Here are my thoughts on this week’s show:

 

The WWE Championship Controversy

 

It took until the end of the show, but we found out that John Cena and CM Punk will meet at SummerSlam to determine who the true WWE Champion is. However, before we found out from Triple H, there were some other developments involving the two men in the match and the man who made this match.

The show started off with a recap of everything that happened related to CM Punk and John Cena since Money in the Bank. After the recap, CM Punk came to the ring to explain why he came back to WWE after talking about how he was done with the company before Money in the Bank. I thought Punk had a very good promo at the start of the show. He continues with the ‘voice of the people’ concept even though he is not trying to be the fan favorite. Punk came off as honest in his assessment based on what he said before Money in the Bank. Punk made a good point that even though he talked about the change in the WWE, John Cena has a title so how much has really changed?

I also liked how Punk told the fan in the crowd that he had a belt while Punk said that he was holding a championship title. It made me think of the video that Punk did for Jimmy Kimmel.

Punk and Hunter had a good back and forth in the opening segment. A lot of the things that Punk said sounded like something that Triple H would have said when he was part of DX.

I liked that Hunter gave his side of the story and it was not exactly the same as what Punk said. It sets up the anti-authority figure in Punk a la Steve Austin, but he is also being portrayed as someone who is doing this for his own ego as much as what he claims are altruistic methods.

I thought the best part of the opening segment was the part when Punk asked Hunter to tell everyone what he really thinks of him when Hunter said that he looked past his personal feelings to resign him. I also liked the way that the segment ended with Punk keeping Hunter in the ring and then after Hunter told Punk that they all have to follow the rules or things will happen, Punk went through his rhetorical questions about what would happen to him. I was not surprised that he played the Stephanie card and while many have brought up Hunter’s marital situation, Punk seems like someone who doesn’t care and will take it right to the line of what is acceptable.

 

I thought the segment at the end of the show was okay, but not as good as the opening segment. While the opening segment had that ‘Attitude Era’ style where there was an edge, this segment felt too 2009 to 2010 Raw for me. I don’t know if it was the presence of John Laurinaitis in the segment because I definitely thought that he took away from the interaction between Hunter and John Cena.

I thought Hunter’s line about how this wasn’t career day when Laurinaitis talked about how long he had been working for Vince. I was waiting for a comment about how Laurinaitis took Jim Ross’ job as head of Talent Relations, but it did not come off as well as I thought it could have. I was hoping that Hunter would have pointed out to Laurinaitis that John has always been the lieutenant while Hunter is the general.

I liked that Cena did not come out and cut an ‘I love working for WWE’ promo and he supported what Punk had said about the yes men in the company and said that Laurinaitis was the ultimate yes man. Cena also talked about his decision to punch Laurinaitis at Money in the Bank and how he was looking to do what was best for the lineage of the title so he is showing that he cares about doing what is right more than retaining the title.

The best part of the segment at the end of the show was when Cena talked about how he enjoyed punching Laurinaitis so much at the pay per view that he wanted to do it again tonight and how Hunter wasn’t going to stop Cena.

I thought Punk was okay at the end of the show when he figured that since Cena was not going to be stripped of the title that it had to be him.

The posing with Punk’s championship title and Cena’s belt was okay and the change of music from Cena’s music to Cult of Personality was funny the first few times, but by the tenth change, I think the sound guy was looking for Mark Henry to finish him off?

While you expected Cena versus Punk at SummerSlam because it is the number one pay per view of the summer, I was really hoping that they would hold this match off for a few more months. They could build the controversy over the title and even have Cena ‘defend’ the title while Punk does the same. It could cause Alberto Del Rio confusion over who to cash in against because should he risk the briefcase while there are two titles. While I don’t mind Punk being back on television so soon after Money in the Bank, I don’t like that he is going to wrestle to defend his title so soon.

 

The Divas

 

This is where the two surprises on this week’s show took place. The first surprise was that the Divas match went to a commercial break because the average Divas match on Raw or Smackdown usually doesn’t have enough time to mention who is in the match before it is over. The other surprise was that Beth Phoenix was the one who earned the title match against Kelly Kelly at SummerSlam.

Since the Divas battle royals have to be booked differently than the men’s battle royals in WWE because they allow eliminations any time the women leave the ring, you get some eliminations that are unexpected or look like they were accidental.

It was nice of Melina and Gail Kim to show up because I think Melina was eliminated while the bell was still ringing at the start of the match (I have to give Quincy Hughes from the message board credit for that one) and Gail’s elimination was done without the cameras filming it.

I was trying to figure out when Maryse was eliminated but apparently she is suffering from an injury according to her Twitter account (thanks to Cable V for forwarding that info) so it meant that our thirteen Diva match was down to twelve.

When there were a lot of Divas in the match, there really wasn’t anything that was noteworthy that took place. I thought the ‘why did they do that move’ spot of the match was when Alicia tried for a baseball slide when she was battling with Eve because she slid past Eve and went to the floor, eliminating herself.

I thought the finish of the match was good with Beth having a Bella on each arm, reminiscent of the old photo of Andre the Giant with multiple women hanging from his arms to show how strong he was.

The personal excitement of Beth winning was enhanced when she had enough of Kelly Kelly stealing her spotlight by coming into the ring for what should become a new tradition in the WWE (if not all of wrestling) with the champion coming into the ring to hug their number one contender. Beth was not going to have any of Kelly’s good cheer and Beth decided to do what Kharma wouldn’t. It was something that I thought had to happen with Beth or Natalya which I am hoping will become the feud over the Divas Title.

One last thing about the Divas. Of the fourteen (which appears to be thirteen with Maryse’s injury) Divas who are active in WWE, please do not put them at the announce table with a microphone that can be heard by anyone else. With the overall commentary on the show lacking this week because of the three man booth, Kelly made you long for the bickering between Cole and Booker on Friday nights.

 

It looks like Alex Riley has moved on from the Miz

 

I was worried that since it appears that Rey Mysterio has replaced Alex Riley in his feud with the Miz that they were not going to capitalize on the reaction that Riley is getting. It looks like he is moving on to the United States title picture.

I thought Riley was okay with his promo this week, but it was better than the promo from Vickie or Dolph. Riley had some good points about how Ziggler has needed help to get the United States Title so what would happen if Vickie was not involved. Riley held his own with Ziggler and Vickie on the mic and he had a lot of poise in the ring.

I thought that Vickie was good during this segment and I loved how she tried to be polite with the first ‘excuse me’ but when the fans would not oblige, it was the old Vickie Guerrero demanding respect with a vintage ‘excuse me’. I don’t know if Vickie’s comments really helped Dolph’s cause because by mentioning all of the titles that Dolph had on Smackdown, it only reinforces that he has not achieved the same level of success since coming to Raw.

I liked that Dolph reminded us about his ‘follow that’ comment from last week. If this was while he was on Smackdown, I could see it meaning more but since he has not reached that level on Raw, people who did not see his work on Smackdown would not have any reason to believe what Ziggler is saying.

Maybe it is a pattern that you are a protégé of the Miz but when you finally get a singles push, you have to wrestle for the United States Title because that is what happened with Daniel Bryan last year.

This could be a good feud and I am looking forward to what they can do at SummerSlam if they make this match official. I think that Ziggler is more technically sound in the ring than Miz so it might help Riley even more than the Miz feud.

 

Would the last tag team in the WWE pull the plug on the Division?

 

I have lamented many times about the state of the tag team division in WWE and I don’t think it can go anywhere but up. With the typical pattern for a tag team in the WWE being 1) they have some success, 2) one of the members of the team gets jealous; 3) the team breaks up; and 4) the Tag Team Division suffers. You can replace number three with ‘someone on the team gets released’ as well. This has happened with Hart and Kidd, Barreta and Croft, Archer and Hawkins, Gabriel and Slater, and many other teams in WWE.

The Usos had a chance to break the mold and do something with their new entrance, but they were defeated relatively easily against the tag champs. They also had a team with Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov but over the last three weeks, Kozlov has had different tag team partners. While the issue has been discussed on Superstars because they aren’t arguing over petty matters, nothing was said about Kozlov handling his tag team partner wrestling with someone else.

This week’s match was too short to really have an opinion, but based on the length of the match and the ease by which Marella and Ryder lost, it was not a good match. It also did not help that if Otunga and McGillicutty were trying for the Demolition finisher, Otunga did not do an elbow drop.

 

The Three Man Booth on Raw

 

When Triple H brought back Jim Ross I was thinking that Ross and Lawler would do Raw while Cole would stay on Smackdown and work with Josh Mathews and Booker T where Josh would want to call moves but know that he couldn’t say much with Booker and Cole arguing for most of the show.

Instead we got a three man booth and it felt like the days when they had three different announce teams on WWE pay per views because of the brand split. While you have to suspend belief that Lawler and Cole can co-exist, you really have to suspend it to think that Lawler and Ross would want to deal with Cole together.

While it was not as bad as an episode of Smackdown where if they call five moves in the entire two hours (because Josh is unable to get a word in), there were very few moves called by Jim Ross. The positive of having Jim Ross doing the commentary is to get his announcing style and that includes having moves called while advancing storylines.

I hope that if they keep the three man booth, they will be able to incorporate more of what is good (Jim Ross’ commentary) into the program. If they cannot use Jim Ross properly, please considering making Cole exclusive to Smackdown.

 

Other Thoughts on the Show

 

Getting back to CM Punk for a moment, it is fun to hear Punk’s comments under his breath because he got in a number of good ones. When Triple H’s music played during the opening segment, Punk said that it must be time to play the game. Then when Hunter was going to leave at the end of the opening segment, Punk stopped Hunter and he commented that he enjoys listening to some Motorhead. It definitely helps to pay attention to Punk’s promos for those pearls.

I thought John Cena had the line of the night when he asked about John Laurinaitis’ skateboard. It was something I expected to hear from Punk, but it was definitely a great comment.

It may have been by default, but the best match of the night was the tag match with Rey Mysterio and John Morrison versus R Truth and Miz. Before I discuss the match, I want to talk about the pre-match segments with the two teams. I was not a big fan of the Mysterio/Morrison segment with Morrison flipping over Rey to give him his shirt. When I saw Morrison coming out from the background, I was partially hoping that Morrison would accidentally clip Rey. I thought the segment with Miz and Truth was better and I liked how Miz questioned Truth talking to himself and then at the end of the segment Miz is talking to himself. They were working together but they were not necessarily best friends. Truth made some good points about how Hunter wasn’t looking out for them because they were put into a tournament when Punk was already coming back to the company so it was a fraud

Getting back to the match, I thought there was some good action from all four men. It made sense for Morrison to want to get revenge on Truth and that he would go after Truth on the apron. I also liked that when he did it, it cost his team because Miz was able to take advantage of the situation. They did a good job working on Rey during the match and keeping him from making the tag, even thwarting Rey’s attempt to go through Miz’s legs to make the tag. I also liked that when Morrison missed Starship Pain after Miz pulled Truth out of the ring, Morrison landed on his chest instead of landing on his feet.

I thought Morrison got lucky on the corkscrew plancha before the commercial break because it looked like Miz had to move closer to the ring in order to have Morrison hit him.

Since Truth and Miz believe in conspiracies, would they be Jesse Ventura’s favorite tag team?

The Del Rio/Bourne match was okay but also too short. While Bourne got in some offense, Del Rio controlled the match. I liked the way that Del Rio worked on the arm throughout the match to set up the cross arm breaker. The use of the ropes for extra pressure on the arm as well as the slam while he had Bourne’s arm in a hammer lock was good and shows that Del Rio is working ring psychology into his matches. The only issue I had with the match was that it was not longer.

They were also able to continue the Del Rio/Kingston feud with the post match attack by Del Rio and Kofi coming out to make the save. I think if they give them time, this could be a good match.

I like that Josh Mathews got a lot of time on the show to do interviews. Maybe Josh should be called the Voice of WWE since he does interviews on Raw and does commentary on Superstars and Smackdown.

Recommended Segments: The CM Punk/Triple H segment at the start of the show; R Truth and Miz versus Rey Mysterio and John Morrison; Alex Riley’s promo.

2012 - Brian Kendrick announced plans to open a pro wrestling school in California.

2013 - TNA broadcast Impact Wrestling.  Stu Carapola filed the following TV report:

Welcome to the Impact Wrestling Report here on PWInsider.com!

Ronnie Lang and Atlas Security meet Taz at the entrance to the building and inform him that Hulk Hogan won't allow him in the building tonight. Taz tells Ronnie he's known him a long time, but Ronnie won't let Taz in.

Mike Tenay and Jeremy Borash welcome us to the show, and bring us to the latest video from the Mystery Man, who says that August is here and that we'll all know who he is by the end of the night. I'm betting money on Bob Holly.

Austin Aries comes out to the ring as the fans chant his name, and Aries says it's good to know that they know his name. Aries is focused on one thing: the TNA World Championship, and he wants to congratulate Chris Sabin on winning the title, but with that congratulations comes a warning: he is now the hunted. He knows what it's like to go from the X Division Title to the World Title, and Sabin is looking at the man who will win the BFG Series and become the next World Champion. The fans spoke, and now for the first time on SpikeTV, he will face AJ Styles, a match everybody has been dreaming about since he walked back into this company. Not just the fans are talking about this match, the wrestlers, the Knockouts, the referees, everyone wants to see them go at it and they're going to get it. It's the Phenomenal One vs the Common Denominator Of Greatness, but Aries says it's AJ Styles, the man who carried Impact Wrestling on his back for a decade, against Austin Aries, the man who will carry it on his back for the next decade. If anyone out there has any doubts of what he says, he'll erase them tonight.

Bobby Roode comes out to the ring for a chat with his on again, off again partner, and says he wants to talk about the nightmare he's been living since Aries beat him last year at Destination X. His life has been crap since that time, and everybody, including himself, has forgotten what Bobby Roode is capable of doing in this ring. He was the longest reigning, most dominant champion in the history of Impact Wrestling, he was the leader of the Selfish Generation, and dammit, he was the It Factor of Professional Wrestling, and starting tonight, the game is going to change, because Bobby Roode is going back to what brought him to the dance the first time, he'll do the things he did to become a World Champion the first time around, and from here on out, the only thing that matters is winning back the TNA World Title, and he'll prove that it pays to be Roode. Aries will agree with everything Roode says, but he hopes Roode gets his mojo back and makes it to the finals of the BFG Series so he can beat him again. Aries wishes Roode luck, and walks off as Hernandez comes out to the ring to face Hernandez. Roode jumps Hernandez on his way to the ring, and we're off and running!

Bound For Glory Series: Bobby Roode vs Hernandez

This is a must win, as both men have yet to score any points in the BFG Series. Roode beats Hernandez up around ringside, but Hernandez begins working him over with power offense. He goes for the over the shoulder backbreaker, but Roode slips out the back and hits a spinebuster, then takes Hernandez outside and rams him into the ring steps. Roode brings Hernandez back inside and nails him with a charging clothesline in the corner, Hernandez skins the cat to the top rope, Roode tries to stop him from hitting whatever and Hernandez shoves him off, but Roode moves out of the way of a top rope splash and gets Hernandez in the Crippler Crossface right in the middle of the ring. Hernandez gets free and lays Roode out, then goes up the ramp and sprints down for the flying shoulderblock over the ropes. Hernandez goes for the Border Toss, Roode slips out and bumps the ref on his way down, low blows Hernandez, and rolls him up with the tights in hand, but Hernandez kicks out at 2. Roode loses it and goes outside to grab a chair, slamming it into the steps before tossing it in the ring. The referee takes the chair away from him, but Roode pulls out a beer bottle from under the ring while the ref is getting rid of the chair, nails Hernandez with it, and covers him for the win.

Winner: Bobby Roode

Roode finally scores his first points in this year's BFG Series! Huzzah!

Jason Hervey catches up with the Main Event Mafia as they arrive at the arena, but I didn't quite catch what they said, so I guess we'll find out what they're up to later on tonight!

Frankie Kazarian is backstage, and he's...TWEETING!

We look at the BFG Series leader board, and it looks like I was wrong and Hernandez scored 7 points somewhere. But, he and Roode are still way down at the bottom and have a long way to go if they're going to come back from this.

Eric Young is backstage with ODB as she's getting ready to get back in the ring, then Joseph Park comes in and EY says he has the way for Park to get back to the top of the mountain. EY hands Park a bag and Park asks what's in it, and EY just tells him to wear it tonight. I hope it's not ODB's lingerie.

Chris Sabin walks in on a maskless TJ Perkins and says how proud he is of him for becoming the X Division Champion, and Perkins talks about how he didn't accomplish a thing for 15 years until the Manik mask gave him a new identity that brought him the X Division Title. Sabin says that's why he's proud of him and why he wanted his first match to be with Manik: because they're not the biggest or that baddest, but they have the heart that brought Perkins the X Division Title, it brought Sabin the World Title, and Perkins better bring his best tonight because Sabin damn sure will.

One of those big ass limos with monster truck tires pulls up outside the building...is the mystery man inside???

Bound For Glory Series: Joseph Park vs Jay Bradley

Joseph Park comes out with EY, and is wearing his gift...one of those smooshy Golden Gloves headgear things. Bradley tries ramming Park's head into the top turnbuckle, but it obviously doesn't hurt, so he goes about just pounding the snot out of Park the old fashioned way instead. Bradley misses a running boot in the corner and Park rolls him up for 2, but Bradley hits a second big boot attempt and drops a series of elbows for 2. Park comes back with a series of clotheslines and goes to the second rope, Bradley drags Park down by the headgear, but Park gets a double leg and puts Bradley in a Boston crab. Bradley makes it to the ropes, gets his boot up on a charge from Park, and picks him up and hits a back suplex into a backbreaker. Bradley pulls the headgear off and goes for the Boomstick, but Park ducks and hits a Samoan drop for the win.

Winner: Joseph Park

Well, Park's still in the red but at least he's taking baby steps back.

The Main Event Mafia is backstage and Sting says they accomplished one of their missions: Bully Ray is no longer the TNA World Champion. Angle says the next thing is to make Aces & Eights an offer they can't refuse, Rampage Jackson says he came here for a fight, and Angle says he knew he liked him.

TNA World Title Match: Chris Sabin vs Manik

Unlike when Sabin turned in the X Division Title for a shot at the World Title, Manik will walk out with both titles if he wins here tonight. They have a back and forth feeling out process to start, then trade takedown attempt before winding up at a stalemate as we go to commercial.

Manik catches Sabin with a flying headscissors as we come back from commercial, he tries the McGuinness headstand in the corner, but Sabin dumps him out to the floor and fireman's carries him face first onto the ring apron, then rolls him back inside and covers for 2. Manik comes back with a flying headscissors and a springboard dropkick to the apron, then another one back inside, and a cover gets 2. Manik with a sitout powerbomb for 2, then he goes up top where Sabin nails him and hits a delayed superplex for 2. Sabin snaps off a Diamond Cutter, a superkick to the face, and hits the Cradle Shock for the win.

Winner: Chris Sabin

Sabin is successful in his first defense of the TNA World Title, proving himself to still be the best X Division wrestler in the process by beating the champion. Bully Ray comes out of nowhere and attacks Sabin from behind, beating on him with his chain while yelling that he told Sabin he should have handed that title back. Bubba gives Manik a shot when he tries to help Sabin, but that gives Sabin an opening to nail Bubba and drive him out of the ring. Bubba stands at the top of the ramp yelling that it's him and Sabin in a cage.

We go back outside to the limo tank thing in the parking lot, but Taz walks up to it and says that if Hogan won't let him be with his brothers tonight and wants to leave him out here in the heat, he'll show everyone Hogan's big surprise right now. Taz opens the limo door, laughs, and tells the camera to look what's inside. We see inside the limo, which only contains a laptop playing the August 1 hype video.

ODB is backstage, and she's...TAKING A SWIG OF LIQUID COURAGE!

Bad Influence will face each other next week in the Bound For Glory Series, and they say that letting the fans make this match isn't Bad Influence, it's bad sense. Daniels says that he's undefeated and he has 21 points, and poor Frankie is 0-3, but Frankie cuts him off and says not to be that guy, and he knows he is that guy, but not to be that guy with him. Daniels says he's not just going to give him those points, and Kazarian says he knows and dumps out Daniels' appletini and walks off. Daniels nods and goes "Okay." and walks off the other direction.

Gail Kim vs ODB

Gail shoves ODB, so ODB tackles her and beats her out to the rampway. ODB charges down the ramp and splashes Gail against the ropes, but they go back inside and Gail nails her coming back in and starts working her over with hard strikes. Gail with a clothesline for 2, stops to blow kisses to the fans, and hits the running crossbody in the corner for 2. ODB mounts a comeback and hits a running powerslam for 2, kicks Gail into the ringpost, and follows her out to the floor. Gail drop toeholds ODB into the ring steps and pummels her with right hands until both girls get counted out.

DOUBLE COUNTOUT

The bell doesn't stop Gail from attacking ODB, but she gets up and ODB comes raging back after her, and the brawl continues out at ringside while officials try to separate them.

AJ Styles is backstage and says that this dream match tonight is a joke, and he's not the dreamy eyed kid he used to be, he's the greed-fueled man he became. Dream matches are BS just like the one with Jeff Hardy was BS, because it's all about the top spot and the money that comes with it. This may be a dream match, but he's about to become Austin Aries' nightmare.

Aces & Eights is backstage and Bully Ray says that the Main Event Mafia has seen the Godfather one too many times if they're planning to make an offer they can't refuse, then tells his VP Ken Anderson that it's up to him to take care of Aces & Eights. Brooke comes up to Bubba after the rest of them leave, and Bubba asks if she wants to go under the bleachers, or if she's asking for the divorce she's never going to get. Brooke says that "Mark" should stop thinking like that, because like the saying "Happy wife, happy life" goes, he should know that a happy ex-wife also makes for a happy life. She worked some unfavorable conditions into the contract for his match with Sabin, and blows him a kiss and walks off as Mark is left wondering what that's all about.

It's main event time!

Bound For Glory Series: AJ Styles vs Austin Aries

Aries and AJ go back and forth for a moment until they think they're going in different directions and hit head to head on a blown something. Aries staggers out to the ramp, takes a breahter, then comes back inside and they go back and forth again until AJ goes for the Calf Killer. Aries blocks, rolls AJ into a banana split, and AJ rolls out of that and we're back at neutral. They go out to the floor where Aries gets some good shots in and comes off the top rope with a double axhandle, but he rolls AJ back inside and goes up top and AJ dropkicks Aries to the floor. AJ comes over the top and wipes Aries out with a dive as we go to commercial.

We're back as AJ drills Aries with a nice dropkick and then stops to scowl at the crowd. AJ folds Aries in half with a dragon suplex and then locks him in a chinlock, but Aries gets free and knocks AQJ silly with a big left hand. AJ blocks the brainbuster, so Aries gets a backslide for 2. AJ backdrops Aries to the ring apron and Aries lands on his feet and hits a neckbreaker over the ropes, then comes off the top with a missile dropkick. Aries hits the IED, puts AJ on the top rope (with AJ desperately trying to fight him off with kneestrikes), and Aries tries to hit a brainbuster off the top, but AJ lands on his feet and turns it into a neckbreaker off the top for 2. Aries avoids the springboard 450, hits several kneestrikes to the face, and gets AJ in the Last Chancery. AJ gouges Aries in the face and counters into the Calf Killer, but AJ crossfaces his way out and hits the brainbuster, but is too tired to hook the leg and AJ barely gets his shoulder up at 2. Aries goes for the 450, AJ gets his knees up, and AJ tries to clothesline Aries over the top rope, but Aries doesn't quite make it over and rolls underneath to the ramp instead. AJ goes for a springboard something, but Aries shakes the rope and hangs AJ up, then tries a brainbuster on the ramp. AJ reverses momentum and hits a gourdbuster and tries for a Styles Clash on the ramp, but Aries backdrops AJ off the ramp and he hits the floor with an audible thud. Aries tells the referee to count, then shoves him out of the way so he can hit a dive through the ropes. AJ sidesteps and sends Aries crashing face first into the steps leading up to the ramp, and they both barely beat the count back in. They trade shots in the middle of the ring, AJ connects with a flurry, but Aries drills him with a big elbow, suplexes him right on his head, and AJ responds with a Pelle kick. They both go down and each has an arm over the other, but Aries has the presence of mind to roll his shoulder just before 3, and that's enough for a pinfall win.

Winner: Austin Aries

Awesome, awesome match! Top 5 on Impact this year for sure.

The Main Event Mafia is backstage, and they're...WALKING! We'll find out what their offer to Aces & Eights is...NEXT!

The Main Event Mafia comes out to the ring, and Sting says they still want to get their hands on Aces & Eights, and will do that by giving them an offer they can't refuse. Ken Anderson brings out Aces & Eights and says that they know the Main Event Mafia likes to fight dirty, but so do they and they're not going anywhere. Angle says in that case, it'll be Hardcore Justice for Bully Ray on August 15th, but also for the rest of them because they want a 5-on-5 match and the loser of the fall will be out of TNA forever. Aces & Eights rushes the ring and the two sides brawl, the Main Event Mafia fights them off, and Anderson says they've got their match.

Suddenly the lights hit and dramatic music plays, and out of the back comes...MMA legend Tito Ortiz! Okay, great, more non-wrestlers. Everyone looks scared except Rampage Jackson, and he shoots Ortiz dirty looks as Ortiz shoots scary looks all around him, and we call it a night.

Thanks for reading the Impact Wrestling Report, I'll be back tomorrow to discuss Impact and more with Dave Scherer on the Stu & Pid Show!

2014 - WWE released developmental talents Garett Dylan, Travis Tyler, Slate Randall, Mac Miles and Dani Jax.

2015 -  The Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest was held in Charlotte, NC.  Here is Mike Johnson's coverage of the Q&A events that took place over the course of 8/1 -

Welcome to PWInsider.com's coverage of The HonkyTonk Man Q&A at the Mid-Atlantic Fanfest.

Honky was asked about The Ultimate Warrior and Roddy Piper. He said Warrior was a good businessman. He said it was weird in that it sounded like he gave his own eulogy. He said Piper's passing was sad and he looked ill in recent photos. It's always sad when someone from the industry dies. When he was young and starting in the business, he was worried about being stabbed in West Virginia or in a car accident. He said wrestlers have to learn they can't live the way they were in their 20s and 30s. He said he's 62 now.

Honky was asked about Hulk Hogan. Honky said it was brought up in a recent interview with a newspaper in Canada as he's going there in a few weeks. He said it's a tragic situation in that it could happen to anyone from any walk of life anywhere in the world of any religion. Tiger Woods did things he was not proud of but you can't wipe him out of history and say he can't exist anymore. He said you can't take away from what people achieved in their lives and history and that's what WWE is doing. They are publicly traded and he understands what they are doing and why but that's not going to work for fans. He said Hulk Hogan changed wrestling. And that's the truth.

Honky asked why Bubba the Love Sponge is always in this situations and said he warned Hogan through Jimmy Hart to distance himself a long time ago. He said he really has no axes to grind but everyone has their differences and joked he just had a fight with his wife because he was back on the road.

Honky was asked about the build to his Wrestlemania 3 bout with Jake Roberts. He said the build was great but he did not hit Jake Roberts and send him to rehab. What sent him to rehab was not the guitar. Jake wrestled a year more before he went to rehab. He nailed Jake with the guitar and turned Jake babyface. It was Jake's idea to bring in Alice Cooper since he was from Detroit and they had the snake connection. After he won the IC belt, Jake was gone and he lost to substitutes in non-title matches and allowed him to go on TV and say he was the greatest of all time.

Honky was asked of memories of the Blonde Bombers. He said that is a part of history that seems to have been lost and God bless YouTube for bringing them back and making them available. He doesn't know if there is a lot from Larry Latham online. They were put together in Tampa for a tournament and put them together since they both had blonde hair. They worked 5 or 6 matches going to the finals losing to The Briscoes. They were asked if they could stay in Tampa, then they went to Memphis where they had the Tupelo Concession Stand brawl. Jerry Jarrett needed something and came up with that brawl. None of it was planned out. They were told to win the belts and then tear the building down so they did. The cameras would come on Friday and filmed it. He said they created hardcore and ECW although they weren't the only ones who did it. They captured people's Imagination and it worked.

When he went to Puerto Rico, the worst thing was telling Larry he was moving on and Larry never forgave him for it. Wrestling isn't a team sport and they had to do their own things. Larry died in the ring and it was a sad situation. He said God bless him.

He was asked his favorite and least favorite independent wrestling promotions. He said he doesn't remember names because there are so many. There are really good ones and bad ones. Sometimes it's promoters going out the back door and sometimes it's a bad venue or bad equipment. He said WWE isn't perfect and have work bad days too. The good independent promotions are the ones who will work on promoting but sometimes you have promotions you just send posters to the venue and they never get pushed. He doesn't want to go home and not get paid.

He told the story of a "monster truck guy" who was hanging out with fans two hours after a show instead of paying the boys. HonkyTonk told them they have to get paid and the promoter was angry he was embarrassed. Later on at the hotel, the guy told The Iron Sheik he wanted to go beat up Honky and Sheik warned him not to do that.

Honky said that he doesn't care about anything else but getting paid. He doesn't want to hear about plans or TV or anything. "Do you have my money!" His daughter is about to go not veterinary school and the school wants their money.

He said every Indy show is trying to be Wrestlemania with 40 matches and hours upon hours. He told a story about having to wrestle at the end of a show and at 12:45 AM he was waits be paid and he's got a 6 AM flight. He said if promoters don't want to pay him, don't call him.

Honky was asked about refusing to drop the IC title to Randy Savage and whether it was true he refused because the company planned to repackage him. He said yes. When he came to WWF he was in a handshake deal and promised he would be protected on TV. He had worked hard to create his character so he could fulfill his dreams of working in a high level position in Madison Square Garden and the NYC territory. He got the belt and was drawing as a heel against Savage as fans wanted to see Randy Savage get his belt back. He was called to a meeting with Savage and Elizabeth and they ignored him and told Randy he was getting the belt. Honky was told he was losing and Jimmy Hart would pull him out of the ring and he would never be seen again. Honky took that to mean he was fired, so he called Jim Barnett in Atlanta and they had a private meeting. Honky made sure he had a place to go in the NWA and then told Vince McMahon he wasn't losing. Vince lost his mind and he wishes he had that on tape. Vince is a forgiving man but he's also vindictive man and he made Honky suffer for sure. He said he told Vince if he wanted the belt he can come get it off his mantle in Memphis if he wanted to put on the tights.

Honky said his podcast is never coming back. They did it weekly. They would set up guests and then when they would call, they wouldn't be around. They tried to get advertisers and we're going to do one after Wrestlemania but then Warrior passed (his webmaster Steve Wilton was friends with Warrior and worked with him) and they decided they didn't do one.

Honky joked his was the reincarnation of Ole in that he didn't care. People want the truth and then get mad when they hear it. He said you can't get mad if he says Ric Flair can't come back to North Carolina. He said Flair will be Flair until the day he dies. He said if he doesn't have money he's still Ric Flair. He wondered why Flair wrote Honky would have been nothing without Hulk Hogan as Honky worked all over the place in territories and Hulk Hogan was nowhere to be found.

He mentioned Eric Bischoff saying he was happiest to fire Honky. He said that of all the people that were fired, what did he do to get this honor? He said Bischoff told him that he was only hired because Jimmy Hart kept pestering him. Bischoff didn't want him because he didn't like his look. How do you want me to look? He said that all he did was draw money for two years for WWF with that look.

WWE was asked about being in the WWE Hall of Fame. He was called to go in the year they were in Phoenix but he was already contracted to do 12 Wizardworlds and that week he was in Toronto. He was called just four weeks before and then they wanted a three month no compete. He told them he had a booking and WWE said that he could just cancel because eh would understand. He wondered if WWE would have understood if he canceled on them? He said WWE hadn't called him in five or six years and then wanted him to drop everything.

He was asked about Michael Hayes. He told a story of the Freebirds coming to Memphis. Larry Latham was worried they were going to replace them as a heel team skin when they work, they acted like complete cowards and got all the heat. They remained and the Birds left after a few weeks.

Jimmy Hart was responsible for making sure Honky did a ton of promotional appearances and that helped him create the gospel of being the greatest of all time. He said Hart kept him from be just like all the other lazy wrestlers. They always dressed up and looked like Honky and Jimmy Hart. Dick Clark used to tell musicians on the Dick Clark tour that if they dressed like he audience, they would be sitting in the audience. So they were always seen in costume and Jimmy took that to heart. Honkytonk Man was asked about shoot interviews. He said he doesn't do them anymore but did a few for Rob Feinstein. Some people booed. Honky said he got heat from doing them but everyone forgets that people talking them on interviews might have led to them getting booked on shoots of their own. He said they aren't productive in any way at this point and he got tagged as being bitter and resentful. He said bad things about the business and about people who did wrong by him. Everything he spoke about was generally about him.

Honkytonk had used the name in Pensacola, Florida before WWE while wrestling Austin Idol. He wanted to change his hair as the blonde color wasn't working for him anymore. You have to recognize when it was time to make a change. He went to the Fullers and pitched a hair dye match where there was only room for one man in the territory and it did well for he territory. He ended up as a greasy character with black hair based off Schneider from the TV show "One Day At A Time." When WWE tried to sue him for the name and character, he found old programs and photos to prove he had them pre-WWE and Case Closed.

Robert Fuller was the one who suggested the guitar. He cannot play it. Hillbilly Jim tried to teach him as did Hulk Hogan. The guitar used on Jake was way too big and way too heavy. He. They precut it and had to hide it so guys didn't touch it or play it.

Honky was asked about Memphis wrestler Chris Colt. Bye was fabulous in the ring and if he was around today, he would be a cut above.

Honky talked about the artwork of wrestling. He said the guys getting in the business aren't people who aren't wrestling fans, they are fans of a TV show called Raw. He said two years ago when he went to Raw, Natalya said hi and AJ Lee introduced herself and none of the other women knew who he was and thought he was coming in.

He said Mark Henry got his job because he was a wrestling fan who took off from his training regimen to watch wrestling. Vince McMahon found out and invited Mark to talk to him and that's how he got in. He said Henry suffered more in the locker room then anyone else. He said Henry once blew out his knees and the boys his his crutches and Honky found them and returned them.

He was asked the origins of The Shake, Rattle and Roll. He needed a finish and Vince gave the guys who had been around the trust to come up with something. He needed something that would fit the character and had here weeks to come up with something. He up with the swinging neck breaker and used the name. Vince liked it but After the first time, Vince suggested adding him shaking his rear end, roll the guy back and forth before nail in the move.

Rick Rude suggested the Rhythm and Blues name because Honky was the rhythm and Greg Valentine was the blues since he mopes around. Valentine didn't put his all into it as he didn't want it just like Billy Gunn didn't want to be Rockabilly and if you don't put your everything into it, you will fail as a wrestler.
**

Welcome to PWInsider.com's coverage of the Ricky Steamboat Q&A hosted by Jim Ross. Ross was a little late as he was filming material for the Mid-Atlantic Memories DVD extras and told a story about how he hates being late. He was once late for a meeting with Bill Watts and was fined $40 when he was only being paid $25. So, Watts made a profit on it.

Steamboat joined Ross on stage. This was by far the most attended session and Steamboat received a long standing ovation.

Ross said the Flair-Steamboat rivalry will love forever. He said that when Steamboat came to the NWA to do his program, Ross didn't know what to expect but booker George Scott did. Steamboat said they were put together in the 70s by Scott. Ross said the only thing Scott did with him that he didn't like was being told Ricky was getting the belt as they went out to call the Chi-Town Rumble show. He said it was like getting a Christmas present and being told what it was before you unwrapped it.

Ross asked Steamboat of his memories of that match. He said that he gets asked about the trilogy of matches a lot but his favorite is the New Orleans bout as they got to go close to an hour and show what they can really do. The night in Chicago, he asked Scott what the plan was after weeks of Scott not telling him what the plan was. They had to start to think of a game plan. The show was underway and Scott didn't know tell him the finish. Steamboat had so much nervous energy burned up by the time he found out. They had worked so much they just needed to worry about the last three moves. They spoke about that and separated and called the rest in the ring. Steamboat had to mentally and emotionally recover from finding out he was getting the belt so he wasn't spent and blown up 5 minutes in. Ross knew before Steamboat did.

Ross said he saw Lance Russell this weekend and he's a treasure and the only letdown this weekend is that Bob Caudle wouldn't be here. He said as a fan, all he wanted was a photo with himself, Bob Caudle and Lance this weekend.

Ross brought up the Best of Three Falls bout. Ross said it was the bout that probably got George Scott fired. They didn't promote the live aspect of the show and only drew 6 thousand in the Superdome. Ross got called in the office and was called out for not promoting tickets and the live event aspect. Ross said he was told not to. They talked about Flair submitting in e first fall and how it was smart booking since he was the challenger desperate to get the belt back submitting in the first fall. Steamboat said it was Flair's idea. Ross said they didn't do a lot of submission finishes.

At Wrestlewar 89, they decided to bring back the judges from the first Clash of Champions. Ross joked about the awful judges from the Flair-Sting bout and asked, "What the hell were we thinking?" They had Lou Thesz, Pat O'Connor and Terry Funk as judges in Nashville. Ross said they had a hell of a match that night. Steamboat agreed. He said all three were completely different from start to finish. Steamboat didn't know they were doing the Terry Funk angle until he was walking up the aisle. Ross said that wasn't good communication. They talked about who was booking then and decided it was "That stupid committee." Ross said booking committees in theory is a good idea but when they cast, write and star in the stories, it won't work.

Steamboat said the guy with the pencil is always go into be on top. Ross added, "and make the most money." Ross said the most powerful weapon in wrestling was the eraser because they could change plans.

Steamboat said early in his career, old timers would take care of you if you liked you but if they didn't, they would bloody you or knock you around and you dare not say anything about it. He said Mr. Fuji would always give him advice on things he can do better. Fuji said he wanted to show him a hold in the shower. He said if anyone gives him a problem in the ring, this is his equalizer. It's called the five on two. The boys all knew what was coming and sure enough, Fuji grabbed his nuts and Steamboat screamed. He said that was his initation and he joked it always worked.

Steamboat then told a story about wrestling Flair in Mid-Atlantic at the old Charlotte Coliseum. They had done a 60 minute draw previously there. George Scott said to do something to get Ric hot and they don't need to go 60. They can do it in 25 minutes or so. Ric says when it feels right he'll beat Steamboat with his feet on the ropes. He expects it to be short but they end up going 58 minutes in or so. The fans know they go that long, it's going to be a draw. They hit 59 minutes and Steamboat is going for a comeback as they count down with 10 second left, Flair covers him. They go 59:57 total. Steamboat said there was a lull in the crowd and suddenly fans start throwing all this stuff. Flair leaves the right but not before looking at Ricky and saying, "We got them tonight kid!"

They went to the Q&A portion.

Steamboat was asked about finishes today and how you can run long programs the way things are. Steamboat said they have been prostituted. You'll see guys kick out of big moves at a major show like Wrestlemania and the idea he guesses that the idea is that these guys are in a war and it gets to the point of who is endorse for wear. Steamboat said prior to he last 8 years or so, it was always that if a guy got a finish on you, that was it. Ross said guys are lazy and working for a pop. He said the "This is awesome" and "You still got it" chants are awful. He knows that's going to get people saying he's a bitter old bastard. Ross said at Wrestlemania 17, it's the first time he remembers The Rock Bottom and the Stone Cold Stunner being kicked out of. Ross said that he story the announcers have to tell is that this is a big night and the guys have to dig down deep but you have to tell that story. Guys now when you watch wrestling across the board you see guys use a small package after all this flying stuff. Guys do the damnedest moves and work faster then the fans can process. Guys don't sell and they blow off finishes. The DDT was once the most feared move in wrestling and now they are transitions like a side headlock takeover. Ross said you have to use chainsaws to beat someone. Ross said there are smart guys backstage putting these matches together and they have to be sick to their stomach because it's counter-productive to what they really believe. Ross said they make music in the ring but they have to let the announcers sing the lyrics by slowing down.

Steamboat said you see all those major moments where guys go through tables and then they are back in the ring. He said you take that moment and throw it away. Ross said the few matches he was forced to be in by the creative department, he looked at it from a broadcasting perspective and was trying to tell their stories. He said the business is going down a road of shortcuts and a lack of fundamentals. If they gave the announcers the time to tell the stories, they don't need to do as much. Ross said you can punch someone ten times and there's no damage and that's an expose.

Steamboat said that in the ring, it's their responsibility to tell the story that allows the announcers to do their job. Ross said he was manipulated out of retirement to call the New Japan WrestleKingdom PPV with the Eddie Haskell of wrestling, Matt Striker. There was a big multi team tag with The Young Bucks and they asked him if he wanted to know what they were going to do. Ross said No and they acted like he didn't care but he wanted not to know. He said once you got past that cluster and they got to singles matches where they could tell good stories, it was one of the best announcing experiences in some time. He said guys wanted to do hot moves instead of trying to win. He said the style is changing and he doesn't know where we are heading. He said wrestling will never go away but we will probably relish the older material more.

Steamboat was asked about his 1991 return where he was just The Dragon and was wasted. Steamboat said they wanted to repackage him and he wasn't even Steamboat anymore. He said he didn't feel in his heart because the world knew who he was. He said it was one of those things where he was being patient and was waiting for that door to open. He was working second from the bottom after working main events with Flair and Steamboat. After ten months, he knew it was time to go.

Steamboat said he worked with Haku for months on end. They didn't do anything major but the chops and kicks were solid. Chief Jay Strongbow told them they needed to tone down because the main eventers were complaining. Steamboat told him they weren't doing anything but wrestling and please don't take away their ability to perform. Strongbow thought about it and said,"You are right. Screw it."

Steamboat was asked to compare the Flair and Savage programs. He said It was apples and oranges. He and Ric had years. Savage and Steamboat was a six month program. It was gratifying thing with Randy. Savage had a good mind and they went in wanting to steal the night because they knew Andre had a bad back. Flair taught him so much and he wouldn't be anywhere as good as he is without Flair wanting to work with him in Mid-Atlantic. Ross said Flair was instinctual but Randy was meticulous and obsessed with perfection. Ross said Randy was his most difficult partner to broadcast with because he didn't trust anyone and Ross wanted to feel the out while Randy wanted it all laid out.

Steamboat and Savage laid out the entire match and they would put it all down in paper to memorize it.

Steamboat was asked about bringing his family to the ring. Steamboat said it drew a contrast from Flair, but he was uncomfortable with it. Ross said he was worried it would alienate the audience. Ross said you have to know your audience and it put Steamboat in a disadvantageous position. Steamboat said his ex had a lot to say about wanting to be involved.

A fan asked why Wrestlewar 89 started at 4 PM. Ross said it was a cable company clearance thing. They were asked why Flair and Steamboat went on in the middle. Ross said some of the matches didn't air. I think he confused the Clash 6 show with Wrestlewar. Steamboat told a story of how Lex Luger was pissed after the Best of Three Falls bout because he wasn't going to make the Clash broadcast.

Steamboat was asked about the comeback against Chris Jericho and what it meant to you. Steamboat said it meant a lot, but his fear was coming back and not looking the same. His plan was to do 20 years and retire as long as he was financially able to. He ended because he injured his back and never wanted to come back because he didn't want the fans to see him as someone who should have stayed out. Wrestlemania 25 was an opportunity for the legends to work with Jericho and since there were three of them, he could do it. Ross pointed out Mockey Rourke was There and buried him. Snuka was limited and Piper was banged up. A lot of the match came down to him and Jericho and it worked and the crowd liked it. They put him in the Backlash singles match which was a shock to him.

Ross said its been a rough month with the passing of Dusty Rhodes and Roddy Piper. He asked Steamboat for thoughts on them. He and Dusty didn't always see eye to eye. Steamboat went to the WWF in 1985 because Dusty became the booker. Ricky was a top babyface and Dusty was going to be the top babyface. It was time for Ricky to go after eight years but he was disgruntled because he knew how he was going to be used. He said a few years later, it was his moment to thank Dusty because of he hadn't made those moves, Steamboat wouldn't have elevated his notoriety as a wrestler. Dusty joked once that Steamboat left him and Ricky said, "Dusty, I didn't want to!"

Ricky teamed and worked against Roddy Piper. Steamboat said that he tells talents to develop a character that they can immediately identify you with. He said in the ring, to be honest, Roddy was probably a seven but on the mic it was off the charts. Ross said there was no writer for Roddy. Ross said most of the heels want to work to be cool and get a pop and sell merchandise. Ross said no one wants to hated. Roddy had no fear and the more you detested him, he happier Roddy was and if you wanted to confront him, be prepared because there was no fear. Piper was living on the streets and didn't have a nice hotel and iPads. He had no fear, period and had a swagger.

Piper told Steamboat he figured out how to get to the main events and that was not show up until after intermission.

Ross asked whether Steamboat could sense how special Steve Austin could be when they worked in the 1990s. Steamboat said he knew then. Ross asked him what attributes set Steve apart. Ross said Austin never felt he had a good match. Steamboat said you run into a lot of guys who think they know it all, but Austin always wanted to know what more he could do and was very coachable. As hard as they went in the ring, no matter how winded Austin was, he was always there in the right place to feed for the comeback for Ricky.

Ross asked about the Hulk Hogan situation. Steamboat said Hogan would have been smart enough to know he was being recorded. He felt like it was something used in conversation. It shouldn't be used at all in language no matter who you are. Ross said for Hogan's sake, hopefully he can rehabilitate his image but it's a damn shame we still have racial issues in 2015. Ross called for everyone to be more tolerant of others no matter who they are.

**

Welcome to PWInsider.com's coverage of the Lance Russell Q&A hosted by Jim Cornette at the Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest.

Cornette opened up with some amazing stats on Russell's career noting 300 million people chose to watch him over and over spanning 30 years. Lance did his old Memphis wrestling opening.

Russell said he was lucky the Memphis tapes went to Louisville because it allowed him to see Jim Cornette in his prime. Cornette questioned he ever had a prime. Russell told a story of a young Cornette chasing wrestlers down for photos.

Cornette said Lance made a career of talking good about people. Cornette said he was also responsible for hiring Dave Brown, the only Memphis TV personality to rival Lance's popularity.

They opened the floor for questions.

The first fan said Memphis wrestling was chaos but Lance held it all together. He said Lance acted as if he believed it and asked how he put so much believability to the product. Cornette said you weren't smartened up right away but once they knew they could trust him they let him in. Russell would turn down going to meetings where they would discuss the plans for the show. He saw it as a race and didn't want to know who would win. He said it was the best decision he could have made. Cornette said he knew the flavor but didn't need to know the specifics.

Cornette said when you see old footage and hear Lance Russell, that is the soundtrack of the promotion. Russell said when they entered an empty arena and it's so silent, it's hard to believe how hard it is to call a match without the crowd reaction and feedback. Cornette said the Empty Arena match showed how hard it is to do wrestling without the passion of the fans.

They told a story of Lance calling a TV show live after a bomb threat was called in to the Memphis TV studio. It was a tough situation as they ride to get by without letting the viewers knowing they were clearing the building. They went to commercial, got everyone out and came back to a 20 minute Lance and Jerry Lawler promo as the cops searched the building. They couldn't announce it because it would lead to someone doing that every week.

Lance was asked about Jos LeDuc cutting his own arm on TV for a blood oath. Lance said no one was more shocked than he was. Lance said when he did it. It was a scary thing and he didn't know. He also didn't know when Bill Dundee and Gorgeous George Jr. did the promo when George called him Dundee a chickenshit on TV. Lance took the mic out of his hands and stuck it in his jacket.

Cornette asked him about the show where Eddie Gilbert tried to run over Jerry Lawler win a car. Lance said he was inside and didn't know they had two idiots working for them. Cornette said Lawler said he used to do this in High School but apparently they had different cars then. Lawler went over the hood, the windshield and the roof and Doug Gilbert thought Eddie had killed him. People flooded the switchboards and the police. Lawler had to go back in TV to show everyone he was OK and stop the calls.

Lance was asked if he had any good stories of ribs being pulled on him. He told a story of The Road Warriors grabbed him and carried him to the ring then told him to put his arms out and slide. He asked how he could slide with this nose.

Cornette talked about the banana nose nickname. He's linked with Lawler and asked Lance who were the other guys he enjoyed working with. Lance said at 98 his mind isn't as quick as Corny's but he loved working with Cornette. Cornette said don't just say it because it's true. Cornette brought up Sputnick Monroe. Lance said he was savvy guy and was as a safe as working with a loaded gun verbally. He said Monroe gets credit for breaking down color barriers and he would make all sort of remarks to the ladies...all in good taste he joked. Jackie Fargo really taught everyone by setting the stage with his way of speaking.

They were asked about the angle where Lawler was found drunk and despondent after losing the Southern title to Bill Dundee. Lance said he was called to Lawler's house and found him sitting outside his house a complete mess. That began the rehab of Lawler to get him back to form.

They discussed how Memphis was ahead of the curve with on location videos and music videos. Lance said when he went to WCW, a lot of guys knew about Memphis TV but weren't too happy about it. Memphis had serious drama and sadness but they also had lighthearted moments and others in the business felt it was making fun of the business.

Lance told a story of working with Honkytonk Man on his first promos. He also told a story of going into a locker room and seeing how beat up Lawler was and he was shocked. Lawler said to go see the other guy, who was Bill Dundee. Dundee was beat up even worse. The fans loved it and Cornette said Dundee joked that even they believed their feud.

A fan said one if the great thing was the unpredictability and asked Lance about the most outrageous moments. Lance said he was being honest with everyone. He said sometimes he doesn't remember everything and wishes he could remember everything. He told the story of Jimmy Hart and himself running the entire show because everyone was late because of weather come from Nashville. Hart decided to dump a huge bag of flour over Lance without telling him. Lance ran back to a shower during a break and when the water hit the flour, he ended up with glue. Hart left Memphis that day.

Cornette said Lance didn't do physical angles because the belief was he announcer had to keep us credibility and not be seen as one of the boys. Russell said the guys were doing some dynamite stuff. He said Cornette was so serious with that tennis racquet that fans believed the character and some made the mistake of finding out that tennis was a 'contact sport.'

Cornette told the story of Dream Machine grabbing Lance so hard they fell. When fans would ask him if he was scared, Lance said the wrestlers were told not to touch Lance because he had to be back the next week. Cornette said that when Dream Machine grabbed Lance, it was seen as an assassination attempt.

They were asked about Austin Idol. Russell said he remembers him well. They talked about the angle where Tommy Rich was under the ring when Lawler wrestled Idol. They sent a Rich to the ring before the crowd was let in and gave him a case of beer. He was there for hours and attacked Lawler and it was a real memorable deal. Idol could be counted on for intensity but trying to get Idol, Rich and Paul Heyman out the ring was so hard. Cornette said that was the first time Heyman got a taste of Memphis Heat and could see what Cornette went through.

Lance said Andy Kaufman also got a ton of heat. He told the story of Lawler hurting Kaufman with a piledriver and Andy refusing to leave until they called an ambulance. They had to call him one and Lawler grabbed the mic and said to call him a Taxi. Cornette said Andy portrayed himself to be a lot of things but he loved what the wrestlers did and saw it as a performance art. Russell said Andy grew up loving it and it was part of who he was. Andy would fly himself in and wrestled for free. When he asked to be paid, he never cashed the check and framed it.

They were asked about the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl. They were told they could do anything but don't touch the popcorn machine. Russell said they would go to Tupelo which was 80 miles away and film material then bring it back and air it as a B show for that market. The venue was a former auto body shop and wasn't attractive for TV. Lance actually said "damn" on TV and he said it was a legitimate reaction to that brawl. Lance said mustard was everywhere. Cornette said that line was repeated in high schools all over the area that week. The brawl was outrageous to the point they played it again the following week by popular demand because there were no VCRs. It was in the middle of switching bookers and with half the crew they had, the attention this received brought all the business up within a month. They tried to repeat it a year later and it didn't work as well. Russell said other promotions tried to do it but it didn't work as well.

Lance was asked about leaving Nick Gulas for Jerry Jarrett. lance said it was hard because he was leaving a station where he had worked to get in line to become station manager one day. Cornette said that when the show went on the air and there was no Dave Brown and Lance Russell, everyone got on the phone with each other wondering where Lance was. Six weeks, they were back with Lawler and Jarrett. Lance said the replacements didn't even know wrestling.

Lance was asked about the reaction when he decided to leave Memphis for WCW. Lance said Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler were really angry about it. Cornette said it was the end of the territories. Lance was offered a ton money and made the decision he should go. Cornette said Memphis business was still remarkable for the time but you could see where things were going. Lance said it was a tough decision because he loved all those people in the Memphis and surrounding markets. He said the interaction with the people he loved and it was a difficult decision. He said it was a practical decision but it was hard.

Cornette said Lance will see the 60th anniversary of calling his first match. Everyone applauded. He saluted Lance. Lance thanked everyone for their support.

2019 - Former NWA World Champion and WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race passed away.  Mike Johnson penned the following:

When Harley Race took his final breath today at 12:50 PM at the age of 76, he did so as he lived, as a fighter.

Race had been fighting off lung cancer over the last year, downplaying its severity publicly and still appearing at conventions and his own independent promotion, World League Wrestling.  Although he was now mostly confined to a wheelchair after a number of falls that had shattered his legs, you wouldn’t have noticed anything different about Harley Race and the way he carried himself.

The trademark cigarette was always there by his side, the tool that helped refine his gravely, gritty promos.  Ever fearless, Race didn’t change who he was, even in the face of an illness that was originally reported as terminal.  He didn’t fear cancer.  After all, he was the one to be feared, the man who would put “the fear of Harley” into others, as Mick Foley famously recounted in his first autobiography.

Harley was long done with taking bumps, but if you spoke to him, the mind was still there, the same squared circle intellect that led Race to becoming, as he so often attested, the best damn wrestler on God’s Green Earth.   The tattoos may have faded with age and may have been obscurbed by surgical scars, but Race still carried the vibrancy of someone who knew he was the toughest man in the room...and he was right.  He was an older man, but the aura was remained. 

When Race was wheeled into a room, everyone who knew anything remotely worthwhile about professional wrestling knew who Harley Race was.  The accolades are endless.  The first man to win the NWA World title eight times when that was the belt that meant stardom and global exposure.  The first definitive King of the Ring in the WWF.  The man that controlled the unstoppable Vader.  The man who put Ric Flair, truly, on the map.  The man who bodyslammed Andre the Giant long before Hulk Hogan did it for the “first” time.

It didn’t matter how much the years weathered his face, how many bumps had broken down his body, or how many miles he had traveled across the world, he was Harley Race and that carried collateral like a gold card never could.

After all Harley Race was the living embodiment of the toughness of men in professional wrestling.  He was a gritty, chess player who wore down his opponents inside the ring.  He was someone who demanded respect when he spoke.  He was someone who could embody danger with his work and his words in front of the camera and behind the scenes, his thumbs up meant you were not only accepted into the upper tier of professional wrestling, but that you were going to likely make bank.

If you don’t believe me, ask Ric Flair.  Flair himself has said that his first NWA World title run didn’t exactly click, leading to him losing the belt back to Harley Race.  When Flair chased Race for the belt, the NWA Champion, touring all over the world, put a bounty out on Flair.  As Flair fought for his life and career en route to the first Starrcade, just Race’s promo setting the stage for that storyline helped raise Flair’s credibility and stardom.  By the time the first Starrcade had ended on Thanksgiving night in Greensboro, North Carolina, Race had made Ric Flair.  The match, for its time, was perfect for what it needed to be to make Ric Flair the man.  That was a gift from Harley Race, something Flair never failed to acknowledge over the years.

It was a gift Race himself was paying forward.  Sick with polio as a child, Race discovered professional wrestling on the Dumont Network as a child and found himself recruited into assisting St. Joseph, Missouri promoter Gust Karras as a teenager, helping out on farms and driving the legendary 800 lb. Happy Humphrey to bookings.

Race began to train as a teenager under Stanislaus and Wladek Zbyszko.  As if his path hadn’t already been laid out for Race, it certainly became the prime option after a fight in High School.  Race had handily beaten the other student, leading to the principal getting involved.  When the principal kneed Race to try and stop the fight, the future World Champion turned his attention to the principal, beating him down as well.  Expelled, Race left the pursuit of higher education for professional wrestling.

Breaking into the business under the name Jack Long, working the Nashville territory.  A car accident led to Race being put out of action and Race was hurt so bad, doctors intended to amputate his leg.  Learning of the diagnosis, Gust Karras rushed to the hospital and refused to allow the operation to happen, threatening bodily harm on anyone who attempted to try to move forward with the procedure.  Race eventually recovered and returned to the ring months later.

Race first wrestled under his own name while working for Dory Funk Sr.’s territory in Amarillo, Texas.  He did so, he claimed in his autobiography, based on the advice of his father that he never work to make anyone else’s name famous.  Going forward, he would never compete under any name but his own.  While in Amarillo, he linked up with Larry Hennig, leading Handsome Harley Race and Pretty Boy Larry Hennig to head to Verne Gagne’s AWA, where they held the AWA World Tag Team Championships during a strong heel run against perennial brawling heroes The Crusher and The Bruiser.  During the AWA run, Race also teamed with Chris Markoff and Hard Boiled Haggerty before leaving for the NWA, where stardom as a singles star awaited.

Like many others during that era, Race circled the NWA member territories, making bank in different areas before moving onto the next.  From Mid-Atlantic to Florida to Amarillo to Kansas City to St. Louis, Race built his name, his aura and his renowned reputation.  After runs with the NWA Missouri title and the Carolinas’ version of the United States title, Race was finally elevated to NWA World Champion in May 1973, defeating Dory Funk Jr.

Like many first World title wins, it was partially a test to see if Race could handle the stress while also simply filling the role of a transitional champion.  Dory Funk Jr. was scheduled to lose the title to longtime rival Jack Brisco but an accident in Texas led to Funk not being able to compete and lose when it came time for him to do the scheduled honors.  The Funks have always claimed that was a legitimate set of circumstances, but the belief among others was that Dory Sr. did not want his son losing the belt to Brisco.  No matter who claims what, there will always be someone who believes otherwise and it will be one of those stories that always circulates.  When Funk returned to the ring, he was placed against Race, who had been instructed that if anything went awry, he was to do whatever he needed but under no circumstances, was he to leave the ring without becoming the new champion.  In the end, everyone worked together and Race emerged as NWA Champion for the first time.

Race would lose the NWA title to Brisco after a short time, but was a made man.  He went on a tear in every territory as a heel.  He won countless titles and was obviously on deck in case the NWA needed someone with legitimate toughness and skill to carry the title.  In 1977, Race was given his second chance at the Kingpin, this time defeating Terry Funk via submission with an Indian Deathlock.

This time, the NWA and Race were intertwined for the next half decade, as Race traveled the world defending the title.  He toured Japan against Giant Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta.  He battled Tommy Rich in Atlanta.  He warred with Dusty Rhodes in Florida.  He brawled with the Sheik in Michigan.  From Pat Patterson to Dick the Bruiser to Ric Flair, Race fought them all, maturing into the handlebar mustached badass everyone remembers today.

Although Race would drop the belt for short periods of time, he would always regain the title, sometimes even dropping it on international tours for extra cash, winning it back before NWA management could learn of the change.  Race traveled to Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Canada and all points in between.  As the traveling NWA Champion, it was his job to bring the prestige of the title with him, raise the live gates and put on a classic match to the best of his ability (after all, not every opponent was going to be able to live up the quality of Harley Race in the ring), leave the challenger and the promotion stronger than he found it, and move onto the next one night stand.  It was a hard life, one that would leave his body as beaten as any car accident he was ever involved in.

Race would even carry the NWA World title into other promotions, wrestling then-WWWF Champions Bob Backlund and Harley Race and AWA World Champion Bockwinkel.  Indeed, until Nick Aldis appeared at Ring of Honor’s G1 Supercard, Harley Race was the last NWA Champion to carry that belt into the hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden.

Race lost the belt to Dusty Rhodes in 1981.  When Rhodes lost it to Flair, as noted, Race regained it for the historic 8th time, immortalized seemingly forever after breaking Lou Thesz’ record, setting the stage for the bounty storyline and Starrcade ’83 – A Flare for the Gold.  When Thanksgiving night led to Black Friday morning, Ric Flair was enshrined as the next Harley Race, in terms of positioning, and was off to the races, having been given the ultimate endorsement by Race.

Race returned to the AWA for short run in the 1984 after a falling out with NWA President Sam Mushnick, but was soon gone for another world entirely, the world of the World Wrestling Federation.  The WWF’s national expansion was wiping out territories left and right, running events in cities and markets that had previously been taboo.  Empowered by the insane popularity of Hulk Hogan, the WWF was modern civilization tearing down the old Wild Wild West.  For someone like Race, who had grown up in that era and given everything in his being to protecting pro wrestling, this was sacrilege.

Like others, Race was furious when the WWF began running in his home area, where Race owned a piece of the local company, Heart of America Sports Attractions, which covered Kansas City and St. Louis.  In a well-known story, Race showed up backstage at a WWF event in Kansas City, where, depending on who is telling the story, he pulled a gun on Hulk Hogan and threatened him.  Other versions of the story simply have Race sneaking behind Hogan and sticking a finger in his back as a rib, while others simply have Race at the show because he was about to do the unthinkable.

Race, who started in the business, driving around Happy Humphry, an over the top spectacle of an attraction if there ever was one, was going to join the circus.  Exit Handsome Harley.  Say hello to the King.

Race debuted for the WWF in May 1986, managed by Bobby Heenan.  The mustache was gone.  His brown hair had been painted blonde and as was policy at that point, WWF completely ignored his past.  Race received his first major push by virtue of winning the annual King of the Ring, an annual tournament held in Boston, only this win was acknowledged on WWF programming, with Race crowned The King, wearing a garish purple robe and crown.

The look was as far removed from what fans would expect of the man who defined the NWA for years, but to his credit, Race dove into the character with gusto, doing a gimmick where Race would force his beaten opponents to bow before him.  When Junkyard Dog, who at the time was in the upper echelon of WWF heroes, refused, Race and Heenan beat and whipped JYD.  This all led to Wrestlemania III, where the loser would have to bow to the winner.  Race scored the win cleanly with a belly to belly, shocking at the time since most WWF villains needed to use underhanded tactics to win.  JYD bowed as if he was an actor at the end of a play, then attacked Race with a chair.  While the two would wrestle again, Race easily captured the feud.

Race would go on to feud with Hacksaw Duggan, including a series of vignettes that looking back, would never be produced today, as the two brawled all over backstage at a syndicated Slammy Awards special, including a live chicken being used as a weapon.

Race’s run would continue unencumbered until 1988 when Race went for a flying headbutt off an apron through a table on Hulk Hogan.  The WWF Champion moved and when Race hit the table, the metal edge drilled into his abdomen, causing a hernia and requiring extensive surgery to repair.  With Race out of action for a long period of time, Haku was named the new King, leading to Race coming back to challenge him, unsuccessfully, the Crown.

Race’s WWF run ended, with Race bouncing around every available territory, from Stampede to Puerto Rico and even another AWA return, where he wrestled then-AWA World Champion Larry Zbyszko in one of that promotion’s final title bouts.

Race would soon arrive in World Championship Wrestling, which for all intents and purposes, carried the ghosts of the NWA.  Race would wrestle former foe Tommy Rich at the 1990 Great American Bash and challenge Lex Luger for the U.S. title, but never had a strongly pushed, defined role.  He was used as a utility heel, someone who could have good, solid matches and get talents over.  He would wrestle his final, official match in the summer of 1990 following a shoulder injury.

By July 1991, Race was shifted into another role, manager.  Race would manage Lex Luger following Luger’s WCW World title win at the Great American Bash in 1991.  With Ric Flair long gone for the WWF, Race was placed with Luger to give him additional credibility as the promotion flailed wildly, trying to find something to right the ship that had been lost to the rapids in the wake of Flair bolting.

Race would manage several others including Kevin Nash (as Vinnie Vegas), Yoshi Kwan (Chris Champion) and the masked Super Invader (Hercules Hernandez) before being put with Big Van Vader.  The international star, cast as the unstoppable beast who feels no pain, meshed with the grit and aura of Harley Race, was a winning duo, holding WCW together with a great feud against Sting that was among Sting’s best programs.  Vader’s fearsome feud with Mick Foley also remains memorable, despite some silly WCW creative in the middle of it, with a trilogy of incredible brawls that culminated with the 1993 Halloween Havoc PPV. 

Race himself returned to the ring for a trilogy of live event matches against Flair, who had returned to WCW, in the fall of 1993.  He continued to manage Vader until another car accident led to a hip replacement and force Race out of active professional wrestling.  While he would make sporadic appearances and cameos, sometimes doing angles to get over WWE heels, but Race was all but done with wrestling on a national basis.  He had fought to the end, never doing it the easy way, taking bumps almost every night while managing Vader, when a lesser talent would have done the least with the most. 

Race was rightfully inducted into just about every professional wrestling Hall of Fame one could come up with, including the WWE Hall of Fame, the now defunct WCW Hall of Fame, the Thesz/Tragos Hall of Fame in Iowa, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in Texas (formerly located in Upstate New York), and many more.

Race formed World League Wrestling and began training the next generation of students, including former WWE star Trevor Murdoch, Ace Steel, Matt Murphy, Beer City Bruiser, Superstar Steve, Tommaso Ciampa and Leland Race.   Race began a series of training seminars with Les Thatcher and settled down in Eldon, Missouri where the WLW promotion ran regularly and Race hosted training seminars.  He forged a relationship with Pro Wrestling NOAH, allowing his students a place to go and learn while touring overseas.

Race had dealt with a number of physical issues in recent years, including a number of vertebrae in his back fused together, numerous neck surgeries, knee replacements and more.  Race noted to several that he felt a good part of his problems were based on the flying headbutts and all the heavy bumps.  Race would break both legs in May 2017 during a fall in home. 

Despite the initial announcement (by Flair) that Race was fighting terminal lung cancer, Race and others would quickly claim that it was not terminal.  He was still regularly appearing at wrestling conventions and earlier this year, was in Philadelphia and New York City for signings.  He was on his way to Knoxville for a signing when he took ill and went to a hospital.  It was decreed he needed to be admitted and he never made the convention.  Money was raised to bring him back home to Missouri, where he returned home before needing to be admitted yet again.  In recent days, it was known the end was near with every move possibly made to keep Race comfortable for his final fight.

Race published an autobiography King of the Ring in 2013.  He was survived by a number of children and grandchildren, and leaves behind not just a legacy that will live on forever, but a blueprint in toughness and excellence in performing.  That work ethic was channeled by many in the business, with a number of stars, including Triple H, CM Punk and Nick Aldis all having been inspired by Race's style and prowess in the ring.

On behalf of everyone associated with PWInsider.com, we send our deepest condolences to the family, friends and fans of the great Harley Race.  The king is dead.  Long live the king.

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