Chapter 3. Harley Race
The KC guys made a huge score by getting Harley Race to agree to lay down a bunch of
commentary tracks for his legendary matches, and these matches were truly that. This was a new
echelon being explored, as they’d now be able to cover the title match with Jack Brisco, Flair in the
cage, and more. These tracks would put the listener on the couch with the great NWA champion
as he walked us through the inner workings of each match. This would potentially be a Master
Class like no other.
Tony: I was real nervous when it came time for us to work with Harley. This was Harley
Race, one of the toughest, most respected and honored legends out there. On top of all
that, he is as “old school” as they come, being the top guy during a time when the business
was protected at all costs. Would he cooperate with us and really tell us about what was
happening during the matches? Would he think we were a couple of idiots and be
combative with us? All these things literally gave me knots in my stomach as we drove to
As the flag-bearer for the bygone era that upheld and fought for kayfabe, a real concern became
how far back Harley would draw the curtain for these tracks. That was on both Sean and Tony’s
mind when they sat down for dinner.
Sean: We had never met Harley, so we went to dinner with him and his wonderful, late wife
BJ. I sat next to Harley and we talked wrestling, sports, etc. He was cordial, but pretty
guarded and reserved. After all, the whole premise of what we were trying to do with the
commentaries really shit all over kayfabe. I think maybe he was hesitant.
During the meal, amid the small talk, Harley leaned over to Sean and they had an exchange which
changed the timbre of the relationship.
Sean: Harley says ‘so your company is called Kayfabe Commentaries, huh?’ I say ‘yes’ and
he starts speaking Carny to me. For a second I was thrown, but he’s sitting there staring at
me, BJ is looking on, barely concealing a smile. So I responded in kind. I told him, in Carny,
that I am really bad at it, unless I go slowly. I’m not one of the guys. He laughed, corrected
one of my mispronounced Carny words, and went back to eating. But from that point on, he
answered anything I asked him, before, during, and after the session. But that wasn’t the
weirdest part of the night.
After retreating to the recording room to lay
down the tracks while watching the historic
matches, the Bud Lights began flowing,
Harley’s Marlboros filled the room, and he
loosened up even more. During some
down-time he performed a feat of strength
that to this day leaves Sean amazed.
Sean: Well, there were two acts Harley
performed with his hands that leave me
speechless. First, he turns to me
holding a bottle cap from his beer and
says, ‘See if you can you do this?’ I
told him that right off the bat, when
anyone asks me that, the answer is
usually ‘no.’ But I said go ahead
anyway. He put the cap between his
pinky and ring finger, and folded it in
half! I know people can bend shit like
rods and irons...but Harley did that with
the two weakest fingers on the hand. Folded the friggin thing into a clamshell.
Weren’t there two stories about Harley’s hand?
Sean: We were expecting a blizzard in NJ that night, and Harley and BJ had to fly out early the next
morning to get to an event in Kansas City. He was getting nervous as the snow lightly began to
come down, which was pretty late into the night. He was sitting beside me as I stood to look out
the window and assess the accumulation, and he says ‘if we’re snowed-in to NJ for the weekend
this’ll cost you a few grand more,’ and then he reaches between my legs from behind, and pinches
my balls. I swear I didn’t know what to say, and saying it in Carny wouldn’t have helped. He’s
cackling away, sipping his beer, and I’m standing staring at snowfall in a Holiday Inn at the Newark
Airport, after having had my testicles poked by a seven-time NWA world champion. What business
The session proved to a success and a real chronicle of some landmark NWA moments, told from
the inside by one of the all time greats.
Tony: Harley was completely gracious and gave us everything we wanted and more. It was our
longest session with one person and we went through almost twice as many matches with him than
we had with either Honky or Valentine. The commentaries he provided really are, as they were
cleverly marketed at the time, a master class on his career.
Harley’s bottlecap is folded, Sean is getting a hernia.