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The King: Dark Side of the Ring Unveils Harley Race’s Legacy

Harley Race. The name itself evokes a certain image: a stoic champion, a relentless competitor, a man who ruled the wrestling world with an iron fist. Dark Side of the Ring dives into this legend in Season 5, Episode 5, titled “The Life and Legends of Harley Race.” But beyond the championship belts and piledrivers lies a complex story, a tale of brilliance and brutality, of dedication and darkness.

This episode isn’t just about showcasing Harley Race’s wrestling accolades. It delves into the man behind the tights, exploring his motivations, his impact on the industry, and the shadows that clung to his career. So, put on your elbow pads (or grab your popcorn, depending on your wrestling fandom) as we dissect Dark Side of the Ring’s exploration of “The King.”

A Ring King is Crowned

The episode opens with a flurry of highlights, showcasing Race’s undeniable in-ring prowess. From his early days in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) to his reign as the WWF Heavyweight Champion, Race’s intensity and technical mastery are on full display. Interviews with colleagues like Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat paint a picture of a competitor who demanded excellence from himself and everyone around him.

But Dark Side of the Ring doesn’t shy away from the darker aspects of Race’s pursuit of perfection. The documentary delves into his reputation for being a demanding, often ruthless taskmaster. Wrestlers like Randy Savage and Tommy Dreamer share stories of Race’s hazing rituals and stiff in-ring work, a style that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable, even in the rough-and-tumble world of professional wrestling.

The Territories: Where Legends Were Forged

The episode dives deep into the era of wrestling territories, a time when promotions like the NWA and Jim Crockett Promotions held regional dominance. These territories were breeding grounds for talent, and Harley Race was a product of this system. He thrived in the cutthroat competition, honing his skills and building a reputation as a true “wrestling machine.”

Dark Side of the Ring explores the unique challenges and opportunities these territories presented. Wrestlers often traveled long distances, working multiple shows a week. The competition was fierce, and rivalries were real. This environment undoubtedly shaped Race’s approach to the business. He became a symbol of territorial wrestling, a champion who embodied its grit and determination.

The NWA Title: A Reign of Dominance

One of the defining moments of Harley Race’s career was his capture of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1 979. The NWA title, at that time, was considered the most prestigious championship in professional wrestling. Race’s reign solidified his status as a top-tier talent, a wrestler who could carry the weight of an entire promotion.

The episode features interviews with wrestling historians and journalists who discuss the significance of Race’s championship run. They delve into his legendary feuds with Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and “The American Dream” Terry Funk. These clashes not only produced unforgettable matches but also helped shape the landscape of professional wrestling.

WWF Champion: A Brief but Impactful Run

In 1986, Harley Race made a shocking move, jumping from the NWA to the WWF. This was a time of transition for the WWF, with Vince McMahon on the verge of taking the company national. Race’s arrival was seen as a way to add legitimacy to the promotion, a veteran presence to challenge the rising stars like Hulk Hogan.

While Race’s WWF title reign was short-lived, it left its mark on the industry. The episode explores the challenges Race faced in a company with a different style and a focus on larger-than-life personas. Despite the difficulties, Race delivered some memorable matches, most notably his brutal cage match against “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

Beyond the Ring: A Legacy of Controversy

Dark Side of the Ring doesn’t shy away from the controversies surrounding Harley Race. The episode delves into allegations of racism and homophobia within the wrestling industry during his era. While Race has never directly addressed these accusations, the documentary presents them as part of the larger conversation about the culture of professional wrestling in the past.

The episode also explores Race’s later career, a period marked by injuries and personal struggles. Interviews with friends and colleagues offer a glimpse into the man behind the larger-than-life persona, revealing a complex individual battling his own demons.

The King’s Final Bell

Harley Race passed away in 2019, leaving behind a legacy that is both celebrated and challenged. Dark Side of the Ring doesn’t offer a definitive answer on how to judge “The King.”

Watch Dark Side Of The Ring S05E05: Harley Race Full Show Online Free Review