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Jim Ross On Claims That Vince McMahon Tried to Steal Harley Race and NWA Title Before Starrcde ’83

August 9, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

– Jim Ross discussed the longstanding claims that Vince McMahon tried to buy the NWA Title and steal Harley Race from the company just before Starrcade ’83 on the latest Grilling JR. Race was booked to lose the championship to Ric Flair, which would give Flair the rub and christen him as the next #1 guy in the NWA.

The story from Race goes that in November of 1983, just before NWA Starrcade, McMahon invited Race up to Connecticut to meet him. When Race arrived, McMahon offered him $250,000 to join the WWF immediately and not lose the title, but to bring it to the WWF. Race refused, saying that he wouldn’t be able to look himself in the mirror if he did so. He went to Greensboro and lost the title to Flair as he was booked.

Highlights from the discussion are below:

On the rumor that Vince McMahon tried to steal Race and buy the NWA Title to sabotage Starrcade: “I’m sure I heard it from Bill Watts, because Watts was plugged into all that stuff even though he wasn’t a member of the [NWA]. Which further irked him, but he had great rapport with all the champions, because they liked working with Bill, and they had worked with Bill in other territories. Florida, Atlanta, so forth. I just heard that Harley was basically offended that McMahon would essentially try to buy his character. Not the TV character, his personal character. His integrity. Harley had an amazing reputation of being that J.B. Books [John Wayne’s The Shootist character], that classic gunfighter that didn’t make excuses, and he kept his word. And I know that obviously, that the business is already laid out what he was gonna do when he got to Greensboro. He was gonna lose to Ric, and anoint Ric as the next guy. And he’d given his word on that deal. And he’d invested all these years and miles and hospital stays, stitches, the blood and the guts and the beard and all that stuff for years in NWA. He wasn’t gonna do anything to slice it apart.”

On Race’s eventual move to WWF: “And people say ‘Well, why did he go to WWF later?’ Because it was later. It wasn’t this time. And the motive was, the Alliance was already coming a little bit splintered, to say the least. And he went there to work, make a living. It’s pretty simple. So I’ve heard a lot of stories, but it was, Vince was used to getting his way. He thought Harley had a price. And unlike the character of the Million Dollar Man, Harley had no price for Vince on that day.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.