NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis was recently a special guest on Busted Open Radio to comment on the recent passing of Harley Race. Aldis had interacted with Race quite a bit over the years with his status as NWA World Champion, a title race helped legitimize throughout his career. During the show, Aldis shared a great story about Race pulling him aside during one of his camps when Aldis was 19 or 20-years-old, telling him he’d be somebody in the business one day.
Here’s what he had to say:
I had the chance to go and train at Harley’s camp back in 2007. I had a special relationship with Harley, I guess, after that, like a lot of guys had success in our business had been through Harley’s camp at some point. The year I was there, Joe Hennig (Curtis Axel) was there, Sam Shaw who is now with NXT as Dexter Lumis, there was a number of really good guys there. We all bonded and shared something special. For me, Harley Race was the first really big name guy, real legend of our business that I ever met.
And he was also the first one to really encourage me and give me a kind word. I’ll never forget, we’d been in the camp a couple of days running pretty hard on the drills. He was very much about the Japanese-style of coaching which was drill, drill, and drill until you get it perfect. I remember he’s a man of few words when it comes to how he conducts himself outside of the business or behind the scenes. I remember he would just sit very quietly, very stoically and everyone was very respectful of him.
Very approachable, but he didn’t say a lot. However, he motioned, called me over, I kind of walked over super nervous – I was like 19 or 20-years-old – and he just pulled me in real close and said very quietly, ‘You keep doing this kid, you got something, you’re going to do something in this business, keep going, stick at it.’ That was – anytime I saw him after that, it was just amazing.
To then be able to interact with him with the NWA title and everything I’ve been fortunate enough to do and all the opportunities I’ve been able to have as a result of the work that we’ve done with that – it’s special. He’s a special guy, it means a lot to me.