"The Man They Call Vader" is disputing a report published on WrestlingInc.com on Saturday stating that he engaged in a physical altercation with WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race at that day's "Legends of the Ring" convention in Monroe, New Jersey.
According to multiple accounts, the two wrestling legends had a brief scuffle after Race voiced his disapproval with Vader acting belligerent toward fans. Race is alleged to have punched Vader in the face in response to a smart aleck remark on the part of the three-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion. Vader reportedly lashed back at the 69-year-old, but accidentally struck and hurt a worker who came between them.
Vader is saying the reported claims are a "complete fabrication." He wrote Monday afternoon on Twitter, "Just read Wrestling inc .com what a bunch of bullshi!!!.Harley has been and has always my friend some one I respect and admire. Not mention he is seventy yrs old has a very bad knee.Total and complete fabrication.Harley arrived @the autograph session enthusiasticly greeted me hello by patting me on the back of my head w/HOF ring thats it end of story We took some pics together w/ fans and parted ways."
Meanwhile, his official Facebook page issued the following statement Monday night from a person who witnessed the incident: "This is the Truth...
"I find it amusing how things get so blown out of proportion. I was standing next to Race and Vader when this "supposedly happened." If you want the "real" story, from an unbiased 3rd party, it went down like this: Vader was sitting in a chair at his table doing autographs and such. Race was brought in mid-day for a short signing/pic stint. Vader was seated at the end of the table, which meant he would have to get up and move for Race to get by. For the record, Race was NOT on a scooter, and wasn't even using a cane, I don't know why the original person felt the need to make it sound like Race was wheeled out of an old age home. Anyways, Race and his family walk up to the table, and Race gives Vader a smack on the back--a hello, wrestler style. Vader was caught a little off guard and had no clue who did it, so he was like what the F? He turned around and saw it was Race, and Race laughed and said hello. Vader was like why the F did you do that? Race was already moved past him getting in to his seat. Vader says "F this, I am out of here." In reality, he went to the bathroom. He came back a few minutes later when he was "done." While on his was back from the bathroom, he felt the need to demonstrate on the "other guy" to show him what Race did. The "other guy" was like ... oww ... that FN hurt. Vader responds: that's how Race did it. Vader returns to the table and nothing further is said. Five minutes later, the announcer gets on the PA and says it is time for the Race and Vader professional photo opp, which was set up in the hallway. Race and Vader get up and sit inches away from one another and take DOZENS of photos with fans -- not really a "step in to the hallway to 'have words'" as reported. When the photos are done, both return to the table and all continued going well. So, to sum it all up, Race did not PUNCH Vader in the FACE, Race SLAPPED Vader on the BACK OF THE NECK. Vader was NOT belligerent rather surprised and a tad annoyed. Vader DID NOT swing back. RACE was not in a motorized scooter. And finally they DID NOT step in to the hallways to "have words."
"If ANYONE has video that shows otherwise, or even claims to have video, I would be totally surprised and would LOVE to be shown otherwise. Granted, the RACE punches VADER in face is a much more "newsworthy" way of spinning this, but in the end, it was a slight misunderstanding at a small wrestling themed convention in NJ!"