Welcome to another edition of The Count of 10. Each week, Justin Henry picks the brain of a different wrestling personality, asking a blend of serious inquiries, along with generally irreverent questions.
This week, we’re graced by a fifteen year veteran of World Wrestling Entertainment, Bob “Hardcore” Holly. Mr. Holly had an interesting evolution during his decade and a half run in WWE, going from cartoonish racecar driver, floundering with little purpose, to becoming a considerable part of WWE’s “Attitude Era”, remaking himself as a no-nonsense bad ass who’d fight anyone, any time. It was after Holly took on the “Hardcore” moniker that he would compete with the likes of The Rock, Mick Foley, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, and others when WWE was at its mainstream peak. During this time, he racked up Hardcore Championship reigns, and even a Tag Team Title reign with his fictional cousin Crash.
Holly’s been levied with several criticisms in his career, the most notable being that he’s allegedly a bully who strikes opponents with far more gusto than necessary. In his memoirs, “The Hardcore Truth”, released on April 1 by ECW Press, Holly addresses this, and sheds light on many of the things he’s seen and experienced in his wrestling career. The book has received near-unanimous praise for its straightforwardness and honesty, as Bob Holly isn’t shy to discuss anything and everything without sugarcoating.
Those willing to purchase Holly’s book (it’s highly recommended by myself and our own RD Reynolds; his answers here are brief, but his stories in the book are much more detailed and captivating) can do so on Amazon. Holly also regularly interacts with fans on Twitter.
And a special thank you to Ms. Sarah Dunn of ECW Press for helping set up this interview with Mr. Holly. She was highly courteous and helpful.
1. Having worked for World Wrestling Entertainment for 15 years, you’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of wrestlers come and go and you’ve likely seen politics in play, and career paths altered. Off the top of your head, can you think of anyone who would/should have been pushed harder, but was cut off at the knees?
Paul London and Brian Kendrick
2. In my recent interview with Headbanger Thrasher, he backed up the popular assertion of Jim Cornette’s notorious temper. Having worked for Cornette in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and with him in WWE, have you ever incurred his anger for any reason?
NEVER! Seen him upset but never blew a gasket!
3. You came into WWE at a time when the product was skewing toward broader gimmicks, with a cartoony slant. When you were given the race car driver persona, which perspective did you take: ‘I’m just happy to have a consistent job’, or ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this’?
Just happy to be with the WWF and you have to start somewhere, good, bad or indifferent gimmicks.
4. When you transitioned from “Sparky Plugg” through the new Midnight Express and Job Squad, you got a break when you became Hardcore Holly in 1999. After five years of being used in a lesser role, who from the office first took up for you and said, “We should give Bob this shot”?
I have no clue.
5. In a match with Rob Van Dam in ECW in 2006, you notoriously sliced your back on the edge of a table, which was immortalized in the “don’t try this at home” PSAs. That leads me to wonder, what was the most painful injury you recall sustaining?
When I continued the match with a broken arm. (Note: this incident was in June 2000, during a match on Smackdown against Kurt Angle; Angle missed his mark on a moonsault and landed on Holly’s arm)
6. What happened in your match with Brock Lesnar in 2002, where you suffered a broken neck? Some outlets claim you were sandbagging him prior to the powerbomb, but was that the case?
No, detailed in my book. If Brock can belly to belly suplex Big Show over his head, do you really think I can sandbag Brock Lesnar…highly unlikely and impossible! Just a move that went wrong as moves do go wrong at times in pro wrestling.
7. When someone thinks of Hardcore Holly, they think of someone who worked a little bit stiffer than most, and didn’t pull many punches. If you had to estimate, out of every ten opponents, how many would you say disliked working with you? Is it less than people would think?
Yes! Most everybody enjoyed working with me because they could hit me as hard as they wanted to and I wouldn’t complain. Just ask Bradshaw! (laughs)
8. You were loyal to the WWE no matter what, even turning down a contract with WCW for more money. In the book, you said you weren’t interested in TNA. Is there anything that really turned you off to both companies?
I just wasn’t ready to go back to wrestling at that time, but last month I did a PPV taping in Orlando called Hardcore Justice, which the air date is TBA
9. Reviews for your book, The Hardcore Truth, rave about the fact that you sugarcoat nothing, and give a straight-forward, impartial look at your time in wrestling. What would readers be most surprised to learn from your memoirs?
That I am not the horrible person that the internet has portrayed me to be which are people who have never met me.
10. As I write this, WrestleMania XXIX is this weekend. Your match at WrestleMania X got knocked off due to ‘time constraints’, that is Shawn and Razor ignoring their cues and going too long. Other times you were simply left off the card, when other, arguably less over, folks made it. What advice would you give to folks in the company today who are going through the same thing?
Do the best job you can and work as hard as you can without complaining, with the hope that you’ll work on top one day. If you don’t, at least you worked for one of the biggest sports entertainment companies in the world!