I’ve broken my long run of documentary reviews, by throwing in a book review. I hope you’re not too surprised, but I can indeed read. I love wrestling books, which is hardly surprising. My most recent expedition into the world of pro wrestling was flicking through The Hardcore Truth: The Bob Holly Story. Some of you may remember Bob as Hardcore Holly, a very long term WWF/E superstar. He started working for Vince before the Attitude Era, and besides a few injury lay-offs, was a consistent performer all the way through until the mid-2000s when he won the tag team title with Cody Rhodes before retirement. I’ve never known too much about Holly, but always had fond memories of him from the late 90s and most notably his work in the hardcore division. I’ve learned a lot about him, the business and people’s misconceptions. Let’s delve.
With the help of English writer Ross Williams, Bob justifiably puts himself over as a loyal company man. He also talks up his ability to put in consistently solid performances, an attribute which few would deny him. I could have guessed this much myself. What I didn’t know is that the IWC has had a long running problem with Holly. He has been labelled a bully by many people who probably think they know more than they do. A particular instance on Tough Enough caused a stir. I’m sure you already know about this stuff, if not do look it up. My take on it is that he was a stiff, solid worker, who didn’t take shit or disrespect lightly. I commend that.
The book is very honest, brutally so in some cases, and I found that endearing. It also educated me a lot. I’d rather spend my time submerged in new discoveries and thought provoking insights, than read a huge book about a load of accomplishments. I already know how many times these characters have won gold. A wrestling book doesn’t need to be wrote by a top guy to be informative and entertaining, and this proves that more than any other. Bob never really reached the top, but he certainly went everywhere else. He has a great story to tell, and a lot of dirt to dish out.
I also found this to be a delightful trip down memory lane at times. The passing references to stars I’d forgotten existed, the reminders of moments I’d overlooked, the behind-the-scenes reality of many events I’d only previously half understood. It did a lot to take my mind back. The opening chapters about his childhood, adulthood and all that other bullshit dragged on, but it always does. Chris Jericho is the only exception. Everyone else needs to shut up about all that, and get to the point: the wrestling business. Okay, that’s a little harsh, but you get my point.
Some would say that Hardcore Bob is a little bitter, but I just found him to be straight shooting. He really didn’t hold back when it came time to condemn people. He also showed a great deal of respect and humility to people who probably don’t deserve it. The man put his body and mind into the McMahon machine for most of his adult life, and didn’t get the recognition he deserved. He earned a good living, put on some great matches and made some terrific memories. All he was missing was a moment of true recognition. That eluded him, but if anything, he still exercised respect and understanding. That takes a lot of courage.
I would definitely recommend this book. This hasn’t been the most extensively detailed review, but that’s because I don’t want to spoil the book for you. What I will say is that whatever idea or perception you have about this man will change after you read this. I guarantee it! Go read it, come back here, and post a comment. You won’t regret it!
Thanks for reading,