How do you like him now?Bob "Hardcore" Holly
(born Robert William Howard
on January 29, 1963) is an American professional wrestler
, whose tenure with WWE lasted from 1991 to 2008
. Initially, Holly portrayed happy-go-lucky NASCAR
racer turned wrestler Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, which failed to garner much success. During the second half of the decade, Holly became a member of the tongue-in-cheek J.O.B. Squad; the stable disbanded after Holly's win over Al Snow
in one of the inaugural matches of the newly-created WWF Hardcore Championship, setting the tone for the hardcore wrestling
division of WWF's Attitude Era
Having thus earned his moniker of "Hardcore", Holly would capture the Hardcore Championship five more times, becoming one of the relatively few holders of that to boast respectable, lengthy title reigns. Holly would later form a minor stable together with (kayfabe
) cousins Crash and Molly Holly
. After the stable's dissolution, Holly would spend the remainder of his WWE career in and out of action with various injuries; notably, he was in a main event feud with then-WWE Champion Brock Lesnar
, had a well-remembered Extreme Rules Match with Rob Van Dam
in WWE's revived ECW, and won the WWE World Tag Team Championship with Cody Rhodes
on the 15th anniversary episode of WWE Raw
As per usual, The Other Wiki
has a detailed, lengthy write-up
on Holly's career.
"How do you like my tropes now?":
- A Day in the Limelight: His 2003/2004 main event feud with Brock Lesnar was his biggest ever push.
- Aerith and Bob: The Holly Cousins were Molly, Bob... and Crash.
- Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better
- This was Bob's relationship with his cousin, Crash. It lead to them fighting and working together as a tag team in an effort to prove who the superior Holly was.
- While Spanky had mostly positive things to say about Bob Holly, he did not think he and Paul London were working out enough. But Spanky found out, while trying placate him, that any action regarding the gym that could be perceived as competitive brought a problem all its own, so he always made sure that his workout was less than Bob's.
- Armor-Piercing Slap: Delivered one to Cody Rhodes during their feud, to "bring out the fire" in the rookie.
- Arch-Enemy: In kayfabe, Lesnar is the closest thing to be found. In real life, he has threatened Mr. Kennedy on his life.
- Atrocious Alias: Would you take a guy named Thurman "Sparky" Plugg seriously? Hell, even Holly himself hated it.
- Bash Brothers: In some alternate universe, where this trope is named "Combat Cousins", the Holly Cousins would be the page picture.
- Biography: Has written a 2013 biography, The Hardcore Truth, together with Ross Williams.
- Blood Knight: Above all, Holly loves to fight. He can dish it out, and he can take it. By all accounts, this also applies to his real life self.
- The Bully: Apparently, he has a reputation for being this backstage. But many wrestlers, like Maven, Spike Dudley, Al Snow, Billy Gunn, Jackie Gayda & Charlie Haas all speak highly of him.
- Catch Phrase: "I'm the Big Shot," though it didn't really catch on... alternatively, "nut up or shut up" was also bandied about at the time.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: To some degree. After being turned face due to favorable crowd reactions after the aforementioned table match, he turned on RVD from out of nowhere in a tag match, with absolutely no buildup.
- Continuity Nod: Before his now infamous match with Matt Cappotelli in OVW, Jim Cornette made sure to note his cousin was also going to be on the show, Molly Holly was taking on Jillian Hall
- Cloudcuckoolander: Hardcore Holly and Crash were convinced they were super heavyweights who came in and well over 400 pounds each on the scales. Now Bob was not exactly a small man but in reality, their combined weight didn't top 400 until Molly joined them.
- Cool Car: His NASCAR racing car from the Sparky Plugg days.
- Determinator: Sustained severe injuries in several matches, and finished them. Possibly the most notable such occurrence would be his table match against Rob Van Dam in 2006, in which he sustained a huge gash on his back after a botched table landing. This is often described as one of the few moments of the "new" ECW that lived up to that promotion's legacy.
- Broke his arm during a match with Kurt Angle and finished the match, because as he said "The pain can't get much worse so I might as well finish".
- On another level, thought the veracity of said claim is easily disputed since it was WWE.com that reported it, at various points during injury recovery, Holly is said to have refused taking painkillers.
- A notable in-character moment would be his resisting CM Punk's (formerly) insta-kill Anaconda Vice and handing Punk his first ever WWE loss.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: His role in the second season of WWE Tough Enough.
- Early Installment Weirdness: There are few to no common characteristics shared between Plugg and Hardcore.
- '80s Hair: Spark plug, though his hair line was starting to recede.
- Finishing Move:
- As Hardcore, he used the Alabama Slam (double leg slam), and for a time, the Hollycaust/Falcon Arrow (sitout suplex slam). Of course, in his heyday, the finishing move would more likely be innovative usage of foreign objects.
- "Sparky" Plugg had the Pitstop Plunge, a diving knee drop from the top rope.
- Fun with Acronyms: Sparky Thurman Plugg is ostensibly a play on STP, the motor oil brand... which begs the question as to why the name ended up like it did.
- Game-Breaking Injury: Defied with a vengeance! Aside from the aforementioned Determinator moment, he has survived at least one illness (a staph infection) that could have killed him.
- Gave Up Too Soon: He tapped out to Kurt Angle's anklelock on Velocity even though a little more effort to stretch his arm would have put it under the bottom rope and forced a break or DQ. It was as jarring as it sounds for this to happen to Hardcore Holly.
- Heel-Face Turn: Notably, he had one of his few periods of clear-cut character alignment after the aforementioned ECW injury due to having earned fans' adoration and respect... this instantly killed his push.
- He's Back: His 2003 return from a neck injury, during which he ran roughshod over several superstars, Stone Cold-style, notably choking out The Big Show with a chair.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Billy Gunn, at various points. Hilarious, considering Gunn's one-time gimmick.
- I Have the High Ground: Brought top rope attacks back into his arsenal as Hardcore Holly while wrestling on Velocity.
- Jobber: Worked as an "underneath guy" for a majority of his career, but J.O.B. Squad
- Kangaroo Court: Was part of the infamous "Wrestlers' Court" described on the page.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: As Nova implied, he may have been known for being harsh to rookies, in and out of story but that many of the guys he beat on did deserve it. For example, he was sad when he went to town on Renee Dupree but it was for Dupree's own good since he had a drug problem and needed sense beaten into him.
- Garbage Wrestler: They don't call him "Hardcore" for nothin'.
- Groin Attack: The move, whose name varies intensely, wherein he hangs an opponent on the ropes and delivers a kick to their "groin" (really their midsection, but in theory his thigh also hits the crotch).
- Knight Templar: His dedication to the business and old school values can be likened to this for the outsider.
- Iconic Item: The huge weight/scale, shared between the Holly Cousins.
- Improbable Weapon User: Oh boy. He won his WrestleMania 2000 match by busting open Crash's skull with a cookie jar (though this is reputed to be a botched ending to the match), and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
- It's Personal: His 2003/2004 feud with Lesnar over the latter having broken his neck.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Most fans who've actually met Holly at autograph signings or whatever can attest to this.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: To Daniel Puder in OVW.
- Odd Couple: Grizzled veteran Holly and young, idealistic rookie Cody Rhodes. Referred to as such by commentary more than once.
- Power Stable:
- Real Life Writes the Plot:
- Back in 2000, he was in an off-screen relationship with the EMT Diva B.B. (real name Cathy Dingman) while he was in the process of divorcing his wife at the time. WWE canned Dingman for this, with The Dudley Boys putting her through a table to send her out of WWE.note
- His feud with Lesnar. After all, he legitimately broke his neck.
- Real Men Wear Pink: His wrestling attire, as "Sparky" Plugg and Hardcore alike, often bore... unlikely color combinations.
- Red Baron: "Hardcore". Also, "Hollywood" in Memphis and "The Big Shot". "Superstar" during his days in Alabama. "Bombastic" as part of the New Midnight Express.
- Revenge: The motivation for his feud with Brock Lesnar.
- The Runner Up Takes It All: In 1994, Pro Wrestling Illustrated named ECW's 911 "Rookie of the Year," with Holly coming in second, ahead of Abbudah Singh (Balls Mahoney) and Mikey Whipwreck. While Mikey is the only one of those four to ever be a World Heavyweight Champion, Holly is easily the most famous out of all of them.
- Signature Move: The Pitstop plunge knee drop. He made use of an unorthodox flying body attack before switching it out for a diving clothesline on Velocity. He is also known for having one of the best dropkicks in the business.
- Small Name, Big Ego: "The Big Shot".
- Straight Edge: Is apparently this regarding alcohol and junk food, both in and out of character. One storyline with Simon Dean had him forced to eat a burger and fries, which he abhorred completely.
- Sweet Home Alabama: He's from Mobile.
- Tag Team: Part of three title-winning teams with 1-2-3 Kid, Crash Holly, and Cody Rhodes.
- The New Midnight Express, with Bart Gunn.
- Unrelated Brothers: Unrelated cousin of the late Crash Holly (and later, Molly Holly), with whom he even held the Tag Team Championship. Humorously, at one point the team's gimmick was to introduce themselves as "super-heavyweights" despite obviously not being so.
- Wild Card: One of WWE's definitive examples of a tweener in recent history, who retained this characterization long after the Attitude Era, the heyday of tweener alignments, ended.
- Wrestling Doesn't Pay: All throughout his career, he maintained a secondary job as a race car driver.