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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 This obviously applies only to minor midcard characters, as opposed to the Matt-Lita-Edge mess in 2005.
His feud with Lesnar. After all, he legitimately broke his neck.
Reality Subtext: His feud and eventual tag team with Cody Rhodes, who was a "rookie" he had to put up with. In real life, Holly is known for beating on rookies.
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.
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.
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.