SLAM! Sports SLAM! Wrestling
   April 20, 2014



News & Rumours
Bios
Obits
Canadian Hall of Fame
WrestleMania 30
WrestleMania 30 photos
Video
Movie Database
Minority Mat Report
Columnists
Features
Results Archive
PPV Reviews
SLAM! Wrestling store
On Facebook
On Twitter
Send Feedback




Photo Galleries

SHIMMER taping


The Ultimate Warrior


Raw in New Orleans


WrestleMania XXX Main Events


WrestleMania XXX Opening Half


WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony
WWE Hall of Fame Red Carpet


Make-A-Wish party







SCOREBOARD
PHOTO GALLERY
VIDEO GALLERY
COMMENT




RECENT PHOTO GALLERIES: SHIMMER taping
Ultimate Warrior | Raw in New Orleans | ROH Supercard of Honor VIII
WRESTLEMANIA XXX: Section | Photos

THE SCOOP: Visit our News & Rumours page.


Hardcore Holly

Hardcore Holly

REAL NAME: Robert Howard
6', 235 pounds
BORN:January 29, 1963 in Mobile, Alabama
NICKNAMES: Superstar Bob Holly, Thurman Sparky Plug, Bob "Spark Plug" Holly, Bodacious Bob Holly

Hardcore Holly has courted as much controversy for his actions in and out of the ring than he has garnered championship gold in recent months. A multi-time Hardcore and Tag Team Champion, this former Tough Enough trainer remains very much in the mix on WWE Smackdown, and has become one of the longest-tenured performers in WWE.

The man born Robert Howard actually made his WWE debut came in 1991, when he worked as enhancement talent less than two full years after his debut in 1990. Trained by Stan Frazier and Rip Tyler, this former welder began wrestling as "Superstar" Bob Holly on the independent circuit and teamed frequently with former Rock and Roll Express member Robert Gibson.

His initial stay in WWE was short-lived and in 1992, Holly began wrestling in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, wrestling for Jim Cornette's promotion for two years before heading to WWE. On January 11, 1994, Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, a NASCAR enthusiast turned wrestler made his debut on Wrestling Challenge, defeating Barry Horowitz. He wasn't "Hardcore" yet but he was beginning a run in WWE that has lasted almost 12 years.

Plugg would wrestle Rick Martel and Bastion Booger during his early months in WWE, as well as Kwang in a dark match at the 1994 King of the Ring tournament.

With the vacancy of the WWE Tag Team titles in late 1994, Bob Holly (as he was now called) teamed with the 123 Kid (Sean Waltman) to compete in the tournament to crown new champions. At the 1995 Royal Rumble, the unheralded Holly and the Kid upset Tatanka and Bam Bam Bigelow to win the Tag Team titles, only to lose them 24 hours later to the Smoking Gunns on Raw.

Holly also had an unofficial run as Intercontinental Champion, defeating Jeff Jarrett in April 1995. However, because Jarrett's foot was on the ropes, the title was held up, with Jarrett regaining it after a rematch. Holly would then begin sliding down the rankings, losing to the Roadie (BG James) at the 1995 King of the Ring and to Hunter Hearst Helmsley at SummerSlam 95.

After competing in a dark match at the 1996 Survivor Series, Holly disappeared from the WWE for much of 1997, only to return in 1998 as one-half of the New Midnight Express, teaming with Bart Gunn and led by Jim Cornette as part of the NWA contingent that Cornette invaded WWE.

After an appearance at the tag team battle royal at Wrestlemania XIV, the New Midnight Express defeated the Headbangers the next night on Raw to win the NWA Tag Team titles, and even made an unsuccessful run at the New Age Outlaws' WWE Tag titles at the 1998 King of the Ring.

The team of Holly and Gunn would end when the two partners battled in 1998's Brawl for All Tournament. Holly would be recruited by Al Snow to be part of the JOB Squad. But that wouldn't last long either, with Snow and Bob -- now "Hardcore" Holly -- feuding over the WWE Hardcore Championship, a title Holly won with a defeat of Snow at 1999 St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Holly would win that title on several occassions, including a three-way match featuring Snow and Billy Gunn at Wrestlemania XV.

In the summer of 1999, Holly would introduce his cousin Crash Holly and while the cousins would battle each other, they would also team together. On October 18th, the Holly Cousins defeated The Rock and Mankind to win the WWE Tag Team titles.

Wrestlemania 2000 would see Hardcore and Crash Holly battle each other, not to mention other wrestlers as part of the Hardcore Battle Royale. Hardcore came out victorious, albeit possibly through a botched ending.

In April 2000, Holly was injured during a match Kurt Angle, a shoulder injury that kept him out of action until November. Holly would return and battle Angle and then-European Champion William Regal.

After another injury in late 2001, Holly became a trainer for the Tough Enough II series. Back in the ring in late 2002, Holly battled Tough Enough I Champion Maven, not to mention Randy Orton in Orton's debut on Smackdown in April 2002, and a brief feud with Orton followed.

During a September 12th bout on Smackdown, Brock Lesnar and Holly let their tempers get the better of them and Holly ended up with a ruptured disc in his neck. Surgery and recovery from the injury lasted nearly a year. In October 2003, Holly went to Ohio Valley for rehab before heading back to Smackdown, intent on injurying Lesnar as Brock had him.

His plan and subsequent attacks on Lesnar didn't sit well with Smackdown GM Paul Heyman who banned Holly from Smackdown until Holly and Shannon Moore defeated A-Train and Matt Morgan to reinstate Holly. After several matches against The Big Show, it was time for Holly to face Lesnar at the Royal Rumble, with Lesnar retaining the title.

After a short program vs. Rhyno, Holly began teaming with Billy Gunn and the two faced Charlie Haas and Rico in an unsuccessful bid for the WWE Tag Team titles at Judgment Day. But Tag Team titles weren't the only gold on Holly's mind and he challenged JBL for the WWE Championship on Smackdown.

Holly also began courting controversy when several WWE superstars, including Matt Cappotelli, Carlito and Rene Dupre received rough treatment and injuries at the hands of Holly.

As 2005 began, Holly began teaming with Charlie Haas but was also relegated to Velocity for several months, even using that show to challenge Orlando Jordan for the U.S. title before returning to Smackdown for a brief feud with Sylvan Grenier over the honor of Smackdown's Divas. However, Holly put aside his differences with JBL and other Smackdown foes in order to concentrate on the invading Raw superstars.

In November, 2005, Hardcore Holly went down with an elbow injury that was complicated by infection setting in, leading Holly to almost lose his arm. Recently, Holly returned, not to Smackdown but to ECW.

--- compiled by John M. Milner

BOB HOLLY STORIES

  • March 25, 2013: Hardcore Holly holds no punches in raw, gritty autobiography
  • October 17, 2011: Bob Holly signs Hardcore book deal
    Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!


  • Order your Hardcore Bob Holly merch