I've read (and reviewed) more than a few pro wrestler autobiographies, so I usually know what to expect from them. Yet when I sat down to read The Hardcore Truth by Bob 'Hardcore' Holly, I wasn't entirely certain what I was in for. Bob was never 'the guy', in the World Wrestling Federation or even when it became World Wrestling Entertainment. Yet he was with the biggest American pro-wrestling company for fifteen years, which isn't a minor achievement given how fast talent can get chewed up and spit out by that industry. What I knew of the man was mainly his on-screen persona, a tough-as-nails, you-better-respect-me badass from Alabama. He'd also grabbed attention on MTV's reality show Tough Enough, when he clobbered a would-be wrestler during a practice match hard enough to leave his opponent with a black eye and busted lip.
When I started reading The Hardcore Truth, it became quickly obvious that Bob wasn't holding back. A lot of wrestler biographies are published while they're still with the WWE, going through an editing process that's designed to protect the image of the company. Here, Bob lays out exactly what he thinks of everyone, from the Stone Cold Steve Austins to the Paul Londons of the wrestling world. Whether or not you agree (and you'll probably be doing some of both), you know what you're getting is his honest view on things. That's what makes Bob's book so refreshing, really. It's not super flashy and a little unrefined, but it's also honest and to the point just like the man himself.
While much of the book is spent talking about his wrestling career, you get some interludes where Bob gets to talk about his two other main loves: racecars and dirt bikes. These passages help paint a better picture of the man as more than just his wrestling persona, and give you interesting insight to a man who lasted so long in a dog-eat-dog industry. Each time he touches on one of the many tragic wrestling deaths that affected him in his career (Owen Hart, Mike 'Crash Holly' Lockwood, Eddie Guerrero) it hits hard, especially when you read about his own coping methods.
The music that would play whenever Bob Holly came to the wrestling ring always started with a sound clip of him saying 'How do like me now?' After having read his book, I took away a new found respect for the man, and felt enriched for the experience. So to answer that previously posed question, it seems that I like Bob Holly quite much indeed.
Tim @ Central