Bob Howard spent nearly fifteen years performing all over the world as “Hardcore Holly”, a tough-guy wrestler in WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). After retiring in 2010, Holly chose to write a memoir detailing his time in the business. While Holly didn’t achieve true superstardom, he was a loyal, dependable worker who maintained a featured spot during wrestling’s hottest period – the late 1990s and beyond.
What sets The Hardcore Truth apart from other wrestling memoirs is Holly’s flat-out brutal honesty. He’s a man who admits that had he played the political game backstage, he might have achieved greater success but by staying honest to who he was, he has no one to blame but himself. It was refreshing given that the majority of these books tend to fall into the “poor me” category and fault is placed on just about everyone else’s shoulders other than the performer. At times, it does feel like he’s straying a little into humble brag territory but the majority of what he says here can be backed up with facts.
When I say he’s brutally honest, I mean it. Holly does nothing to hide his feelings about Paul Levesque (a.k.a WWE performer Triple H), the executive vice president of talent, live events and creative. It’s been suggested by many others that Levesque has done more harm to the business over the years than good and while Holly sings the praises of his ability as a performer, he vilifies him as a businessman and backstage politician. The same goes for performers Shawn Michaels, Scott Hall (Razor Ramon) and Kevin Nash (Diesel) who terrorized the locker room during their run on top in the mid 1990s. This leads to Holly detailing who he believes received a raw deal and who also deserved better during that time.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the sections devoted to his racing career but given that it is a relatively big part of his life that did in fact lead to Holly getting his foot in the door of WWE, you can’t expect it to be left out. Thankfully, like his life before wrestling, it’s only a small portion of the book.
Overall, there’s some great stories involving Holly standing up to management, schooling rookies and a plethora of other backstage shenanigans littered throughout the book. It’s an enjoyable read that offers up a glimpse into the life of a solid mid-card performer that isn’t often seen in the number of wrestling memoirs that get released.