on 7 June 2013
I'm a little surprised by this book. Here I was, expecting another wrestler to not mention names, not really give any dirt or even be that honest, Bob Holly has done the exact opposite to what everyone else has done, and gives plenty of insight into what life is really like for an eternal mid-carder. He is open and honest about himself and how he wrestles, why he didn't make it big, and doesn't seem to bothered or really blame anyone too much for that. He knew his job was to make others look better and he tried to do just that. One of the best book's on wrestling I have read
on 6 October 2013
I was blown away by how much of a page-turner this was. Totally unexpected. Bob Holly's book is about as honest as it gets and should be a textbook for any sports-man/woman/entertainer attempting to write their own.
Bob is brutally honest about his experiences in wrestling, some of the people that we read about in numerous other autobiographies (his thoughts about Shawn Michaels, both then and now, are fascinating) and a career that was good but perhaps didn't reach the pinnacle of his talent. His explanation of the now famous Tough Enough incident is particularly fun to read and pretty much sums him up as a character. The wrestling industry is much worse for his absence.
A really good read.
on 24 May 2013
As with the man himself this book is brutal and no nonsense. He doesn't kiss a** and and exposes people like Nash, Shawn & Hall as p***** like we suspected all along. Perhaps the first ever auto to actually slate Vince Mac numerous times yet show what a genius he is in the wrestling business as well. In my top 3 alongside Bret and Road Warrior Animals book.
on 29 April 2013
I really wasn't sure about this, as Bob Holly was never a favourite and his online rep is, ahem, let's just say he's never been a smarks darling. But this is a great read. It's honest, funny and genuinely interesting. He comes across as a very straightforward guy and not one trying to settle scores or suck up to anybody either. Wrestling books often fail because the writers either want to position themselves in a better light than they deserve or are too scared to name names and actually reveal what was going on. This isn't like that at all. He clearly doesn't care about offending anyone, though he isn't unduly nasty to anyone. For example, he absolutely rips HHH as a person but often states how much he respects his ring work.
He's full of insights and when you disagree with his opinion - which you will occasionally - you can at least respect it.
If you like non-kayfabe wrestling books, this is essential.
on 26 September 2015
Autobiographies are prone to, if not exist solely for, revisionism and score-settling, depending on the level of self-delusion and bitterness from which the author suffers, and how far from their peak they are when the book deal comes their way. Despite being about a fictional character, the Alan Partridge autobiography skewered this genre mercilessly. Sometimes when I read other autobiographies and the subject starts whining or throwing people under the bus, I no longer "hear" their voice narrating in my head, but North Norfolk Digital's finest instead.
I admit that the main reason I purchased this book was because I expected a lot of that bile from a permanently disgruntled-looking, recently-retired wrestler. You do indeed get a hearty dose of ire, but be prepared for some surprisingly balanced opinions along with the expected (and not entirely undeserved) Triple HHHatred.
Howard's employment with the WWF/WWE follows a timeline from when the wrestling business was moribund, through to its period of biggest mainstream success and subsequent dwindling due to lack of competition. He describes what the locker room was like under the Kliq, the pay-offs, the endless broken promises, and he attempts to clarify a few of the mistruths frequently parroted about his roughing up of enhancement talent.
Wrestler autobiographies are particularly tragic, as the subject invariably has to write chapters on friends who died way too soon as a result of their career choice and/or self-prescribing of medications. Fortunately, there are plenty of stories of ribbing the boys which balance this out somewhat.
Howard holds a life-long joy of fighting and evidently considers it as a measure of a man. In the carney world of professional wrestling, this attitude is upheld to this day. Being physically able to stand the gruelling schedule of life on the road whilst your physical and mental health quietly collapses and relationships crumble is perversely regarded as a badge of honour. The wrestler is a masochist: he puts his body in jeopardy for others' entertainment, works hurt because of fear of someone else taking his spot, and daren't speak up if he isn't being used properly in fear of being sacked. Frequently, in the end, the promoter has got all they can out of them (though usually not as much as they could have if they had not succumbed to political skullduggery), paid them far less than they deserved, and ignominiously releases them, in Howard's case, not even with a thank you despite 16 years of loyal service.
Ross Williams' writing style really does sound like the words are coming from Howard's own mouth, and the main time period featured in the book means it should appeal to many wrestling fans eager to know a bit more of what was happening behind the curtain in a particularly interesting chapter in the history of the WWE, not just to fans of the under-rated, steady hand that was Bob Holly. Without these underneath guys, there are no upper card guys and, like a session musician, they are sometimes the most well-rounded and skilled craftsmen that toil in anonymity whilst the flamboyantly mediocre get the big pay-cheques and recognition. Perhaps he should have spoken up for himself more and maybe received a push out of it, seeing how much he likes to fight?
Overall, a fun 280 page read. The tropes of the pro-wrestling lifestyle are there in abundance, but Robert Howard the man is more interesting than the grumpy b*st*rd people probably think he is based on the character he portrayed on tv. And, despite his body paying somewhat of a price for his labours, he seems to be happily retired, financial secure and finally settled down now, and not many wrestler autobiographies end like that, do they?
on 28 March 2014
Chances are, if you're thinking of reading this book, then you'll have already read other wrestling biographies by some of sports entertainments "bigger" stars. This isn't a book of a wrestler rising through the ranks to world domination, but instead a quite frank tale from the perspective of an enhancement worker, an aspect of the industry that little light is shone on. The reality is that for every rock, there are at least another 10-20 guys in the same organization working to build that guy up, & in most cases seeing very little opportunity themselves. Hollys story that spanned over a decade long in the sports biggest organization gives a glimpse of just how fickle the wrestling industry can be, & like any other job, how basic office politics can make or break an individual.
This isn't a book about a failed success though, more the success derived from perceived failure.
An element of the book I greatly enjoyed was Holly's (& co auther Owens) view of some of the most important land mark moments in sports entertainments history, from the Montreal screw job, to the monday night wars, the WWE buy-out, the politics of 2 complete rosters being merged, some of wrestlings true low points (Owen Harts death) to some of its most deserving success stories (Benoit & Guerrero's rise to top) & how they effected Bob Hollys place in the company, & also his outlook on life.
Personally I'm a slow reader, but very much enjoyed ripping through this & taking on a different perspective from all of these aspects of the industry & the big (& small) names within it. The Highlight for me was Hollys depiction of the rather odd "Brawl for All" tournament held in the late 90s, which lead me to go back & re-watch all the matches (some of which I very much enjoyed).
If your not a wrestling fan, then I doubt they'll be much here for you (to which I'll be surprised if your on this page reading this), if you are a wrestling fan though, then this is a great read, & a good look at the industry from one of its most important roles, the guy that (nearly) always looses, & If by some chance you have any aspiration of ever stepping into a wrestling ring, this is most definitely a tale to read, not because of it being one of woe, but because it gives a no-nonsense look of what its really like (just like the man himself).
pick it up, read it, go re-watch all the matches, & enjoy!
on 28 October 2013
Exactly what one would expect from the character of Hardcore Holly. Straight forward story telling with no punches being pulled and little embellishment suspected.
The beggining describes a little of his background and personal life, it's interesting and offers a nice context to place the story. Holly then pretty much gives an account of his career through the years. He keeps your attention, mentioning all the big events (Owen, Eddie, Chris, WCW, the clique etc). You dont learn anything knew, Triple H is still a dick, Bret and Shawn are still the best, but its a good read none the less.
It was interesting to read about the untold story of the life of a mid carder, that said, there is a limit to the amount of times you can read "they should have pushed me, but they didn't". In the end you get the feeling he had about the career his all round skill set deserved.
Not one of the absolute best wrestling books, like Bret's or Jericho's first book, but well worth a read.
on 31 July 2013
I have read quite a few wrestling books recently (Bret Hart's, Chris Jericho x2, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Foley x2)
And I would say this is the best. I wasn't expecting much and the book started off a bit boring (I am Holly, I am tough etc etc) but I was surprised by how easily he got into the business, how little some of the superstars actually make and his relationships within the industry.
I felt a bit sorry for him because he never really got the push he wanted (deserved is debatable) and I think he's a bit harsh on Hunter. Aside from that the bits on Bret Hart, The Kliq and some other stories were very insightful.
His summary on Benoit was not what I was expecting and his chapter on the Wellness Policy was scathing to say the least (I wasn't surprised though, this is what I had suspected).
This is a MUST read for any wrestling fan, anyone with any sort of interest in the industry or someone who fancies a random read. I couldn't put this book down.
on 6 March 2014
If growing up in the 90's and 00's like me watching WWE wrestling then you will know who Bob Holly is. What you won't know is some of real events that happened behind the curtain of one of the world's biggest grossing entertainment companies.
Robert Howard is the man behind the much booed heel (bad guy) Bob "Hardcore" Holly who's talent and work ethic in the ring helped enhance some of the biggest names in sports entertainment, but never got him through the glass ceiling of the WWE to the heights of a world champion or regular main eventer.
A straight shooter who told it like it was to everyone including WWE' s owner Vince McMahon.
As soon as I started reading this book I was hooked and had to keep reading if you are true wrestling fan this the book for you.
A very interesting wrestling novel from an old school wrestler and a guy who's reputation precedes him. I definitely warmed more to him after reading the book and his story, it's told in a straightforward no nonsense style and is honest. A lot of these books have people trying to take shots at other wrestlers or re-write history with them looking better, this is just a straight up story from a guy who loved wrestling but wasn't afraid of pursuing honest hard work outside of the squared circle. If you get a chance listen to the Colt Cabana podcast with Bob as well - it's a great side of him to hear.