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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

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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.
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on 1 October 2014
what a superb book, bob holly was a hard worker and genuine tough guy, did his job and took no s**t. Must read for any wrestling fan, five stars
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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?
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VINE VOICEon 2 November 2015
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.
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on 4 January 2016
The best pro-wrestling book I've ever read thus far. Love the way it was written. I was glued to it page after page. Stories, choice of words, emotions evoked (etc.), awesomeness cover to cover from one of if not thee most underrated workers to ever lace up a pair of boots & the exceedingly talented Ross Williams! As of this writing, I have read the book 6 times and that number will rise throughout the foreseeable future. Would & have recommend this to anyone.
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on 24 March 2016
I was never really a Hardcore Holly fan growing up but heard the rumours via the internet for years on his personality outside of the ring so i was a little apprehensive purchasing this book. But i found it amazing and could not put it down. It was funny, honest and truthful throughout which cannot always be used to describe most wrestling autobiographies. Easy reading, short sharp chapters makes dipping in and out of the book easy too. Highly recommended.
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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.
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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.
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on 12 June 2013
I'm exactly the same. I found the whole thing a little bit awkward when I heard about it; what did Hardcore Holly ever really do, other than be a solid in-ring worker? Wouldn't this just be an embarrassing attempt to make an at-best 'standard' lower mid-card career seem like more than it was? And furthermore, wasn't Hardcore Holly an unlikable, grumpy, aggressive bully? But it was recommended by PWTorch.com, so I gave it a go.

I'm so glad I did. This is an excellent, totally honest, utterly gripping book for any wrestling fan.

It got to the point where I'd be excited about sitting down to read some more of it, and watching the 'percentage complete' number on my Kindle going up with dismay. I guarantee you'll like Bob Holly a lot more by the end than you did at the start, and it's fascinating to see how some guys, not really through any fault of their own, don't manage to break through the glass ceiling (one of the reasons being, according to Bob...well, let's just say there's three letters in their name, and they're all the same.)

Refreshingly honest - Bob slates Triple H horrendously, and Vince a little at times, throughout the book, but isn't bitter or blinded enough to deny their own high level of prowess at what they do - and a fascinating insight into the blue-collar approach to a world that is, on the surface, all glitz and glamour, this book gives an on-the-scene view of key events like the Montreal Screwjob and the death of Owen Hart, and a brilliant look at backstage relationships, many that you didn't expect. This, I would argue, is a major strength of this book; the depiction of life in the WWE locker room. Many big names are covered at length: Michaels, Hart, Lesnar, The Rock, Kurt Angle, Vince, Bradshaw, Steve Blackman (trust me, it's great believe it or not) Triple H, Cody Rhodes, and of course, Benoit. Bob even gives his views on the current product.

My only criticism is that it does gloss over some MAJOR aspects of Bob's private life; the fact that he'd had 'a few divorces' is only mentioned at the end, and before then there was no indication whatsoever that he'd even been married! And also the writing style is, at times, a little basic, but this book is so good that these are rendered as only minor criticisms.

This really is a vital book for any wrestling fan, or anyone that wants to read one of the best accounts ever of life as a professional wrestler. This is, in my opinion, second only to Bret Hart's book, and it's close; Bret only wins because he was a top, company leading guy, but this is the other side of the coin, and that's why it works. And to quote Bret, Hardcore Holly DEFINITELY left the business 'with his head up.'

Nice work Bob. You have a new fan.
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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.
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