The Hardcore Truth: The Bob Holly Story
By Allan Aracena
This book was published by ECW Press in Toronto in 2013. The publishing company was originally known as “Essays in Canadian Writing” but now ECW stands for “Entertainment, Culture, Writing.” Along with pro-wrestling, they also publish poetry, mysteries, film, true crime and popular science.
The Hardcore Truth: The Bob Holly Story is a book that goes in depth about life in the wrestling business. It’s not as glamorous as it is portrayed to be on TV. The wrestlers don’t make as much money as people may think – or even the wrestlers themselves may think if they’re on the independent scene. Bob Holly wrestled for the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) for 16 years. Before that, he wrestled in Memphis (TN) and Mobile (AL) for 7 years. Holly shows in this book how acquainted he is with the wrestling industry.
Holly was never really the focus of the show when he was in the WWE or down south wrestling in Memphis and Mobile. Everyone knows that pro-wrestling is scripted. Some people are scripted to win their matches. Others aren’t. Holly was one of those people. In wrestling, the term for that is “jobber.” A “jobber” is simply there to make other talent look good and that’s what’s Holly’s job was. He’s writing from the perspective of someone who wasn’t a superstar in the business. He’s writing for the hardcore wrestling fans who want to know what happens before and after the show is over on TV. What are the behind-the-scenes personalities like? What the payouts like? He states the exact amounts of his payouts numerous times in the book. How did the Wellness policy come about in the WWE? How was it enforced? He has answers to each of these questions.
Holly’s writing is very informal. It’s like he’s speaking to you. It’s a very to-the-point style of writing. He wrote the book chronologically, from his childhood to him becoming a dad as a teenager, being a bar fighter and meeting someone who got him into the wrestling and finally, to his life after wrestling.
The book is relatable at many different points –- one of them being the backstage politics of the wrestling business. Backstage politics are part of everyday life. Co-workers can make or break each other and it’s no different in wrestling. If someone important thinks you don’t have what it takes to succeed, then you don’t have a chance of moving up in the company. Holly goes into this in a lot of detail, as he does throughout the book in general. If you’re interested in learning about the wrestling business, this book would be a great place to start.