“Hardcore” Bob Holly Talks Respect For CM Punk, Working For TNA, Vince McMahon & More
“Hardcore” Holly was recently interviewed by WrestlingHeels Radio. Here are some highlights.
The “Sparkplug” character: “It was a silly kind of a gimmick. And people – you know, to this day, people still make fun of it, and which that’s cool because I’d make fun of it too. But it gave me my start. And that’s what I want people to understand that laugh and joke about it, you know, and people still call me Sparky and laugh and, you know, stuff like that. But they’ve got to understand if they were in my shoes, they wouldn’t turn it down just to be in WWE. ‘Cause I guarantee they wouldn’t tell Vince, you know, whatever character they gave ’em, silly character or whatever because back then it was – everything was cartoon characters, basically. And I guarantee to this day nobody would have ever turned them down [Laughter]. And I wasn’t about to, you know.
“And I thought, you know, this is what I’ve been working for, you know, all my life, to get in the WWE, WWF at the time, you know. And I darn sure wasn’t gonna turn it down. And I thought you know what? Just take it a step at a time. And hopefully, we can evolve to something else, in which, you know, fortunately, it did for me.
“It was Vince’s idea. See, I’m gonna back up a little bit here. When the whole ‘Sparkplug’ gimmick came along, after I had been there for about six months, between six months and a year, I actually went to Vince and asked him if we could change it. And he did not have a problem with it at all, you know. So he just – I just said, hey, do you think we could just drop, you know, the Thurman, and we’ll, you know, take baby steps and go, you know, Bob ‘Sparkplug’ Holly? And so we did that.
“And then eventually, you know, they put me in with the ‘Midnight Express’. So then they completely dropped that whole ‘Sparkplug’ gimmick. And, you know, of course, I was ‘Bombastic’ Bob. You know, and that was another thing I wasn’t too proud of, but I was still in WWE and I was still working [Laughter].
“Yeah. And so I thought you know what? Something better’s gonna come along. And then when they did the whole Brawl for All, you know, that kind of changed people’s opinions quite a bit. And so then they stopped the ‘Midnight Express’. And then the whole ‘Job Squad’ thing came along. And then I was just Bob Holly then.
“And then when they started the whole Hardcore Match, you know, and have the Hardcore Title and everything, and when I was introduced to that, that’s when Vince said, we’re gonna start calling Bob ‘Hardcore’ Holly. And so that’s how that how that whole hardcore thing evolved for me.”
If he ever thought about jumping to WCW during the Monday night wars: “No, no… My loyalty – you know, to me, my loyalty laid with Vince. And, you know, I just felt committed to him because he’s always been so good to me. He really was. And so, you know, it didn’t matter. Money to me didn’t matter. My happiness and my comfort where I am was important to me and my loyalty. So, you know, it was never a thought to go to WCW, no matter how much money they offered me, you know. Because like I said, you know, Vince was always good to me. So that’s why I stayed loyal to him.”
Being injured by Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar: “I was out with Kurt – with my broken arm, I was out eight months with that. And then with Brock, I was out thirteen months with that. And, you know, it was just a lot of – you know, it was almost like starting over, having to work out all over, you know, to gain your, you know, size and everything back. So that was a lot of work in itself, getting back to that, you know. But as far as getting back in the ring, you know, it was just like riding a bicycle.
“But, you know, as far as the, you know, rehab and everything, it was not that bad, you know. I never really had that, you know, many issues, you know, with the rehab end of it, coming back.”
If there was talk of him becoming World Champion during his feud with Brock Lesnar: “I don’t think there was, you know. I just think the whole – the match was just a lead-up to as far as just blowing off the whole angle, you know. But I just – I don’t think that – honestly, in my opinion, that I was World Title material. I wasn’t ready for that, you know, because of where I was in the company and stuff like that. I just don’t think I was ready for that. So I really honestly don’t think there was any talk of, you know, putting the title on me, you know. And rightly so, you know, because honestly, you know, I wasn’t ready… I honestly don’t think I ever was. I think the time leading up to my broken arm with Kurt – because they were grooming me, you know, to work on top back then, you know. And then I just never gained the momentum back. And it was just a matter of where I was on the card and, you know, in the situations where they needed me to help – use me to get other guys over that they were bringing in.
“So I never, ever gained that momentum back, you know, because of the role that I was playing at the time as far as needing me to put guys over, you know. So I just don’t ever think there really was a period that I would have been ready, you know, unless they really had a good storyline for me and got good momentum behind me. But other than that, I just, you know – I just – in my opinion, I honestly wasn’t ready ever. I don’t think I ever was, you know. And I was cool with that because, you know, there’s only room at the top for so many, you know. And I understand how everything works. I understood how everything worked, you know. And I was cool with that.
“You know, it would have been nice to be World Champion. Don’t get me wrong. Because along with being World Champion, you carry the company and you make tons of money [laughter], you know. So it would have been really nice, you know. But it just wasn’t in the cards for me. And I was cool with that, you know.
“So it is what it is. And I still had a great career, you know. I had a great run. I made tons of money, you know. So, you know, I have no complaints whatsoever, you know. But it would have been nice to be World Champion. Yes.”
Fandango and being Vince’s pet project: “If you’re Vince’s pet project, you pretty much – you know, you’re a shoe-in there, you know. And all you got to do is just listen to him and do what he asks of you, and you’ll have it made, you know, because he’ll make sure that you get over. He will. Just do what he says, you know. And listen to him. And you will get over, you know. So yeah, if he’s got Vince behind him like that, that guy’s got it made.
“And another thing I love about what he [Fandango] does too is the way he gets in the ring. After he makes his entrance, watch the way he gets in the ring. He does that. Nobody’s ever done it that way. And to me, that’s different, and I like that, you know. But yeah, you know, if he’s Vince’s pet project, the guy’s got it made, you know. He just has to make sure he listens to him and doesn’t, you know, get the attitude well, I’m gonna do what I want to do, despite of what he says. Because then that’ll be the demise of him, you know. Which hopefully – I think he’s smart enough and he knows who to listen to. So, you know, I wish the guy all the best. I really do, you know. I really do.”
CM Punk’s backstage demeanor: “To me, he seemed like he was happy. He really did. You know, it’s hard to tell, you know. He wasn’t one to complain at all. You’d never hear him complain. So you wouldn’t know, you know, if something was wrong, you know. I mean, I talked to him. We talked all the time in the locker room, just, you know, talking about anything, in general.
“And one thing I will say – and I have a ton of respect for Punk. I really do. And he was always happy for me whenever, you know, they would start doing something for me, you know. ‘Cause he always said, you know, you deserve it, and stuff like that. And he was one of the guys who always told me, you know, he was happy for me whenever anything good would come along for me, you know. And that meant a lot to me, you know.
“And I’ve always had tons of respect for him, you know. And especially after I started working with him, you know, because here’s a guy that, you know, he brings it. He will bring it to you. And I respect that out of him because whatever I did to him, he did back to me. And I really enjoyed that. That’s what I like out of guys, you know, that’ll bring it. And I always enjoyed working with him.
“You know, the first time I worked with him, it was kind of – you know, we had kind of a different style, you know. But after we started working a couple times, I really enjoyed working with the guy. I really, really did, you know. But he was always very kind. Always very kind in the locker room. And, you know, anywhere you’d go and talk to him, he was always really, really nice.”
If he sandbagged Brock Lesnar: “Some people want to believe is that I sandbagged Brock on that power bomb move. Number one, it wasn’t gonna be a power bomb. It was supposed to be where I flipped out, landed on my feet, he throws a clothesline, I duck underneath, and I dropkick him. That was the move. And, you know, I get some people on Twitter saying that I sandbagged Brock and I deserve what I got.
“But the thing is these people that say that aren’t too smart simply because, number one, if Brock can belly-to-belly Big Show, and Big Show is 500 pounds, and throw him half across the ring, do you really think, you know, that I could sandbag Brock? Hell no. There is no way in hell I could sandbag Brock [Laughter]. So I just wanted to clear that up, you know. And, you know, me and Brock have always been friends, you know, we’re cool with each other.”
Wrestling for TNA: “I went down there and did – they wanted me to do a match for their ‘Hardcore Justice’ Pay Per View. I’m not sure when that’s coming up, but I did a six-man tag with – it was me, Magnus, and James Storm against Aces and Eights. And I really enjoyed working for them. I really, really did. They were a great group of people. It was great seeing a lot of the guys that I’ve worked with in the past.
“But as far as the talent, they got a bunch of good guys. Everybody seems to be happy. Nobody seems – you know, there was no stress whatsoever. And, you know, everybody, you know, wasn’t job scared. And it’s just – it was nice being down there in an environment like that. I mean, it was a really good time for me. And, you know, we’re working on something for me to come back and do some more for ’em, but, you know, I really enjoyed it.
“I mean, I don’t want to wrestle full time anymore simply because I’m enjoying doing what I’m doing now because I get up every morning, I don’t know what I’m gonna do throughout the day, you know. I just get up, and it’s like – and I don’t even live by a clock, you know. Half the time I don’t even know what time it is, unless, you know, of course, I have to do interviews and stuff like that. But, you know, I ‘m just enjoying living life on my terms, you know.
“And if I do go back, if I do go do something for TNA, you know, it’ll be on a part-time basis. And, you know, so I just really don’t want to wrestle full time anymore. I really don’t. And I appreciate, you know, my fans wanting me to come back full time, I really, really do. And I thank the fans a bunch for, you know – my Twitter followers, everybody that’s been supporting me. You know, I’m very grateful to you all, I really, really truly am. But I just don’t want to, you know, wrestle full time. And I hope everybody understands, you know. Because, you know, I had my day in the sun, and I really don’t need to, you know – I just – you know, I don’t need to wrestle full time anymore.
“Honestly, I think I would fit in really well with TNA. I really do. And you know what? It is true. Like you said, it – you know, the shows that they do, basically, it wouldn’t be full time like WWE, you know. So, you know, that is another thought, you know, which I really haven’t thought of ’cause I’m not sure of their schedule. But, you know, that is a thought.
“But you never know. You just never know what’s gonna happen, what the future holds for me and TNA. But I think I would fit in good. And another thing, too, something I’ve always took pride in is staying in shape, even after my wrestling career. And see, that’s another thing. I’m still in great shape. You know, I still work out five days a week. I still eat six times a day. And so, you know, I’m always ready. Just, you know, so my fans know when they see me that I’m not, you know – I don’t want them to be disappointed because they’re not gonna see somebody that’s out of shape. So, you know, I’ve always been one of those kind of guys where – I don’t want to be one of these guys where you retire and then let yourself go. And then people see you a couple years down the road and go oh, gosh, what happened to him?”
If WWE had contacted him about one-off appearances: “Yeah, yeah, they have. And, you know, I respectfully declined ’cause I just – you know, I just don’t – really have no desire to go back, you know, to WWE. But yeah, they did contact me, and, you know, I just didn’t want to go back, you know. I was happy doing what I was doing. And so – but, you know. And I appreciate them calling and stuff like that. Don’t get me wrong, you know. But I just thought, you know, I didn’t want to do it.”