Shady backstage politics, who can and can't wrestle, THAT Tough Enough incident—Holly holds little back.
The book is 300 pages long, divided into 36 chapters, each around 8-15 pages long. Once you reach the end of a chapter, you get "The Hardcore Truth"; a page-long prose on such topics as the internet, fans, and Triple H. Here, Holly discusses what he perceives as the "truth" on the matter. These are equally fascinating as they are frank, much like the rest of the book.
The writing is exceptionally well constructed. It flows effortlessly, and it is very easy to find yourself reading far more than you intended to in one sitting. You really get the voice of Holly in your head as you read, and it almost feels like a personal conversation at times.
Unfortunately for Bob, the character of Hardcore Holly is one that has given him a rough deal in terms of his reputation. He played the role of a no-nonsense tough guy, one who would sooner hit you than smile. But, he was almost too efficient at it. Many are still under the impression that he is like this in real life.
The best example of this is Hunter (Triple H). Hunter crops up numerous times through the book (and I mean numerous). Bob gives many instances where he believes people have been held down by Hunter, or have benefited from being his inner circle.
However, despite this constant allude to manipulative influence and back stabbing, he spends just as much time talking about how he considers him one of the best wrestlers' alive, as well as moments that show Triple H can be exceptionally kind to the boys, too.
It is because of this down to earth non-bitchy approach that you really believe Bob IS telling the truth; he is sincere through and through, and in no way a bitter man. Yes, he expresses a little regret about how he was used to get people over who proved to be a waste of time and money. Nevertheless, we learn he was pretty accepting of his role and just got on with it with minimal fuss.
Holly's midcard status actually makes The Hardcore Truth all the more interesting, though. For wrestling autobiographies are typically from those who reached the top, or those who are just delusional of their success. But what about those that remain in the mid-card their entire career? What is life-like for them? Bob proves they clearly have stories to tell, for he certainly does not skimp when it comes to covering his career in the squared circle.
Bob joined WWE at the time of The New Generation Era as racing car driver Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, he saw the birth and growth of the Attitude Era, the rise of the Ruthless Aggression days, and finally the PG Era.
Oh, yes. And, there's even a story about wrestling a bear.
You do not feel cheated by a lack of detail in any of the eras he mentions, something many autobiographies fall foul of. However, one noticeable omission is a lack of detail on Holly's family life in adulthood. Though he covers the birth of his daughter, and winning custody of her. For the most part, he largely keeps quiet on this front. I mistakenly thought that Bob never married until nearing the end of the book, when he mentioned in passing how he has gone through a few divorces.
But whether this is a negative is your personal perspective. Personally, I respect his no kissing and telling approach. Plus, in lieu of tales of woe about his family life, we get an abundance of wrestling talk, highly likely a reason one would have bought the book in the first place.
This being said though, Bob does share with us a very touching happy ending with a personal relationship, but I will not spoil that for you.
The Hardcore Truth easily ranks right up there with wrestling book alumni like "A Lions Tale" and "Have a Nice Day. If you are going to read one wrestling book this year, make it this one. Heck, if you are only going to read one book this year, make it this one.
Oh, and Bob. In answer to the question, you pose at the end of the book. "How do ya like me now?" The answer to that is, quite simply, rather a lot indeed.
Ain't that the truth.
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