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Bombastic Thurman Bob Sparky Plug Sparkplug Hardcore Holly


Onyx2
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Ten years ago last week, Bob "Hardcore" Holly left the WWE. This marked the end of a 15 year run where he was seen as a dependable hand, locker room enforcer and tester of new talent. 

Debuting as legit NASCAR driver Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, Holly sported an atrocious look but found a decent part time team with X-Pac. Perennial tag team challenger (3 time champ) with Kid, Crash and Cody, Bob was versatile enough to be paired with different talent and find a style. 

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It was as shaven-headed Hardcore Holly in 1998 that he built his reputation as legit tough guy. Swapping the hardcore title with numerous challengers in the chaotic "24/7" era and having fun matches with Al Snow and Billy Gunn, he helped establish the title as something worth contending for. During this time he introduced cousin Crash, whom he teamed and feuded with constantly. 

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In 2002 he suffered a devastating neck injury from Brock Lesnar that kept him out for 13 months. It was during this recovery he appeared on Tough Enough and infamously went into business for himself with Matt Cappotelli. This heavy-handed aspect of his personality came to dominate the public view of him. 

He spent a while with New ECW (pretty natural fit for him), then the last few years of his WWE career swapping in and out of tag teams. He last wrestled for WWE at Night Of Champions 2009 then sat on the shelf until January when he was released. He has spent the last decade popping in on TNA and touring European companies. 

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I enjoyed his late 90s hardcore stuff the most, especially that match with Al Snow that ended in the river. Any Hardcore Holly memories? 

Edited by Onyx2
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I swear, I remember seeing him for the first time like it was 20 minutes ago. When he ran out at Royal Rumble 94, I thought "finally someone who can replace the likes of Hogan, Sid and Bulldog." That white, purple and pink outfit just did it for me.

123 Kid and Bob Holly left some money on the table. They were a great team for the short time they were together. Why couldnt they have just had them go to Mania and put over Yoko and Owen? It would have been a great match.

Edited by IANdrewDiceClay
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I recently went back through some Smackdowns on the network from just after No Mercy 2003 up to No Way Out 2004, and this is pretty much the only time in his career that Holly was positioned as a main eventer and at one point was the Blue Brands lead face, he actually gets some really good reactions coming out to batter Brock. The story of Brock being shit scared of Holly seemed hard to take at the time but watching it back through nostalgic eyes it made sense.

Shame he didn’t get a run with the belt but if he had it would’ve meant Eddie didn’t so not too much of a shame, but yeah he carried himself well at this timeframe and he had a couple of decent hard hitting matches with Rhyno in the build up to and at No Way Out

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My favourite Holly look was just after he’d stopped teaming with Crash and had sky blue shorts. I know this is no different to his other looks at the time but it was a good colour.

I remember all the reports online around the time of the Cappotelli incident. Couldn’t imagine that sort of thing going on at the Performance Centre.

Favourite Holly match is probably him and RVD on ECW in autumn 06, where he tore his back open. Really good match. He also gave JBL the most tolerable match of his title reign (and possibly the only one that didn’t end in a non-finish because nobody could believe Bradshaw would be able to beat anyone else clean) when they had a weapons match on SmackDown in autumn 04.

Best dropkick in the business, then, now, forever.

 

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His Hardcore Holly persona is one of the more believable WWE have had. He just seemed like a bit of a thinks he’s hard prick that goes down the club. The kind that soon shuts up and becomes sheepish when one of the O’Leary lads comes in.

Sparky was so synonymous of 94. Multi coloured jobber trading blows with Kwang and Timothy Well. 

In an era where 80% of the roster were disposable (94) he did a grand job of staying with WWE for 15 years. 

“Do you know Stephen King?”

 

Edited by Kaz Hayashi
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Always like auld Bob, he seemed like an absolute miserable bastard, which always endears people to me. The match where Angle partially lands his moonsault and shatters Bob's arm always stands out for me, same for when him and Benoit beat the crap out of Daniel Puder at the 2003 Rumble. His book was a decent and honest read too. Wouldn't mind seeing him back at a Rumble or for a comedy bullying spot. 

He was never, ever going to get a title run though and of course never deserved one. Just a solid mid card hard cunt, of which there isn't enough anymore.

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