Bill Banks

"Nobody Beats Him But Me..."

By Bill Banks

Six months ago, if I told you Bob Holly would become the Hardcore Champion before Al Snow, would you have laughed in my face? Admit it…you probably would have.

When Al Snow made his return to the World Wrestling Federation a little over a year ago with Head en tow, he had just finished up a run in Philadelphia's ECW. There, the superstar not only introduced the "J.O.B. Squad" to the business, but honed his hardcore style as well. When fans discovered he had forsaken ECW to return to the Federation, they expected nothing less of a new, killer instinct in Snow…and he didn't let them down.

In the upcoming months, Snow not only continued his newfound success, but re-introduced the J.O.B. Squad with several new key members including the Blue Meanie, Gillberg, Scorpio and or course, Bob Holly. Back then Holly, the Mobile, Alabama, native, seemed to be on a never-ending search for respect. For years, he had toiled in fruitless gimmicks such as "Thurman 'Sparky' Plugg" and "Sparkplug Holly." Do you remember the first set of vignettes shot for Holly when he was introduced? "Hi, my name is Thurman, but my friends call me Sparky!" Are you kidding me? Frankly, a guy whose claim to fame was being the master of left turns wasn't all that menacing.

But, Holly continued on—remaining a loyal employee and never once complaining about his circumstances. When Federation officials approached him about becoming "Bombastic Bob" in the New Midnight Express, his peers mocked him as "Bubbalicious Bob" despite the potential Holly and Gunn held in the tag team ranks. Still, that experiment would crash and burn as well.

Out of options and perhaps at the end of his rope in the Federation, Holly didn't find salvation in the Federation officials that had kept shoveling dirt on him. Instead, it appeared in the form of Al Snow and Head.

You see, Al felt Holly's pain. After all, the Lima, Ohio native had been in a similar position in '96 and '97 in the Federation as Avatar, Shinobi and Leif Cassidy. He was the consummate loser…until he lost his mind and found Head! Christening Bob as one of the brethren, Holly became a Squadder through and through. Within the faction, Al was the obvious leader, and many fans picked him to quickly capture gold…Hardcore that is!

It wasn't long before Al was breathing down the neck of Road Dogg, but thanks to a locker-room attack, the DX member was forced to vacate the gold during recuperation. As a result, Al had a hardcore match with himself to prove how tough he was…until Holly got in Snow's face! Shortly thereafter, the two battled it out in the Mississippi River for the championship—and Holly became Hardcore as he claimed the title.

Since that time, Snow has rededicated himself to capturing what he believes fate predestined him to wear. On several occasions, Al has interfered on behalf of his former J.O.B. Squadder to keep the gold around Holly's waist—all because HE wants to be the one to beat him for it! Is the Ohio native so jealous that Bob beat him to the gold when millions of others thought Al was a shoe-in? Or, does Snow want to teach Hardcore Holly a lesson…one that reads "I made you and I can break you"? We'll find out on April 25 at Backlash on Pay-Per-View