With the winter bringing thoughts of ECW’s November to Remember and WWE’s Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-views, the boys of Ring Rust Radio decided to get hardcore as well, sitting down for exclusive interviews with WWE legends Hardcore Holly and Rhino.
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Both men are veterans of the wrestling business and two of the most well-known names of the hardcore genre. While Rhino has the prestige of being the final ECW World Champion—not ECWWE—Hardcore Holly was the seven-time WWE Hardcore Champion.
There is enough experience between these two stars to fill a novel, but Ring Rust Radio got to the bare bones of their careers and what their perspectives are on both the business and their legacies.
The duel interviews were interesting because the two men are at such different points in their lives. While Rhino continues to work for independent wrestling companies—Ring of Honor and Extreme Rising—Holly has started writing a book about his life, love for racing and career.
With some contrasting opinions on certain topics, these fan favorites shared a similar love for the art of wrestling and the intimate interaction with the crowd.
(Some language NSFW.)
To catch the full interviews, listen above or click here.
If you missed the 18 years of wrestling that the WWE got out of Bob “Hardcore” Holly, you have failed to understand just how great of a worker and he was and how great a gimmick this man had for a very long time.
Holly is one of the original hardcore wrestlers in the WWE, and his countless feuds with the company’s top stars make him one of the most recognizable faces in the business. As surprising as it is, though, Holly never won a world title in the WWE.
When asked about a time in his career when he felt an injury or setback had really hurt his chances at success, Holly openly acknowledged how he felt after breaking his arm and missing almost five months of action in 2007:
At that point things were really working out for me and everything was going really good and they were really starting to go with me. When I broke my arm that set me back because after that I never got going again when I came back. There was an automatic storyline right there when I came back and they didn’t run with it at all. They didn’t have anything for me. I knew there that I was a sitting duck.
Just as the WWE and many companies before and after them have done, Holly was misused and underutilized. There isn’t a good reason that during the illustrious run with the WWE, this man shouldn’t have won a world title.
Even The Great Khali has won a world title.
Despite being one of the most genuine and kindest guests Ring Rust Radio ever had the chance to talk to, the popular misconception about Holly is that he was a bully off screen was a topic the ring veteran wanted cleared up:
You read all this stuff, I don’t know where they get this, is that I was a bully, I was this, I was that, I was miserable, it’s like “I was playing a character.” That’s what I don’t get; I’m playing a character on TV and this is how they want me to be. And that’s what I did and I’m vilified for it.
The problem with the Internet Wrestling Community—and the entire Internet at times—is the ability to spread lies or rumors that are unsubstantiated. There was no evidence in the former WWE star’s demeanor or actions that showed he was anything but a class act.
With a great book coming out in April entitled, The Hardcore Truth: How Do you Like Me Now?, Holly talks about his life, his career and what he’s doing now.
The book and the interview are worth the time.
At the other end of the spectrum, wrestling legend Rhino has found his way to almost every major federation under the sun.
From WWE to TNA to ECW, this man has done it all.
At 37 years old, Rhino is still wrestling around the country, staring for independent companies like Ring of Honor and Extreme Rising while continuing to build a never-ending rapport with the fans.
Rhino talked about some of the greatest moments he had in the wrestling business, but the most striking portion of the interview came when he talked about the differences between companies as well as how the fans and performing on live shows is what he lives for:
It’s usually the same, it’s the same animal. Every locker room is different. Some are better, some are worse, but nothing very drastic. I just show up and usually get along with everyone. I always have fun, no matter what locker room I’m in.
…I enjoy live events more, I enjoy the TV and the pay-per-view and all that stuff, but to be able to go in front of a live crowd and know it’s never going to be on DVD. It’s that intimate moment you’re sharing with the fans, and whether it’s 10,000, or 2,000 or it’s a sold out Joe Louis Arena at 19,000, a live event is something you share with the people that are there in attendance and nobody else.
Of all the wrestlers we’ve had the pleasure of talking with, Rhino is one of the guys that truly is still wrestling in the business because he loves what he does.
The former ECW and NWA world champion has nothing left to prove, yet—with blue-collar ethics intact—Rhino continues to put on stellar matches anywhere he goes.
There is no doubt he was one of the best hardcore fighters in wrestling history, and his brutal style has made him a fan favorite wherever he goes.
Check back for more on the World Wrestling Entertainment as it comes, and visit Bleacher Report’s wrestling page to get your fill of WWE/TNA. For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics you just can’t miss (some language NSFW).