Before WWE's Extreme Rules PPV last weekend, WWE legend Hardcore Holly appeared on WWE's The Bump podcast to discuss his career. Though Holly would eventually become known for his Hardcore gimmick, stiff wrestling style, and multiple runs with the Hardcore Championship. His career path could have gone a lot differently if he had stuck with his original gimmick, happy-go-lucky race car driver Sparky Plugg.
"When they sent me my contract, and I saw the name on the contract, what my name was gonna be, I was like, oh my god, I can't believe this," Holly said, recounting a story similar to many other wrestling stars of the era, including Stone Cold Steve Austin, or Fang McFrost as WWE considered naming him instead. "JJ Dillon is the one who came up with that idea because I really do race. So they thought, back then, everything was cartoon character type heroes, so I just went with it. But I was never really comfortable being that type of character."
According to Holly, the gimmick wasn't even accurate as far as the sport of racing goes. "They always wanted me happy-go-lucky, smiling race car driver, and that's not the case in racing," Holly said. "In racing, your mood depends on your race car. That race car dictates your mood because if it's not running right or handling right or your finishes aren't very good, you're not gonna be a very happy camper until the following week trying to rectify that situation on a race track."
"So when I went to Vince [McMahon] and asked him if we could just slowly change my name, and he agreed to it, that made me feel a lot better about my future because I was still trying to find who I really was," Holly continued. "That's the thing about wrestling. You have to be, as far as personality-wise in the ring, you have to have some of that personality in you, and you bring it out. Your character reflects that personality in the ring, and the volume's just turned way up on that character. So I was trying to figure out who I was and when Vince came up with that Hardcore Holly gimmick, I felt like that was the role for me, and that extended my career. Honestly, with the whole race car gimmick, that thing was dead in the water. After a while, I knew it wasn't going anywhere."
Holly also weighed in on who really has the best dropkick in the business. "I worked on it," Holly said of his own well-regarded dropkick. "I had the very, very first professional wrestling match I ever did, and I thought my dropkicks were really good, but they were really, really bad because every time I would dropkick somebody, it would just be right at the beltline. It was horrible. Absolutely horrible. And so I worked on it, and after time my legs got bigger, and I got stronger and faster, and I was able to jump a lot higher. But I gotta give credit to Lance Storm because Lance Storm's dropkick is pretty good also."