After debuting in 1990, Holly worked for Smoky Mountain Wrestling and other independent promotions, before joining WWE full-time in 1994. Initially portraying the character of a NASCAR driver, Thurman "Sparky" Plugg, his name was soon changed to Bob "Spark Plug" Holly. In 1998, he formed a team with Bart Gunn, known as The New Midnight Express. After becoming known simply as "Hardcore Holly" in 1999, he was joined by on-screen cousins, Crash and Molly. In 2002, he suffered a broken neck, which sidelined him for over a year. Upon his return, he engaged in a major feud with Brock Lesnar and minor feuds with wrestlers such as Mr. Kennedy and Rob Van Dam, before forming a tag team with Cody Rhodes in 2007. Holly departed WWE in 2009, wrestling intermittently on the independent circuit. He published his autobiography, The Hardcore Truth: The Bob Holly Story, in 2013 to positive reviews.