By Mike Mooneyham

April 30, 2006

Bob “Hardcore” Holly, whose hard-edged persona has made him one of WWE’s toughest hands, is battling an infection that threatens his life.

The 43-year-old wrestler has been out of action since November and is currently at home receiving IV antibiotics to treat a serious staph infection. Doctors have told Holly that he’s lucky to be alive.

Holly recently told the WWE Web site that there’s a chance he could lose his arm and that he’s not out of the woods just yet from this life-threatening scare.

Holly discovered the severity of his condition after becoming extremely ill while on an overseas tour. He underwent surgery on his elbow upon returning home in February after experiencing numbness in his fingers. Doctors found at that time the infection had set into Holly’s elbow and was growing on the bone.

Emergency surgery may have saved his arm.

Bob Holly

Bob Holly

“I probably wouldn’t have an arm right now or I’d be dead,” Holly told the Web site. “The doctor told me I’m lucky to be alive and lucky to have an arm. And that’s because it wasn’t taken care of when it should have been. I didn’t know it was that bad. It was painful and it made me sick, but I didn’t realize how serious it was.”

It is suspected that the strong antibiotics Holly was taking could have created a super strain of infection.

“Two weeks ago I woke up with a fever and thought I had the flu. I got up and threw up, but didn’t think anything of it. But then my arm swelled up like a balloon. I was sent straight to the hospital, and that’s when they found out the infection was in my arm. We won’t know for sure if they got all of it until I’m done with the antibiotics, which will be another three weeks or so. And now I do nothing except sit around hooked up to a stupid machine.”

Holly said the antibiotics zap his energy and make him ill. He has been unable to work out and has lost considerable weight.

Holly, however, considers his setback just another hurdle and praised company owner Vince McMahon. “I have the utmost respect for that man. Even though we’ve had our differences and stuff like that, that man has always taken care of me. And I won’t ever, ever forget it. I am grateful to him. I’m just ready to get back to work. I’m frustrated. It’s depressing just sitting around. At least when I broke my neck I could get out and do stuff. Now I’m hooked up to an IV and can’t leave the house.”

– Longtime Road Warriors manager Paul Ellering survived a major scare during the recent Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska.

Ellering, a veteran participant of the event, suffered corneal frostbite after dozing on his sled with temperatures near 50 degrees below.

Ellering, who woke up with his eye frozen shut, told the Anchorage News that initially there wasn’t any pain, but he simply lost vision in one eye. With medical doctors being rare along the Iditarod Trail, Ellering asked a veterinarian at one checkpoint to take a look. The first thing the vet did was shine a bright light into the eye to begin the examination. He might as well have shoved in a spike, said Ellering.

“I couldn’t stand it. It hurt so bad,” said Ellering, who wears hard contact lenses. “At first, I didn’t bandage it, and the pain was excruciating. I had to keep my mitt up over one eye.”

A contact lens plunger was used to remove the contact after Ellering’s eye thawed out.

Ellering, with one good eye, finished the remaining 500 miles of mushing through bitter cold. The race covers 1,150 miles of extreme terrain that includes mountain ranges, frozen rivers, dense forests, desolate tundra and windswept coastline.

Doctors believe Ellering will regain most of his vision.

– WWE is making plans to revive the popular ECW brand.

Following the success of The Rise and Fall of ECW DVD in 2004 and last year’s ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view, WWE is hoping to recapture an audience that made ECW a cult favorite during the ’90s.

Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer have been mentioned as the most likely candidates to head the division. Among those likely to be offered contracts initially are Sabu, Sandman, Lance Storm, Justin Incredible, Axl Rotten and Balls Mahoney.

WWE plans to run a “WWE vs. ECW Head to Head” special on the USA Network the week of the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view. The show is scheduled to air live 9-11 p.m. June 7 from Dayton, Ohio. Although not confirmed, it is expected that Joey Styles will be moved to the ECW show as its lead announcer, which could prompt the return of Jim Ross to Raw.

– Kay Noble, one of pro wrestling’s top lady stars during the ’60s and ’70s, passed away Thursday at age 65 in Lubbock, Texas, after a battle with stomach cancer.

Her first of three mariages was to wrestler Doug “The Pro” Gilbert (Doug Lindzy) in 1959.

Wrestling great Nick Bockwinkel hit the proverbial nail on the head when recently asked about the state of the business on – ESPN2’s “Quite Frankly” show with Stephen A. Smith.

The 71-year-old Bockwinkel astutely noted that today’s style of wrestling doesn’t make for long careers.

“The chances they take, the moves they make, the dramatic, spooky moves, I wouldn’t even think of. They possibly would not have gotten me into the profession even though I was second generation. The body can only take so much and these guys are not going to last as long as I did.”

– Sting (Steve Borden) will team with Samoa Joe against Jeff Jarrett and Scott Steiner in the main event of TNA’s Sacrifice pay-per-view May 14 in Orlando.

– The release date for WWE champ John Cena’s feature film “The Marine” has been pushed back to Oct. 13.

– Brock Lesnar, who recently reached a settlement in his legal case with WWE, told a Minneapolis radio station last week that he and Rena “Sable” Mero are finally going to tie the knot in May.

– The fact that “God” is scheduled to highlight tonight’s Backlash pay-per-view has obviously created some intrigue.

Needless to say, few are placing bets on a Sunday night appearance from The Man Upstairs, and that includes Vegas odds makers.

Betmaker, an online casino, has 3/1 odds that “God” will abstain from conflict and leave Shawn Michaels to take on Vince and Shane McMahon in a handicap match. “We honestly doubt that God himself will make an appearance at Backlash this weekend, but then again, we also doubted ever seeing a WWE superstar ride a milk truck to the ring, give birth to a hand, or kiss Viscera,” said Jeff Rocha, odds maker at “At this point, we’re no longer surprised at anything the McMahons do, but between keeping the universe in balance and answering about a billion prayers a day, we think that God’s going to be too busy to make an appearance.”

Betmaker also offered odds on who WWE might ask to play “God” if he shows up to wrestle. The most likely candidate with 11/10 odds is former DX stablemate and 10-time WWE champion Triple H, the self-proclaimed “King of Kings,” turning face and teaming with Michaels. Betmaker also posted 7/4 odds on Michaels’ former Rocker tag-team partner, Marty Jannetty, appearing as “God.” Odds are 5/2 that WWE will use a special effects show to create the illusion of “God.”

– George’s Sports Bar, 1300 Savannah Highway, will air the Backlash pay-per-view at 8 p.m. tonight. Cover charge is $7.