The Houdini of Hardcore
Updated: Nov 6
By Alex Al-Kazzaz
Crash Holly...A name that I will never forget. Hell, that's a name that many pro wrestling fans will never forget. Crash Holly, real name Michael John Lockwood really did have a part in the attitude era. Most importantly, like me, Lockwood worked his ass off and paid his dues to make it to the WWE which was the WWF at the time.
Lockwood spent TEN years working hard to make it to WWE. He began his career in 1989 working for a promotion based in the San Francisco Bay area. In 1996, after recovering from a shoulder injury, he began working for All Pro Wrestling, an independent promotion in Hayward, California. Soon after, he began working for Extreme Championship Wrestling. In early 1998, he was signed by WWE where he wrestled in its developmental promotion before making his official WWE debut in August of 1999.
It was when he debuted on Raw is War where his name was changed to Crash Holly. If I remember correctly, he was the on-screen cousin of Hardcore Holly and they were known as the Holly Cousins. I remember Crash would carry a weight scale to the ring before his matches. Crash and Hardcore soon found themselves in the WWF Tag Team Championship picture competing against the likes of the APA, Edge, and Christian, and the New Age Outlaws. The Holly Cousins did briefly hold the titles by defeating the Rock N Sock Connection. Soon after, the team split and Crash would embark on a singles run.
In 2000, Crash entered the WWF's hardcore division, winning the Hardcore title in February of that year. After winning the title, Crash officially introduced the 24-7 rule, meaning he'd defending the belt 24 hours a day, seven days a week as long as a referee was around. This would result in Crash losing the belt in comedic fashions. I'll never forget the segment where he lost the title while he was asleep. Of course, there's the segment where Crash defends the title at a circus and even an amusement park! Crash would go on to be the champion a total of twenty-two times. He would lose the title and soon regain it. There's a reason he became known as the Houdini of Hardcore!
In late 2000, he would win the European Championship only to lose it two days later. He would soon be reunited with Hardcore Holly to reform The Holly Cousins and being joined by Molly Holly. They would feud with the Dudley Boyz. Soon after, Crash won the Light Heavyweight Title before losing it a month and a half later. After that he and Hardcore moved to lower-tier status.
When the WWF became WWE, Crash was drafted to the Raw brand. He would soon move to the SmackDown! brand where he would briefly find himself in the Cruiserweight title picture feuding with then-champion Jamie Noble. Soon after, he would align himself with Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore becoming a Mattitude follower. Basically, Crash was portrayed as Moore's apprentice and he was commonly referred to as a "Moore-on". However, in June of 2003, he was released from WWE.
Not long after his release, Lockwood would sign with Impact Wrestling, which at the time was known as NWA Total Non-Stop Action(It would soon become Total Nonstop Action Wrestling). He made his debut on July 23rd, 2003 under the name "Mad Mikey" being portrayed as an angry man and often cut angry promos. During that time, he also worked on indy shows.
Later that year, Lockwood would sadly pass away at the age of 32. The life of a pro wrestler is very tough. Being on the road about 4-5 days a week and having a family at home and having bills, and other endeavors, the pressure is immensely heavy. From what I understand, Crash had marital problems and I heard that he received divorce papers which has to be extremely devastating. His death would be ruled as a suicide from an overdose. The life of a pro wrestler is often either misunderstood or simply not understand at all. You never know what goes on in the life of a pro wrestler.
In my case, it saddens me because I feel like Lockwood is basically a guy that used to be me. While he trained and worked in the indies, he worked a job at a grocery store. In my case, I used to work as a pizza delivery driver, waiter, furniture salesman, restaurant manager, and Uber driver. So what Lockwood and I have in common is that we worked numerous jobs while trying to make it in our respective livelihoods. No doubt, his advice to me would be to simply keep grinding and keep doing what you do.
To me, Crash was a very talented wrestler, and most importantly, he was very entertaining. You know, I am proud to say that in the video game WWF No Mercy on the Nintendo 64, I made Crash Holly the WWF Champion! That's how much I truly cared for and respected him. Thank you, Crash. And rest in peace.