Newly-crowned NWA champ 'The Ironman' Rob Conway will be the NWA's representative going into this weekend's NJPW Supershow, 'Invasion Attack'. The word on the street is that he'll be facing NJPW stalwart, Satoshi Kojima, who is not only a vet in the ring, but has a lariat that would make Stan Hanson proud. It's a big weekend for wrestling fans, but also a big weekend for Conway.
You might remember when the NWA President Bruce Tharpe took to the YouTubes to call out NJPW and insult them and their fans with his planned run at their organization. I couldn't help but notice Tharpe didn't have then-champ 'Tokyo Monster' Kahagas present for the taping. When I saw that, there was a sense that Tharpe was holding his cards to the vest. He fast-tracked Kahagas to the championship belt only months before in a 16-man title tournament that had Kahagas show up in the final by his decree.
Did Tharpe lose confidence in his golden boy? Was he just holding his cards to the vest, knowing that Kahagas was, indeed, a fighting champion and, knowing his schedule, considered that Kahagas might lose the belt somewhere along the way?
Either way, Tharpe has pushed all in with the new champ, Rob Conway.
Rob Conway? I know, right?
Wrestling fans outside of San Antonio might remember Rob Conway as an arrogant WWE wrestler. He's gone on the indy wrestling circuit for some years now, keeping his skills sharp and waiting for an opportunity.
It came March 16 when then champ Kahagas was set to face challenger NWA-Branded Outlaw Heavyweight Champ Jax Dane. When Dane was jumped by the NWA World Tag Champs The Kingz of the Underground, taking Dane out of contention, Conway was granted a shot and won.
Check out the historic match here:
Say what you will about Rob Conway, but the fact remains that the guy was able to take that golden opportunity and cash it out. The guy has been looking for a big break for a while now, and he got it.
But now his first title defense is going to test not only Conway, but an entire organization. The NWA invading Japan could be great, or it could fizzle out. A lot of that rests on Conway's performance against the tough-as-nails Kojima.
But is Conway ready? It's my opinion that he is.
Let's face it, the guy was able to beat Kahagas, who was on an unbeaten streak since he won the belt late last year. Kahagas might have got the belt under shady circumstances, thanks to Tharpe. But he still showed he was a quality champ by defending it all over the US.
Conway is a good representative for the NWA in Japan. He has WWE credentials, has kept his skills sharp since then, and has the potential to do well.
Ironically enough, 'The Vanilla Godzilla' Jax Dane will be at his side as they travel to the Land of the Rising Sun.
When put in perspective, this is the opportunity Conway has been waiting for years to have. Now that NWA has given him the ball, here's hoping he makes it out of Japan healthy and with a victory for NWA.
That win alone will easily propel him to a great title run as NWA champ.
Best of luck, champ.
BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuester.
His combat sports themed book, PIT FIGHTERS: BAPTISM BY FIRE, features a luchador from Mexico who transitions to mixed martial arts competition. It is available in paperback and on Kindle for .99 cents.
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