Historically Speaking: Oh Ain’t I Sight To See


”History at its best is vicarious experience.” – Edmund S. Morgan

The Opening Chapter
On a personal note, I just graduated last weekend and am still coming down off of a four or five day bender. I am also now in the process of moving out of my college town, finding a job and a place to live so if this column and the next couple are a little more brief than usual, or non-existent, I’m sure you’ll all understand.

WWE is currently doing some of its own cleaning and moving. In the past week the “E” has released Sabu, Vito, Too Cold Scorpio and Rob Conway from their contracts. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a few more names pop up in the coming days before they end their spring cleaning. I’ve always liked Sabu and I think TNA will snatch him up. Also, we here at the Pulse will have a better tribute to Sabu in the coming months as part of a wonderful feature we are doing. As for the others, Vito has never really done anything for me and Scorpio hasn’t impressed me since his very first run in WCW a decade and a half ago.

So this week we are going to take a look back at the brief WWE career of Rob Conway, a man I feel could have gone far in WWE put was never pushed to his abilities. He was one of the “OVW Originals” along with Nick Dinsmore, Damaja and Doug Basham and their work in Ohio Valley was not matched by what they were saddled with during their times on the main stage.

Time to kick open the vault and review the short life and times of the “Con Man.”

Down in the Ohio Valley
Rob Conway got his start in OVW way back in 1998 when it was still run by Jim Cornette and Danny Davis and before it was WWE’s farm house. Jim Cornette, known for booking solid in-ring wrestling and good tag team matches, paired Conway with Nick Dinsmore. They were billed as “Iron Man” Rob Conway and “Mr. Wrestling” Nick Dinsmore and had the team name “The Lords of the Ring.” Through 1998 and early 1999 the pair won five OVW Southern Tag Championships before they split and began feuding over the OVW Heavyweight Championship. In 2001 the pair reunited and began running the tag ranks again, this time against Doug Basham and Damaja. Then throughout 2002 and the early part of 2003 Conway tore up Ohio Valley with his fellow “originals” while working as a jobber on WWE’s main shows and in dark matches.

It was clear Conway was one of Cornette’s main guys when he was booking Ohio Valley. By the time he had left developmental for good he had won nine Southern Tag Championships with Dinsmore and won the Heavyweight Title three times.

Joining the Resistance
In August 2003 Conway made his official WWE debut by aiding fellow Ohio Valley alum Rene Dupree and Sylvan Grenier, known as La Resistance, in their battles against The Dudley Boyz. He was labeled as a French sympathizer and joined the team, making it a three man rotation. By October of that year Grenier went out with an injury and Conway and Dupree remained a two man team until after WrestleMania XX when Grenier returned from injury.

Dupree was then promptly drafted to SmackDown! and the trio became a pair once again. Grenier and Conway now billed themselves as French-Canadian, changing their look and pledging their allegiance to Quebec. The pair beat Chris Benoit and Edge for the World Tag Championship on the Memorial Day edition of RAW held in Montreal, Quebec. It was perhaps the only face pop the duo ever received. They held the Titles all throughout the summer and early fall and got PPV wins over Edge & Benoit in a rematch, Ric Flair & Nick “Eugene” Dinsmore and Rhyno & Tajiri in a match that actually had a solid build behind it. The pair dropped the belts back to Benoit & Edge at Taboo Tuesday in October 2004. Two weeks later they won the belts back in a rematch. Two weeks after that they lost the belts to Eugene & William Regal. In January they won the belts back at a house show after Eugene had gone out with a knee injury. Three weeks after that Title victory they dropped the belts to Regal and Tajiri on a RAW taping held in Japan.

The pair turned to even bigger jobbers after that loss and by June 2005 theysplit up, with Conway beating Grenier in match on Heat to effectively end the run of La Resistance. Grenier was soon traded to SmackDown! during the draft lottery and Conway was officially on his own.

The Con Man
With his old partners gone, Conway received a gimmick overhaul. He channeled Rick Rude and Randy Savage in mannerisms, got himself jacked up, got a new wardrobe and theme music and he was now “The Con Man” Rob Conway. He got himself a push through the later summer and fall of 2005, picking up wins over every low card face and seemed prepped for an Intercontinental Championship program. Then at the October RAW Homecoming show he interrupted all the wrestling legends that were stationed in the ring and got his ass kicked. He embarked on a poor man’s rip off of Randy Orton’s “Legend Killer” gimmick, taking on guys like Greg Valentine, Doink and Koko B. Ware. This all led into a feud with Eugene that culminated with Conway and Tyson Tomko losing to Eugene & Jimmy Snuka at Taboo Tuesday 2005.

From there Conway went on a vicious losing streak, losing to every mid to low card face that was on the roster. He rarely appeared on RAW and was mostly featured in matches taped for Heat. This losing streak went on through all of 2006. His final appearance on RAW was a January 1, 2007, match against Jeff Hardy where he announced he would quit RAW if he lost. Hardy promptly beat him in mere seconds and then Mr. McMahon came out and fired him on the spot. He hadn’t been seen on TV since, only making sporadic appearances on Ohio Valley TV until his release.

The Perspective
I really hoped and thought that during his initial Con Man run that he might make something of himself but soon the losses came and they never stopped. It’s also unfortunate that his runs with Dinsmore, both in singles and in tags, were done while Dinsmore was under the Eugene gimmick. It’s a shame that the world didn’t get to see Conway and Dinsmore work each other at their best, like they did back in Ohio Valley.

I would personally love to see Rob Conway get snatched up by TNA because on occasion they still allow their people to just go out and wrestle and get by on talent. If only he could get Dinsmore to join him and we could see a rematch with Dinsmore and Conway against Basham and Damaja from their days in Ohio Valley. Now that is the type of tag team wrestling that people can get behind.

For this week the vault is closed…

Linked to the Pulse
Murray continues to look at the bright side of things, most notably Ariel’s cleavage.

Brashear takes a look at another long-forgotten WCW angle from 2000. It involves Tank Abbott, but sadly Three Count is nowhere to be seen.

SK rants on a WWF house show from 1988. It’s got Boris Zhukov, Demolition, The Powers of Pain and Koko B. Ware. God I can’t wait to get WWE 24/7.

This Day in History
I figured if we are talking history around here we should pay homage to what has happened on this very day in the years gone by. It will either make you long for the old days or be happy for what we have now.

1963 – Bruno Sammartino defeated Buddy Rogers for the WWWF Heavyweight title.
1986 – Buddy Rose & Doug Somers defeated Scott Hall & Curt Hennig for the AWA Tag Team title.
1992 – WCW WrestleWar was held in Jacksonville Coliseum, Jacksonville, FL
1993 – Marty Jannetty defeated Shawn Michaels for the WWF Intercontinental title.
1998 – WCW Slamboree was held at the Centrum, Worchester, MA.
1998 – The Giant & Sting defeated Kevin Nash & Scott Hall for the WCW Tag Team Championship.
1998 – Dean Melanko defeated Chris Jericho for the WCW Cruiserweight title.
1998 – Rip Rogers & Dave the Rave defeated Nick Dinsmore & Rob Conway for the Ohio Valley Southern Heavyweight Tag Title. (I swear to God I didn’t look at this before I decided to use Conway for the subject. I wrote the column first before I added this).
1998 – Nick Dinsmore & Rob Conway defeated Rip Rogers & Dave the Rave for the Ohio Valley Southern Heavyweight Tag Title.
2002 – Nick Dinsmore & Rob Conway defeated Doug Basham & The Damaja for the Ohio Valley Southern Heavyweight Tag Title. (It was a big day for our hero).

1974 – Alex Wright was born.
1984 – Vince McMahon, Sr., died of cancer at 69.
2002 – “British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith died of a heart attack at 39.

The Assignment
It’s important to know your history to know where you have come from and where you are going. Nova implemented history assignments for the students of the developmental territories months ago so they would know pro wrestling’s history and they would learn just how many moves Nova did create. I feel this is a smashing idea and every week I will assign a book or DVD for you to check out and learn from. They are not only educational but very entertaining.

This week check out Eric Bischoff’s book Controversy Creates Cash. It isn’t the best book put out by the WWE promotional machine but it is definitely a good read just to find out what Bischoff was thinking during his highest points and lowest points. He does gloss over some stuff that maybe could have used some more page time but what he does delve into is fascinating. My only real complaint is that I found the writing style to be a little off. There are a couple typos and misprints and some redundancy but if you can get past how it was written to actually soak in the content it is very enjoyable.

Everybody Likes To See Their Name in Print
Just a quick shout out to Matthew F. who I sent a copy of my thesis to. I hope he enjoys it because I enjoy that I am done with it. I’ll probably won’t read it again myself for years.

Mark was a columnist for Pulse Wrestling for over four years, evolving from his original “Historically Speaking” commentary-style column into the Monday morning powerhouse known as “This Week in ‘E.” He also contributes to other ventures, outside of IP, most notably as the National Pro Wrestling Examiner for Examiner.com and a contributor for The Wrestling Press. Follow me on Twitter here.