He had never dreamt of anything else.
As far back as anyone could remember, Josh Conway never wanted to be anything except a professional wrestler. While most children fantasized about a dozen or more different futures, Conway had remained steadfast and laser focused on doing whatever he needed to do in order to get in the squared circle. From an early age, he became completely enamored with the world of professional wrestling. He picked up a paper route specifically for money to tape trade with fans from around the country and spent every waking moment he could meticulously studying those tapes, taking in everything about the various styles and personalities.
As a perpetual attendee of virtually every independent show in Minnesota, Conway had weaseled his way onto a ring crew at just 16 years old. He quickly eschewed all of the high school social traditions and rights of passage in favor of the strange world of professional wrestling. Instead of house parties and prom, Conway was driving a beaten down rusty ring truck through Midwestern blizzards, the musty smell of moldy mats wafting to the truck’s cabin—and he loved every mile of it. Several of the wrestlers had noticed his passion for the business and took a liking to him, allowing him to train before the shows and learn the craft. After a year of setting up rings all across the Midwest, a promoter gave him his first shot inside the ring. Under a green hood with a hastily sewn crooked white star, he had been christened “The Northstar Kid” and made his illustrious debut in the booming metropolis of Bagley, MN (population: 1,392). Though his debut was in front of roughly ten actual fans, Conway was exhilarated and never looked back. From that point on, he worked every show he possibly could, driving all over the Midwest—booked or not—just for the opportunity to be around wrestling.
As his reputation had grown locally, opportunities to travel presented themselves and Conway began touring all over the United States and, eventually, the world. He had an accomplished career, traveling to every prominent promotion in the U.S. and countless tours in both Japan and Mexico, with sporadic appearances across Europe. Along the way, he developed a very unique and eclectic style, combining bits and bobs of the various techniques he’d been exposed to around the world. A perennial “good guy”, Conway became an unwavering fan favorite, always holding true to his principles and helping other wrestlers, particularly younger wrestlers starting out. While he was never considered a major star, he was nevertheless consistently regarded as one of the best in the business. In short, very few professional wrestlers can boast the experience and reputation that Conway has earned over his three decade career. A career-threatening knee injury had put a temporary stop to his career and, for a time, it seemed that his career may have been cut abruptly short. Fortunately, he was able to rehab his injury over the last few years and was cleared to wrestle. This affords him the invaluable chance to go out on his own terms doing what he’s dreamed of since he was a child.
Hight Octane Wrestling serves as his final run, a last hurrah of a long career spent living his dream.
06 JUL 2022
The smell of coffee filled the modest Brooklyn Park condo that “North Star” Josh Conway had called home for more than a decade. As he filled his aged Minnesota Twins mug, Conway scrolled on his phone and read the latest wrestling headlines, bemused at some of the coverage of his return to the ring. One headline in particular caught his eye:
48 year-old Josh Conway Returns Against Brian Hollywood in HOW: A Comeback Story or Midlife Crisis?
He chuckled and set his phone down on the counter. He walked toward his kitchen table and sat, wincing slightly at a jolt of pain in his left knee. He rubbed across the prominent surgical scar and thought about the path that had brought him to HOW. Years of wear and tear on his body had finally culminated in a knee injury while touring Mexico. The injury had required he undergo surgery and take what was initially predicted to be several months away from the ring. Complications during the rehab had lengthened that process considerably and several months quickly turned into years. Only after extensive rehabilitation was he able to return the ring, but the question of whether he could still compete at the highest levels remained. Rubbing the scar, Conway quietly pondered this question to himself.
In a small gym, Conway lightly spars with a local wrestler. A voiceover overlays the video.
I knew when I signed: there is no such thing as light work in High Octane Wrestling. When I looked around the wrestling world, deciding where I wanted to finish out my career, I knew that the level of competition here was absolutely unmatched and my first match is a clear indicator of that reality.
You don’t need to be a wrestling historian to recognize the name. The man has had a storied career with several title wins here in HOW and is, without a shadow of a doubt, the real deal. In short, I am not in for an easy night.
There’s been a lot of talk in the wrestling world about whether or not I’ve still got it. A lot of people questioning if it’s even a smart move for me to be here competing with the best the world of professional wrestling has to offer, especially with a bum knee.
And you know what? They’re right.
I’m fully aware that I’m jumping into shark infested waters in HOW. When I look to my left and my right, I see elite athletes, the best up-and-comers in the industry, and seasoned veterans like myself that have been at this for longer than we may care to admit.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
If this really is my last run, I’m going to go out guns glazing against the best opponents I can find. You and I have both been in this game a long time, Brian, so I’m not gonna blow smoke and make a bunch of threats to you: you’ve earned more respect than that and frankly it’s not my style.
I’m not as strong or as fast as I used to be. It’s a little harder for me to do the things I used to do in the ring and it may very well be a terrible idea for me to be in the ring with guys like you at this stage of my career. I can’t promise you or the HOW fans that I’m gonna win this match. But I can promise you one thing, Brian: I will bring every ounce of will I have and you and everybody in that building will know that Josh Conway came here to fight night in and night out.
This old gunslinger isn’t riding off quietly into the sunset. He’s going out guns blazing.