The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I went to AAW’s Windy City Classic VI. These guys in Berwyn know how to put on a show. Matt Cross, Arik Cannon, Colt Cabana, MsChif, Silas Young, Jimmy Jacobs and others came together to beat the crap out of one another and entertain my turkey stuffed belly. While Jimmy Jacobs suplexed a guy less than a foot away from me, it wasn’t the most memorable part of the night. AAW brought in a few guys from Ohio, one of which was Gregory Iron. I had never heard of him before. A couple minutes into the match I said to myself, “Am I crazy or is this guy handicapped?” The thing was, it didn’t matter that he was handicapped. Gregory had a great match and I left there wanted to see more of him. The next day I was able to get into contact with him and he agreed to do an interview…
Mud: How did you get CP? Were you born with it?
Gregory Iron: Yes. I was born one month premature with cerebral palsy. The disability varies in form. Some people have no use of certain limbs, usually on one side, some people have differing degrees of mental retardation. I’m lucky. I have a very mild form, which effects only my right arm and my leg (slightly). Oddly enough, nobody realized I had CP until I was about ten months old. My dad noticed that when I played with my toys, whether they were on my left or right side, I’d always grab them with my left hand. After it was discovered I had CP. I went to therapy for my disability every week until the age of seven.
Mud: Growing up with CP, how did it effect your relationships with other kids? Did you have problems with bullying?
GI: In elementary school, it prompted a lot of bullying. I guess it’s just a case of kids making fun of something they didn’t understand. I got called a retard, got into a few fights. It was depressing. I didn’t truly start to realize I was different until school, I guess, and it effected me greatly. On top of being depressed and sad about a disability that I had that was beyond my control, but my home life wasn’t the best. My parents were always physically fighting, and my mom was an abusive crackhead. Wrestling was always a thing that, early on in my confusing, crazy life, kept me on the straight in narrow. In a world that was often times cruel and unfair, wrestling became an amazing fantasy land that I would get lost in.
Mud: I assume by you being a wrestler that you were always athletic. What sports did you participate in as a child?
GI: Actually, I was never really that athletic, however I enjoyed playing sports with my friends… football, baseball, soccer, kickball, etc. Nothing too serious, and, honestly, I was average at all these things. I use to love watching football and baseball, when Cleveland had decent teams… but that was a long time ago… ha-ha! But seriously, until I started weight lifting and wrestling, I was far from an athlete.
Mud: You have a great body, how do you go about working out both sides of your body so well?
GI: Thank you for the compliment! I basically stick with only doing a few basic weight exercises, eight minute abs, and lots of cardio. Anything I do involving my right arm solo, like shrugs, curls, etc, I have to use a lifting strap. If you examine close, you can see my right arm and pec are smaller than on my left, but I try to do my best to stay in great shape, despite the CP.
Mud: How did you come to wrestling? Who trained you?
GI: As I stated earlier, it’s been a part of my life since childhood. The first major wrestling event I remember watching was Wrestlemania VI, as my grandma ordered it on ppv for me. My grandma was actually a huge wrestling fan, and ordered every WWF and WCW ppv for me. She got me hooked. Sadly, she passed away in 1995 of bone cancer. I was 8 years old. I remember putting my Hasbro Hulk Hogan figure in her casket, so she would remember me. I think because of her, I latched on to wrestling. I still have the vhs tapes of the wrestling events she taped for me. She meant a lot to me, and everything I do in wrestling is in her honor.
As far as how I got into wrestling… in 2005, I started going to indy wrestling shows… the first being a Cleveland All Pro Wrestling show in July, 2005, headlined by Buff Bagwell and Chris Hamerick. Wrestling was something I was trying to figure out how to get into, so I got my foot in the door selling tickets for CAPW. At the same time, I started doing security for Absolute Intense Wrestling. By April, 2006, I began training at the CAPW school under Josh Prohibition and Johnny Gargano. And even though I sucked, I was thrown into the ring in July, 2006, and have been at it ever since…. and have, hopefully, improved!
Mud: Who were/are your wrestling heroes?
GI: Childhood wrestling hero was without a doubt, Hulk Hogan. I was also a big fan of Roddy Piper and Macho Man. As I grew older, I loved Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, guys like that. I’m a big fan of the technical wrestling, even though I could never wrestle like any of those guys! Some of my favorites to watch now are Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and Randy Orton.
Mud: Currently, who are your wrestling buddies?
GI: My closest friends in the business would have to be Johnny Gargano, Hobo Joe, Ben Boone, and Bobby Beverly. Two other guys I’m close with and admire are Matt Cross and Josh Prohibition. They have done a lot in wrestling, and were the two of the first indy wrestlers I was ever exposed to. To be able to call them my friend today is pretty incredible.
Mud: Have you gotten any wrestling injuries?
GI: I got a major concussion on August 5th, 2007, with brain bleeding, at the hands of the NEXUS’ Michael Tarver, and a guy named Ray Rowe… in a PRE SHOW BATTLE ROYAL!!! It was pretty unsafe what occurred. It’s on youtube if you search my name. I stayed in intensive care for three days, and if the bleeding from my brain would not have stopped, I would of had to get my skull cut open to stop the bleeding. If I hadn’t been taken to the hospital that day, I would have died in my sleep. I’m pretty fortunate to be here today. I took two months off wrestling, and was back at it again.
Mud: How did your parents and family react to you getting into wrestling?
GI: My mom I think was proud, but I rarely saw her anyway, and, again, drugs were her main priority over everything else. She actually passed away from her years of drug abuse on July 4th this year. She left behind three great boys… it was a real sad situation. My dad… deep down, I know he’s proud, but I think he worries that I focus too much time into it, as opposed to getting a real job. I want to be a normal dude, but I can’t see myself working a regular guy job for the rest of my life. I don’t think he will be fully supportive until he sees I’m making a great living from it.
Mud: While watching some videos of you, I saw a rather nasty incident where Johnny Gargano beat the bejesus out of you. Tell me about how that came about.
GI: That actually stemmed from the real life concussion I suffered from Michael Tarver. At the first Pro Wrestling Ohio event, I wrestled Johnny Gargano in my first match back from a concussion. Even at only two years in wrestling, Johnny had so much experience, with guys like Alex Shelly, Chris Sabin, Chris Daniels, Zach Gowen, among others. I beat him in an upset victory, and it did wonders for my career. In the storyline, though, the lost to a “crippled freak” like me ate away at Johnny. I kept costing him more victories, and it eventually drove him over the edge, causing the attack that occurred in that video. It was brutal. The best part was people believed it. That’s rare in this age of wrestling. We actually had to do an impromptu intermission because of it. There was a legit paramedic in the crowd who wanted to jump the rail and check on me. People went outside waiting for the ambulance to show up. It was nuts. But people believed it. I got a second “concussion” and was off tv for about three months. I came back, challenged Gargano to Last Man Standing at Wrestlelution One, and had one of the best matches of my career, and greatest moments of my life, in front of 1,000 people, in the exact same building I nearly died in the year before.
Mud: Where has wrestling taken you so far? What titles/achievements have you earned?
GI: Wrestling has given me moments I never would have had, taken me places I never would have been, and introduced me to people I never would have met. I’ve gotten two amazing standing ovations in my career: one for my Last Man Standing match with Gargano, which really touched my heart. A year before that, I nearly died in a wrestling ring. Two years before that, I wasn’t even sure I could be a wrestler. So after my match with Johnny, to be cheered for telling such an amazing story with my friend… it was incredible; the other standing ovation was for my Chikara YLC match with Lince Dorado. I was a surprise, and when I came out, like two people knew who I was. But in ten minutes, Lince and I were able to tell an amazing story, about a handicapped underdog trying to overcome the bully, and the people loved it. Chikara is such a great place to work, and I was nervous for my debut. To get a standing ovation at such an amazing promotion made me feel like a success. Much credit to Lince, he’s an amazing talent.
I’m a simple guy. Before wrestling, I had barely left Ohio. But because of wrestling, I’ve been to Canada, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, places I probably would have never seen.
As far as people, I’ve gained amazing friends through wrestling. Not only that, but I’ve worked with guys like Gargano, Matt Cross, Prohibition, Tracy Smothers, Greg Valentine, Zach Gowen, Mike Quackenbush… I’ve had great conversations with guys like Tito Santana, Raven, Nick Bockwinkel, J.J. Dillon, Oscar from Men on A Freakin’ Mission! Just awesome people and surreal moments that sometimes I look back and think, Wow.
Mud: Which fed have you enjoyed being in the most?
GI: Pro Wrestling Ohio and Chikara. Those places are great! AIW is another great place with many good things going.
Mud; What do you love the most about wrestling?
GI: There are so many things. I guess the storytelling aspect. I appreciate a good story so much more now that I’m a wrestler. There are so many great matches that I had watched dozens of times that became new again when I started wrestling.
Mud: What would you like to be your biggest achievement in wrestling when you decide to hang up your trunks?
GI: Hopefully that people were able to be inspired to achieve something after seeing me perform. I believe if you love something enough, and work hard enough for that thing you love, you can attain anything your heart desires.