Gregory Iron’s story is one that should made more aware of in the world of pro wrestling and on a grander scale as well. The sport of professional wrestling is too often negatively labeled or even worse, ignored all together. Here’s a story that can put a smile on many faces and give hope to many others. Iron’s story is one of inspiration. He reminds us all that there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel regardless of the obstacles we face. It all depends on one’s attitude and that of Iron’s is one that leads by example.
Iron’s childhood was quite unique and one could argue for all the wrong reasons. He was diagnosed at birth with cerebral palsy which left his right arm extremely limited in motion. The majority of his days were spent either at school or at home with both providing a negative environment. At school, other kids would mock him for his disability while his days at home would involve witnessing his parents fight on a regular basis. Despite all the negativity Iron managed to survive as he found pro wrestling at a very early age. His new interest played a key role is providing a distraction to all his hardships.
Iron’s passion for pro wrestling eventually caught wind of the independent wrestling scene as he read about promotions such as Ring of Honor and ECWA in Pro Wrestling Illustrated. By the age of 18 he managed to attend his first live event during the summer of 2005. It was a Cleveland All Pro show headline by a Heavyweight Title match between Buff Bagwell and Chris Hamerick. At this point, Iron was hooked and attending regularly. His passion for the local wrestling scene was so strong that he would help sell tickets and even work as security for another promotion (Absolute Intense Wrestling).
His passion kept with the momentum and the next logical step was to enroll into a wrestling school. In the spring of 2006 Iron enrolled at the Cleveland All Pro Training Center where he was trained by the likes of JT Lightning, Josh Prohibition and Johnny Gargano, who heavily influence the development of his in-ring skills. At first, training provided the natural challenges of learning how to bump and dealing with the physical pains that come with it. However, Iron had one additional challenge to face that most of his peers did not have to deal with and that was learning how to wrestle with one fully functional arm…and making it work.
Through hard work and persistence Iron was able to make his way onto many of the Ohio based promotions including CAPW, AIW, WASP, Pro Wrestling Ohio, PRIME Wrestling and affiliates of the NWA. Throughout his early years, Iron exemplified the true meaning of heart never settling with his early achievements. He dreamed big and he never let anyone tell him it was not possible. Especially himself!
His positive attitude lead to some big moments in his career which included a high-profiled feud that ended with Iron pinning Gargano and a debut with Chikara. Iron believes that these two particular instances really opened people’s eyes and gave him a chance to showcase his true potential. Instead of people looking at Iron as a wrestler with a disability he was now looked at as a talented wrestler who just so happens to have a disability. To guys like Iron, respect is everything and in his career respect has been well earned.
None more evident than with the defining moment of his career which took place on July 23, 2011. It was then that independent wrestling sensation Colt Cabana and the reigning WWE Champion C.M. Punk publicly praised Iron as an inspiration in the middle of an AAW ring. This was one of those moments that transcended wrestling and shed a positive light on the sport of professional wrestling. Here is the link to the highly publicized event (www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUm-O7Z3S0M) and for those who have seen Iron perform live you can surely concur with the sentiments expressed.
However, the journey was not all sunshine and rainbows despite all the well deserved glory. Along the way he suffered a serious concussion after being suplexed onto his head numerous times. This lead to some brain bleeding and kept him in intensive care for three days. Despite the setback, in typical Iron style he came back after a two months absence and continued to do what he loved. As Iron put it best, “I came back in two months. I think it was the first time I was able to show people, look, this is how bad I want it. I almost died in a ring…and I came back for more.”
Through it all Iron has remained humble as he is appreciative for all the great opponents he’s had. His favorite opponents include Gargano, Prohibition, Matt Cross, Tracy Smothers, the tag team of Sex Appeal and Zema Ion. Stand out matches of his include a Last Man Standing Match with Gargano in 2008, a Street Fight with Prohibition (AIW 2011) and a No DQ tag match with tag partner Hobo Joe versus Sex Appeal. In that tag match the fan favourite duo captured the PRIME Tag Team Championship titles.
Recently, Iron’s been involved in some unique matches, “I had a singles match with Zach Gowen this past summer which I could have NEVER imagined would have occurred. I also won tag team title in AIW with Veda Scott of all people in November. There are so many great angles and matches that I have been fortunate enough to be a part of, and I hope to release a “Best Of” DVD next year.” Iron’s had a blast teaming and competing against Gowen as he credits him as one of his inspirations in becoming a professional wrestler.
For Iron, the future looks bright and the goal is to overcome bigger obstacles once more. He recently attended a TNA Gutchek tryout and is prepared for any other challenge he faces. On the independent wrestling scene Iron is looking forward to his rematch with Ontario wrestler John Greed for Smash Wrestling on January 6 in Toronto, Canada.
Iron is the ultimate underdog and understands that the odds are always against him. Despite being 5’4, 165lbs and competing with cerebral palsy Iron isn’t one to back down, “I have always been about defying odds and exceeding limitations. I am a fighter by nature, and I stand up for what I believe in. I don’t care how big or tough you are. You will NEVER underestimate me, because if you do, I will shock you every single time.” He continues as he shows his all too familiar positive side, “It’s all about a PMA! Life isn’t so bad, you just have to find where you fit into this crazy world…I am so happy I found my place in wrestling.”
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