August 3, 2011
@GaryMehaffy on Twitter
An interview with Gregory Iron
Were you a big wrestling fan growing up?
Oh, yea. I actually got into wrestling as a child, because my grandma was a big wrestling fan. She was a big fan of Hulk Hogan and I used to go over to her house all the time and she would order all the pay per views for me, and weíd watch Superstars and Raw and all that good stuff. She really got me into wrestling very early on. My earliest memory (of it) is Hulk Hogan/Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania 6 and ever since then Iíve been in love with wrestling.
Who trained you/got you involved?
My trainers were Josh Prohibition and Johnny Gargano.
Not Jimmy Del Ray? (as has been being reported)
You have cerebral palsy Ė were they concerned about anything in your training? Or did anyone try and talk you out of it?
I think the general feeling during the course of training was these are the basics, these are what you have to learn Ė like if I was going to lock up theyíd be like ďOk, if you canít do this I donít know if we should take you training. This is very basic stuff that youíre gonna need to do all the time.Ē Iíd get past that and then (itíd be) ďOk, you gotta learn how to do a drop down. If you canít do that Ė itís a pretty basic thing, if you canít hit the ropesÖ..Ē It was all a step by step process. I donít know if they were legit (by saying) ďWeíre not going to go any further with the training if you canít do thisĒ but I was determined to do everything I possibly could, and if I couldnít do something like everyone else I wanted to do it the best I could Ė my way Ė or try to make it different to where it would still be feasible in a match. Iíd like to think early on I hushed them with their criticism and their thinking that I wouldnít get past everything, because I battled through and did the best I could and I got as far as I have right now. I think I did ok. (laughs)
For those who see this, and who donít know much about it, how does your cerebral palsy affect you day to day?
There are different forms; people are affected differently by it. Mine is kind of a mild form, it only really affects my right arm and hand for the most part. It kind of partially affects my right leg. Basically, cerebral palsy is a brain disability; it affects the mobility of, usually, one side of your body. The muscles in my right side are a lot tighter in my chest and in my leg and in my arm, so itís harder to open and close my hand and sometimes itís harder to move my arm. For the most part there are little things that affect my day to day activities that I kind of donít even notice anymore. I canít flip my wrist over or my hand over, so itís always facing downwards, so if I have to, like, carry a box or a basket of laundry or something like that Iím always carrying it flat handed on the right side. Little things I canít do Ė like opening bags of chips or pretzels, stupid stuff like that. I think for the most part though I kind of donít notice it or Iíve found ways to work around it that itís not even a factor. I could never tie my shoes as a kid like everyone else. I donít know how you learned, but I was always taught the bunny ears and the loop-the-loop and all that good stuff but I could never wrap my brain around that; I figured out my own way of tying my shoes, with basically one finger of my right hand and my left hand. Like anything else, when you have any disability or some sort of setback you just find ways to work around it and do the best you can with it.
You were known a little bit, but a few weeks ago you go caught up in the middle of, possibly, the hottest angle in recent times, in relation to CM Punk (at an AAW show). How was that for you?
Surreal! When I went to Chicago last weekend that was the last thing I expected. I knew I was teaming up with Colt, and that kind of made me nervous in itself. Colt is a guy that in the past I wrote to for advice and Iíve been on shows with him and talked to him Ė heís a guy Iíve looked up to for a long time. Iíve watched a lot of his stuff in Ring Of Honor over the years and heís a great wrestler, a very underrated wrestler. Just to be able to team with him & be in the same ring was a cool feeling and I was very nervous about it. When I got to the show and I saw Punk was there I was even more nervous! My ultimate goal for a couple of years now, now that I know that my mind is where it needs to be as a wrestler, I ultimately want to get to WWE. The WWE champion is randomly at this show and I know heís gonna be watching this match because his best friendís in it Ė the whole scenario was really weird! The last thing I expected was to have both Colt & CM Punk praise me in the middle of the ring in front of 200 people Ė basically in front of the whole world because of You Tube and modern day technology. It was a crazy, dreamlike feeling.
You have probably more momentum than youíve ever had off the back of that rub Ė and you mentioned WWE. What do you see in your future?
Iím hoping (to get) some sort of major wrestling contract. I guess, specifically, WWE Ė itís what I grew up on, itís what Iíve watched my whole life. Iím a big wrestling nerd; I have a ton of DVDís and footage Ė not just of W.W.E. but of a bunch of wrestling in general. I love to collect and I love to watch and study. Iím very passionate about wrestling, especially W.W.E. I have so much pointless knowledge about W.W.E. /W.W.F. itís ridiculous, so just to be part of that, even if it was for a month or a year or a dayÖÖ.to have that experience and be able to say ďYou know what? The last five years I worked so hard to prove Iím not just a guy with a disability, Iím a wrestler and now itís being showcased in front of the world.Ē To be able to say that I did that and overcame this disability would be a tremendous, tremendous feeling.
Would you be worried if you went to WWE that you would get the Zach Gowen push, or even how Matt Cross was treated on Tough Enough, where they almost turn their nose up at anything that youíll have done outside of the company?
I donít know if Iíd be worried about that right from the start. I mean, if it happenedÖÖ..I donít know, itís hard to say. I have to look at my character realistically. Would they, for example, if I were to go to somewhere like T.N.A.? Thereís a lot of guys more my size. I think I could have more realistic, competitive matches. Going somewhere like W.W.EÖÖ..theyíre not really size orientated nowadays, but they still have a lot of taller guys, a lot of bigger guys, guys who realistically a guy with one arm isnít going to have competitive matches with. Itís really just how you look at the entire situation. My character and my story is that of the typical underdog Ė I guess Iím not the stereotypical one, obviously, because I have a disability Ė but in general Iím the guy whoís always fighting from behind, youíre always hoping will get that win. You know itís not gonna happen every single time but when it does it means something. I know that canít last forever but I would hope it would last as long as it could if it was done properly.
Did you get a chance to see the Saint/Kidd match at the Chikara show on Saturday (even though you were wrestling on it)?
Yea, yea, I did! You know believe it or not that was the match both days Ė both the tag match (Sunday) and the singles match (Saturday) that I was looking forward to the most. I watched some Johnny Saint stuff before I started training. Johnny Gargano really got me into some Johnny Saint stuff. Iíll never be able to wrestle that style. Itís just not the way my character, with my wrestling style, is billed but I love to watch it. To be on the same show as Johnny Saint & Johnny Kidd, to get to meet those guys, to see them wrestle in person Ė wow! It was pretty cool, I really enjoyed that. It was the thing I was really looking forward to. (It was) like no matter what happens I gotta see those matches this weekend.
You are appearing on the PWO iPPV this Sunday. How do you hope it will go?
Iím hoping it goes fantastic. From what I understand thereís a lot of presales. Thereís more hype than weíve ever had before going into the show. Itís the most star studded show weíve ever had. Not only do we have Kevin Nash and Tito Santana, who are wrestling legends, but we also have Johnny Gargano, Matt Cross, the return of Josh Prohibition. You got guys like Brodie Lee, Aeroform Ė guys who have done it on the indy scene. Shima Xion, who just got signed to a T.N.A. contract, Portia Perez, who is a great womanís wrestler, wrestled all over the country. All of the P.W.O. talent has been around for the last 4 or 5 years Ė itís probably gonna be the biggest show weíve ever had and hopefully the biggest crowd. Last year was close to 2,500 I believe. Hopefully we pack a few more people in there and a lot more people are exposed to the P.W.O. product. Itís a great promotion.
I know that CM Punk said it at the AAW show, that he called you a role model for people who battle against the odds. What advice would you give to anyone who felt that their circumstances were holding them back, not just in wrestling, but in life?
I guess the only thing I can say is not everybody is gonna love the same thing. While I might be very passionate about wrestling you might be very passionate about baseball or football, or something like reading or comic books. Whatever it is that youíre passionate about, I donít think that you need to exactly love the same thing, but I think that everyone understands passion. They may not understand pro wrestling Ė Iím just trying to say Iím a pro wrestler and I love this because of this Ė but everybody can understand what passion is. If you have a true passion and a true love for something I think in the end, if you work hard enough for it and you want it bad enough, your passion will show through. It might not happen immediately but eventually somebody, somewhere is going to notice that youíre passionate and you will get something out of it. You will get a reward & you will also get what you want if youíre willing to try hard enough for it.
Do you have a message for you fans, which I have noticed from you twitter (@GregoryIron) are growing by the day?
I just wanna say I canít thank everyone enough for the support, both my fans that I had before and the ones that Iíve acquired in the last 10 days or so. I appreciate your support and itís an incredible feeling to know that a lot of you are just adding me because you find me to be inspiring, because of my disability and what Iíve overcome. A lot of these people arenít even necessarily wrestling fans, which is a crazy feeling because at the end of the day I donít really look at myself as an inspiration. I look in the mirror and Iím just Greg. Iím just a guy who, despite the odds, was courageous enough to chase after his dream, to chase after the thing that fulfils him more than anything. To be looked upon as a role model, as an inspiration, whatever that may be, means the world to me. I would definitely appreciate your continued support. Letís ride this wave and weíll make it as far as we can together! (laughs)