I received a tremendous amount of feedback about my article last week entitled “Wasted Opportunity”. Steve Bradley’s death was a tragic event and I still can’t believe that he never got a chance to be on WWE TV. But, with so much wrestling news being negative, I want to start focusing on the positive.
I want to talk about a friend of mine named Gregory Iron. He’s dealing with a disability that would probably stop most of us from trying to capture a dream. When you hear what Gregory Iron deals with, you’ll wonder “How the hell is he going to do it?”
Iron suffers from a condition that is chronic and conjures images of the most physically impared. Gregory Iron deals with Cerebral Palsy. Despite his CP, Iron has been wrestling professionally for two and a half years. I’ve seen his work and he’s damn good too!
Cerebral Palsy affects about 10,000 children each year in the United States and despite advances in prenatal care, the number of new cases diagnosed each year has remained steady. A third of CP victims are mentally retarded and 11% are blind. Think about those odds when you hear that Gregory Iron is a professional wrestler with CP.
Not only did Iron overcome CP to even get in the ring, he survived a broken home with physically and mentally abusive parents as well as a mother who was a drug addict. Greg’s childhood wasn’t condusive to any career, let alone one as a professional wrestler.
While some may remember Daniel Day-Lewis’ portrayal of Irish artist Christy Brown in the Academy Award winning “My Left Foot”, most with CP are hidden in plain site. They live an unfulfilled life of pain, anonymous in their struggle. But Gregory Iron has taken the pain of CP as well as an awful childhood and now stands ready to take the next step.
If you’ve ever seen Gregory Iron wrestle, it’s probably been on an independent show in Ohio, Pennsylvania or surrounding states. He competes in Pro Wrestling Ohio on PWO TV on STO, Sports Time Ohio, official home of the Cleveland Indians. Pro Wrestling Ohio was also where Iron suffered a near-fatal concussion, only to return two months later. Like I said, this kid knows about overcoming the odds.
Gregory Iron’s words are inspirational as well. “If you want something bad enough, whether it’s a child or someone with a disablity, you can get it. All you need is hard work, dedication and a true love for whatever it is you want. My love is wrestling. I feel I was put on this planet to inspire people through professional wrestling.”
While he hopes to compete in the WWE some day, Iron is grounded enough to know that opportunity may never come his way. But in an era when the WWE is marketing their product toward kids, there are few better stories out there than Gregory Iron.
Others with CP may be more affected than Gregory Iron. His right hand, arm and leg are the most noticeable areas. But while CP is an affliction that effects the way the brain sends signals to the body, Gregory Iron refuses to listen to those signals and he continues to push on.
His work is solid. His story is inspirational. I hope Gregory Iron gets a chance to someday show the whole world what can be done.
And congratulations to Jeff Hardy on becoming the WWE Champion at Armageddon. Jeff has come so far from the first time I met he and Matt in 1997 and I hope the story continues for many years to come.