"You're f*ckin' awesome." -CM Punk to Gregory Iron 7/23/2011.
I first met the "Handicapped Hero" Gregory Iron in 2007 at an Absolute Intense Wrestling event, near Cleveland, Ohio. I knew of his work and had heard bits and pieces of his story, which was quite impressive. A wrestler with Cerebral Palsy is an attention grabber. I had worked with and traveled with a referee that suffers from CP, Jeremy Hudgens aka "Jake Halco." Hudgens also had a dream of becoming a professional wrestler, but his mobility was much more limited than Iron's (born Gregory Smith). Jeremy respectfully compliments Iron, "I wish I could do half the stuff he does."
During our time in AIW and eventually PWO Wrestling, I had the opportunity to watch Greg perform. I thought to myself, "a below average worker, with below average height, below average mic skills and below average talent but he's got Cerebral Palsy." To me, I always prefaced my comments on Greg with, "For a guy with CP..." You know, for a guy with CP he's pretty good. Or for a guy with CP he's got a lot of heart.
A funny thing happened on the way to Greg getting the endorsement from Punk, going viral and the subsequent media attention. Greg got good. Not "for a guy with CP" good but legitimately good, with or without the disease. The fact that he battles this disease daily and still performs at a higher level and with more dedication than most workers in this business, is a testament of his true character. I've lost out on full-time jobs because I slept the wrong way and woke up with a kink in my neck, so I just don't go there that morning. But this man eats healthy, hits the gym and lives the right way when he has every excuse not to. His matches are something to look forward to now, more than just a novelty act. He has upped his game on the mic to the point that he's able to sell tickets through the art of the promo.
Punk and I aren't the only ones who have noticed. Vickie Guerrero, via twitter stated "he's very inspirational" in reference to Iron, when I asked for a comment. Former ECW Champion, Raven told me, "I like watching Greg wrestle. I don't know how he does it, but his work is incredible." Impact Wrestling's Crimson commented, "I had the opportunity to work several shows with Greg. The heart, desire and passion that comes from him is immeasurable. I couldn't imagine having to live with Cerebral Palsy... but to follow your dream in such a physically demanding career path as pro wrestling, proves he's a strong guy and an inspiration to all. He busts his ass and is an amazing talent that deserves all the good things that come his way."
But not everyone feels the same way about Iron, well at least not anymore.
In August, 2007, Gregory was involved in a battle royal for Cleveland All Pro Wrestling where Iron claims he nearly lost his life. Says Greg, "I legit almost died" as he specifies being recklessly suplexed by Tyrone Evans aka Michael Tarver from the WWE's Nexus faction. Evans does not share the same opinion as Iron. The suplexes Greg is referring to can be seen in the video below, via cell phone camera footage. Iron states that he suffered a severe concussion, which caused bleeding in the brain and kept him hospitalized for several days. He has yet to let go of the anger and hostility stemming from that unfortunate incident and it appears to be completely directed at Evans, although others were involved. Iron emphatically talks about Tyrone, "He's on YouTube saying how he's reckless, talking about how he drops handicapped kids on their head, after I almost died." Iron adds, "He once wrestled Jigsaw in AIW before I was even being booked there. He suplexed him on his neck, legitimately hurting him, pointed to him, and said, 'Greg Irons.' Jigsaw shot on him in that match." Tyrone has a very different view and for the first time, publicly, is ready to share it. In the upcoming second part of this story, Tyrone Evans will reveal all in candid fashion.
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