Gregory Iron has made a name for himself on the indie scene over the last 13 years despite being born with a disability. He talked about his backstory and how it led him to pro wrestling spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"Well, I was born with cerebral palsy which is a neurological disorder which affects the way my body works. It's noticeable in my right arm, hand, fingers and wrist. Cerebral palsy varies in different people – some people have it more severe. I got lucky as it's a very mild case," stated Iron.
"It happened either before or after I was born but it wasn't found until 11 months. Even at that point, they didn't diagnose it as cerebral palsy as they just told my parents I had a stroke. It wasn't until I was 11 or 12 that I was diagnosed."
Iron thought he was a normal kid until he started getting bullied at school and that combined with a troubled home life led to a tough childhood.
"My one escape became this thing I found on TV every morning called Superstars of Wrestling," revealed Iron. "My grandma was the one who got me into it and when I saw Hulk Hogan and these larger-than-life characters like Macho Man, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, I just got caught up in it. It didn't matter how bad things were going in school or at home as I could just watch wrestling and everything would be okay.
Iron would actually team up with Gowen later on as the Handicapped Heroes but he says their relationship didn't get off to a good start. Iron says when he first met Gowen he came off like a dick who only talked about how he beat Big Show.
"I pulled him aside for some advice and I was asking what I needed to do to make this work," Iron said of Gowen. "He asked what I'm doing right now and I said wrestling and training. Then he goes, 'Yeah, keep doing that.' And that was pretty much it and he kinda brushed me off. I was almost in disbelief and tried to convince myself that he wasn't being mean and was maybe just busy or preoccupied.
"But then a couple of days passed by and I thought he was kind of a dick. I held onto that for a little bit and whenever I did shows, promoters knew my situation and said, 'Oh, we'd love to team you up with Zach Gowen.' Zach was like in and out and what I didn't understand at the time I met Zach was that he was heavily addicted to drugs. He was just a different guy."
Gowen ended up getting help and Iron was actually a part of his first post-rehab match and said he was much better. About a year after that match Iron did a podcast and talked about Gowen being a dick to him. He sayd Gowen then called him crying because he didn't know Iron's story and he wanted to apologize.
"That was the start of it. It was one of those things that Zach didn't realize when he was in WWE that he was inspiring me to become a wrestler. Then I didn't realize that he was going through this struggle and that he needed to see someone like me to continue on his path as a pro wrestler and the encouragement to keep going. It's pretty nice because you can't write stories like that," stated Iron.
"Zach Gowen of 2019 is much more different than the Zach Gowen of 2006."
Iron then talked about what it was like learning the ropes while having cerebral palsy.
"Initially there was not a big concern about having the disability because it's something I lived with all my life so I knew how to navigate it. My concern was that I never did anything athletic in my life. I never had the desire to play any sports…I was just concerned that I wouldn't have an athletic bone in my body," said Iron. "But my trainer would always propose challenges for me. He would say, 'Today I'm gonna teach you a basic maneuver – a collar and elbow tie-up – and if you can't do this, then I can't continue training you.' Looking back at it, I think he was trying to psyche me out because most wrestling trainers will keep stealing your money to train you."
Iron said every time he figured out a way to do something, his trainer would propose something new and Iron would have to find another way to do it.
"People ask me, 'How do you wrestle with cerebral palsy? How do you wrestle with one arm?' My answer is, 'I've never wrestled with two.' It's the only thing I know and if you have an obstacle or limitation, you figure out ways to adapt," said Iron.
Outside of the ring, Iron recently started a podcast and talked about a WWE Hall of Famer that is a part of it.
"We are four episodes deep with some good content in the archives with Johnny Gargano, Kimberly and Curt Stallion. Next Wednesday when the podcast drops, I'm gonna have some exclusive content from a conversation I had with Stone Cold Steve Austin from about a year ago. It was some unused footage from my doc with Stone Cold I did back in October," Iron said before adding that it's a tangent of questions that provided interesting answers from The Rattlesnake.
"We go into a banter and it's content that I've never heard Steve talk about. It's gonna be very interesting to the listeners and it's about 20 minutes in length…I think it will be a good episode so I think you should like and subscribe to the podcast.
Gregory Iron's new podcast "Iron-On Wrestling" is now available via all major podcast platforms. To subscribe on iTunes please click here. His full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of today's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post. Featuring Iron discussing his cerebral palsy, his biggest hurdles once he began training, why he's decided to launch his podcast, his friendship with NXT's Johnny Gargano, being ringside for Johnny's WWE NXT title win in New York, why he doesn't think WWE will hire him, CM Punk and Colt Cabana putting him over in 2011 and more.