He began to notice that whenever I would grab a toy, or a bottle, I would grab it with my left hand, while I would clitch my right arm and hand at my side. After a visit to the doctor, I was officially diagnosed, and began attending physical therapy until the age of seven.
Cerebral Palsy is a form of brain damage that effects the central motor skills, and the way the brain sends messages to certain parts of the body. There are many forms of cerebral palsy. Mine is pretty minor. It mainly limits me from using my right arm and hand, but it's also evident in my right leg, as I sometimes walk flat footed on that side. The muscles are much tighter than normal. I'm unable to flip my arm so that my hand can face palm up. My hand just sort of hangs limp off of my wrist in a downward position. My fingers look a bit crooked, and don't really move much.
Growing up with cerebral palsy, I was a constant victim of bullying. Kids called me things like "cripple," "gimp," "re-re," and "retarded" because of an affliction that was out of my control. It got me down, and it didn't help that my home life wasn't too good. My mom and dad were constantly at odds, verbally and physically assaulting each other on a regular basis, mainly because of my mom's thievery and her addiction to crack.
I had one escape. I had one thing that made me forget about the torment I would endure at school, and the animosity that was constantly within my household. That one thing was professional wrestling. Hulk Hogan, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Bret "Hitman" Hart were my first real heroes. Batman was pretty cool. Spider Man was okay, but I doubted they could beat The Ultimate Warrior in a fight. It was because of my grandmother Ella that I fell madly in love with the WWF.
I thought I'd grow out of it, but as the years progressed, I became more infatuated with it. I never thought I could be a wrestler because of my disability. What I knew was that I wanted to somehow be a part of this strange universe, where men were adored for prancing around proudly in neon colored spandex, while bleeding profusely from steel chair shots to the cranium. Call me cray, but it was my dream.
Welcome to Gregory-Iron.com!
Man--- this is weird. I'm writing a bio on myself, for my official website. If you told me a decade ago that I'd have my own website, I would have called you cray--- Actually, "cray" wasn't a slang term back in the early 2000's, so I guess I would have said, "You be trippin'."
Chances are that if you've found your way here, you know at least a little bit about me. This is the part where you find out a little bit more. Who knows, you might find out more than you wanted to know.
I'm a pro wrestler, but I'm not your average pro wrestler. I'm not 6' 5" tall. I'm only 5' 5". I'm not 285 pounds. I'm about a buck sixty. I'm not exactly the prototypical chiseled behemoth that wrestling promoters go for.
I grew up in Cleveland, Oh... oh. Wait. I forgot to tell you. You know how I just mentioned that I'm not your average wrestler? Well, I also don't have full function of my right side. I have cerebral palsy. Whoops. Minor detail.
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, I've lived with C.P. since birth. It was first discovered by my father when I was about eleven months old.
I started paying more attention to wrestling commentators, thinking that perhaps maybe I could be the next Jim Ross. I religiously read Pro Wrestling Illustrated, and because I loved writing, I thought maybe I could pen articles about wrestlers like Bill Apter. Then I saw Zach Gowen, and I threw all of those other ideas out the window.
Gowen survived cancer, and had his leg amputated as a child. Despite only having one leg, Zach pursued his dream, and ended up getting a WWE contract in 2003. The moment I saw him do a one legged top rope moonsault, a seed was planted into my brain. I began lifting weights, and in 2005, I began helping with a local wrestling promotion, Cleveland All Pro Wrestling, by selling tickets.
JT Lightning promoted for CAPW, and also trained wrestlers. In 2006, despite my overwhelming fear, I payed $50 to tryout for wrestling class.
My tryout consisted of hitting the ring ropes until my back was bruised, crashing into the corner of the turnbuckles so hard that I was sure that I would be pissing blood, and bumping on the mat dozens of times, to the point where the bottom of my spinal cord felt as if it had been punctured by a knife.
I loved every second of it, and kept coming back twice a week for more punishment.
I had to master all the basics, or else JT threatened to terminate my training. If I couldn't make it look real, there was no point in continuing. If I couldn't do things the conventional way, with the help of JT, Josh Prohibition, and the guy who would spend the majority of the time training me, Johnny Gargano, we found ways to make a guy wrestling with one fully functional arm believable.
For nearly a decade, I've been given the honor to share a part of myself with all of you, whether it be at live events, through social networking, or through a brief interaction on the street or in a store. With Gregory-Iron.com, you have one more way to interact with me.
Here, you'll be able to see pictures, stories, and videos on me, new and old. You'll also be able to purchase Gregory Iron merchandise, as well as ring worn items, and rare wrestling memorabilia. More importantly, it's a new way for us to connect with one another. After all, if it wasn't for your years of support, I wouldn't have gotten to this point.
People have told me over the years that my story has inspired them. As weird as that sounds to me, I find it really cool. Don't forget though: We have to inspire each other. As much as you're inspired by me through my wrestling, you inspire me to keep going. Thank you.
I've also been fortunate enough to form a tag team and a friendship with one of my role models, Zach Gowen.
As The Handicapped Heroes, Zach and I have been fortunate enough to be able to capture the hearts and minds of people, with and without disabilities, across the globe.
On July 23rd, 2011, after five years as a pro, I got the biggest break of my career.
To my surprise, after competing in a tag team match for AAW Wrestling in Berwyn, Illinois, I received the public endorsement of a lifetime from world renowned wrestler and comedian Colt Cabana, and then-WWE Champion CM Punk.
Within hours, the video went viral, and soon I was sharing my story with Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and Fox News. I was even a part of an Emmy Award winning documentary, "An Iron Will."
To say it was all surreal would be the understatement of a lifetime.
Being a professional wrestler has allowed me to do so many things that seemed impossible only a short time ago. I've got to travel across the country not only wrestling, but doing motivational speaking to children and adults. I've got the chance to share rings and locker rooms with my childhood heroes--- like Bret Hart, CM Punk, The Hardy Boyz, Ric Flair, Ted DiBiase--- just to name a few.