A Dose of Iron: Twenty.Seventeen Mental Wellness Policy Violation

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As I sit here and try to write, I’m not sure how exactly to start this blog entry. I guess the best way is to write exactly what I’m feeling. Mentally, 2017 has been the most painful year of my life. Yes, I said “mentally.” This is coming from a guy that in the same calendar year physically broke his penis and yet somehow, that doesn’t compare to the feelings I’ve had internally.

This past year, I suffered a severe personal loss, one that was incredibly unexpected and damaging to my self-esteem and worth. That loss turned my whole world upside down. I perform in professional wrestling, an industry where everything that happens in it is a crapshoot. But when I thought of this one thing, I always felt that everything would turn out just fine, no matter where I was at that point of the roller coaster known as “Life.” In this one aspect of my existence, I felt like everything was certain.

But nothing in this life is for certain.

If you’re reading this, chances are you know who I am. But if you’re new to me, my name is Gregory Iron. I’m the only professional wrestling performing with cerebral palsy. CP is a neurological disorder from birth that in my particular case, effects the mobility on the right side of my body, most prevalent in my right arm and hand. I started pursuing a career in pro wrestling at the age of 18 in 2005, while everyone told me what a nutbar I was for even trying, based on my situation. Twelve years later, not only did I prove that I could be a professional wrestler with CP, I’d like to think that along the way, I’ve become one of the most okay-ish wrestlers in the industry.

The good folks here at Bodyslam.net have been gracious enough to give me a platform to speak to you. I’d like to think I keep it pretty real with you guys. If you follow me on social media, listened to any podcasts or have read any of the interviews I’ve done over the years, you probably know that I’m an open book. But when I was asked to write this column, I wanted to give you an opportunity to know me even better. I just hope you appreciate how candid I am and if I start writing in ramblings– I apologize in advance.

I want to talk about the wrestling portion of my 2017 first. I had some great matches this year. I’m my harshest critic, but I really believe that this year I’ve given you guys some of my best in-ring performances. In January while teaming with Rickey Shane Page at Alpha-1 Wrestling, we had a banging match with EYFBO better known now as Santana and Ortiz of LAX on Impact Wrestling. Not too long after our match in Canada, E.Y.F.B.O. got signed to Impact (coincidence, hmmm.. 😂), and they have been proving to the world just how incredibly talented that they are.

While we’re on the subject of tag team wrestling, I have to mention how great it’s been teaming with Zach Gowen this year, my other half in “The Handicapped Heroes.” In 2017, I think hands down our best matches were with The Left Coast Guerrillas at Lucha Libre & Laughs in Colorado, and with Ruff Crossing and Mason Beck at Funky Munky Wrestling in Iowa. If you dont know of these four dudes, look them up. All big dudes who are agile and capable in the ring. Speaking for Zach, we would have no problem wrestling those guys any night of the week.

When I was 16 years old, Zach Gowen was the reason I became a wrestler when I saw him perform with one leg on WWE TV. In 2003, he was a huge source of inspiration for me, and I’m proud to say he’s an even bigger inspiration for me in 2017. A great mentor and a friend that always has my back, I can’t ever repay him for what he’s done and continues to do for me.

Anything that I was able to do in Absolute Intense Wrestling with No Strings Attached (Alex Daniels, Veda Scott, Ray Lynn & Marti Belle) was a blast. It was a great excuse for me to finally wear all of those womens short shorts that I own in public– I mean what.

Empire State Wrestling continued to put faith in me in 2017, giving me a Buffalo branch of the Iron Curtain and the opportunity to work with world traveled guys like Colin Delaney and Matt Sydal. I look forward to what ESW has planned in the coming year.

In 2017, I said goodbye to AAW. After repeated mistreatment of myself and my friends, bad booking, and one too many last minute cancellations, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. AAW has some of the best talent anywhere, and while I know I’m low on the priority list for promoter Danny Daniels, I also know my value as a performer. To all the young wrestlers– make the drives. Take the loss financially to get your name out there. But there is a fine line between “paying dues” and getting taken advantage of. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and lose one booking. If you’re good enough, someone will scoop you up right away.

As soon as I broke away from AAW, I got the opportunity to provide color commentary for Black Label Pro, based out of Crown Point, Indiana. Sitting alongside Wrestlezone’s Nick Hausman on play by play, I’ve gotten the opportunity to call matches this year with guys ranging from Keith Lee, Darby Allin, Eric Ryan, Nick Gage and Tom Lawlor to Mordecai, Gangrel, Ernest Miller, Super Crazy and The Faces of Fear.

Tommy Younnnnng!

Behind the scenes, I’ve been doing a lot of agenting and helping with promos for Cleveland’s AIW. It’s weird to think that I’m in a position now where guys come to me for input, want my help– and I can actually help them. It’s gratifying creatively, and there are so many hard working and positive kids in the locker rooms these days. MJF, Mance Warner, Cole Radrick, Dr. Daniel Rockingham, Sage Phillips, Eddy Only, Shane Sabre, Kobe Durst, Everett Connors, just to name a few, are dudes out there on the road, getting ring time in and asking questions. It’s nice to see that the future of independent wrestling is bright.

As a singles wrestler, I’ve felt like I’ve taken my ring work to a new level, and it helped that I’ve had awesome talent to work with. Guys like Ace Perry, Jack Pollock, Ethan Page, Space Monkey,  Myron Reed, Derek Derection, Shane Sabre and Justin Sane gave me matches and moments that I’m super proud of.

I met my brother Shawn for the first time in 2017. It was a very emotional meeting, capped off at an IWA show in West Virginia, where he got to watch me perform for the first time against Jason Gory. Meeting and performing in front of Shawn was my proudest in-ring moment of the year, and has been the brightest spot of a year that’s given me some of my lowest of lows. He has grown into an intelligent young man with a big heart who loves weight lifting as much as I do, and I look forward to becoming closer in 2018.

Meeting Shawn was my greatest life moment this year (I met Hulk Hogan, too which ruled), but no in-ring moments topped the experiences I had with Rickey Shane Page in 2017, which culminated in the most brutal and arguably the greatest match of my career.

On May 19th, after a multi-month build at Alpha-1 Wrestling, I fought RSP in a Dog Collar Match where so much blood was shed, Muta would have vomited at the sight of it. If you’ve seen it, an accurate comparison of the bloodshed would be reminiscent of Eddie Guerrero vs. JBL from Judgment Day 2004. If you’ve never seen it, well, here’s a side by side comparison:

It was extremely graphic, but I really believe that Rickey and I told an incredible story, and it’s one that I will forever be proud of. I’d like to think the fans that were emotionally invested in our feud were able to shift focus away from the pressures of  whatever is happening in their everyday life, and get caught up in the magic of pro wrestling. I know that it helped me forget about those pressures.

Okay. So like, I– guess I’m straight edge? I don’t feel completely comfortable labeling myself as such because I feel like in order to completely fit the criteria, you have to be way into punk bands like Minor Threat, Earth Crisis, etc. But I guess it’s the most accurate way to describe me. I don’t drink alcohol. I have never in my life touched an illegal drug, and I never will. And I think that’s why I feel like with all the personal things I’ve been dealt in the year 2017, I’ve had seemingly more inner turmoil than ever.

I don’t do anything chemically to mask my problems. I don’t drink booze or smoke dope (what an old man phrase) to forget about them. I’ve got to deal with my internal struggles head on. If you like to drink, cool, and If you want to do drugs, okay I guess. But I’ve seen first hand what drugs and alcohol did to my parents as a kid. My dad thinks drinking alcohol daily is cool, and if that lame ass thinks getting drunk is cool then it’s definitely not. And I watched my mom slowly kill herself over the course of 23 years. Drugs and alcohol, it just isn’t my thing.

I overthink and I overanalyze so many things, things out of my control. But as a professional wrestler, it’s not my job to tell you about the pain that I legitimately feel in my head, every second of every day. My job as a pro wrestler is to strategically plan out the physical pain that I’m going to go through, and convey that pain in such a way that when you watch me perform, it’ll help you forget about your own.

For my entire childhood, the only thing that kept my focus off all of the bad shit in this world were the larger than life wrestling characters that I saw on TV. And for my entire adult life, I’ve strived to be one of those larger than life characters (even if I’m only 5′ 4″) that keeps your focus off all the bad shit in this world. I love to be able to dictate your emotions, to make you cheer, boo, wince, cry, and more than anything, I love to make you guys laugh.

When I injured my dong in a match against two guys that weren’t too great this past September, I drove all the way home from New Jersey with a catheter in my actual dickhole. I had to stop every two hours, limp slowly into a gas station, wipe up any blood and empty the urine from the bag attached to my leg. Knowing I’d need help moving around, changing my bag, and showering, I had to stay with my EX-girlfriend to help me. I got to what used to be our place, struggled to walk up the stairs to what was our room, and when I finally got there, I just broke down crying. I felt so pathetic and low. To her credit, my ex was there to comfort me, and she looked at me and said, “Well, what are you going to do now that you can’t wrestle anymore?”

Almost instantly my crying stopped. I stared at her, and I could see her eyes watching my brain process her question. And I responded, “Oh, I mean, once this gets better, I’m going to wrestle again.”

My ex looked at me like I was an insane person.

It was at that moment that I realized..  I get high off of pro wrestling.

I cope with life by putting my creative energies into pro wrestling. I’ve never felt like I’ve been really good at any one thing. But I’m sort of okay at a bunch of little things, and when I combine those things and focus their energy into wrestling, I’m able to create the illusion that I’m pretty decent at this gig.

I don’t have much of a real family, but you don’t have to have the same blood to be my family. Johnny, Candice, Rickey, Ron, M-Dogg, Vince, Dick, Zach, J-Pro, Julian, Davey, Dori, Andy, Aaron, Beej, Pants, Laura, Pepper, Vic, Eric, Amy, Ashley, a bunch of dudes I’m probably forgetting right now– and my fans– I love you guys. You do more for me than you realize. When you guys helped me this year with my Go Fund Me, I was overwhelmed by your kindness. You showed me that the relationships that I’ve sacrificed, the physical and mental toll that I take for you is worth it, that you care, and that means more than you know.

When the year ends, we use it as a time to reflect, and I’m glad I took the time to write this, more than likely, incoherent rambling. Here’s what I learned in 2017:

Yes. We can get caught up in our own minds at times, and that’s okay. You’re human. Stay busy with productive things that will keep your mind at ease.

Yes. Things are going to change. People are going to change. Love may be lost. But the ones that truly matter will stick around and love you no matter what, whether it’s one person or one million people– I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

No. Life isn’t hard. It’s challenging. Embrace it. You only get one.

No. I’m not going to lighten my schedule in 2018. I’m ready to take on so much more.

I’ve got a lot of stuff in the works. I’ve got a movie that I worked on this year, “Powerbomb,” coming out in the following months. I’m hoping to be heavily involved with with a new speaking agency, which will allow me to do more speaking engagements across the country. I’m going to try to get certified in DDP Yoga, and because of my hard work with Vince and Fit Legit Training, at 31 I’m in the best shape of my life. With that said– There’s no slowing down on the pro wrestling aspect of my life and come 2018, I’m hoping that I get the opportunity to express my creativity on a much larger platform.

Don’t focus on the shit that doesn’t matter in 2018. Do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Be the best you. It’s the only way you’ll ever find happiness.

If you’re struggling with anything mentally and need someone to talk to, please feel free to contact me at [email protected] We got this.

Happy New Year.

-Greg