Cody Deaner, and two fans reinact poses from Hulk Hogan during a presentation on Thursday. Photo by Michael Hugall)

Pro-wrestler preaches positivity in Chatham-Kent

Before he was known as the redneck renegade, Christopher Gray, or “Cody Deaner” as he is named on Impact Wrestling, was a five-year-old boy with a dream.

On Thursday, he made his way to the regions for meetings at the Chatham Public Library and the Blenheim Library to his story with a room jam-packed with attentive children and their parents. His mission, to preach positivity and help the kids understand that no matter how crazy their dreams may seem, they are still attainable.

“I have a heart for kids,” said Deaner. “I want my kids to grow up thinking positively and knowing they can be whatever they want to be if they put in the work.”

For the past decade, Deaner has been going across North America to schools, and municipalities a little bit larger than his hometown of Port Bruce, Ontario telling his story. From the initial grind of wrestling in front of eight people at a house show to the highs of wrestling Kurt Angle in World Wrestling Entertainment.

“I was told by various people at a young age not to pursue my dream… that it wasn’t possible,” said Deaner. “I want kids to know they can be whatever they want to be and can dream big.”

The message of staying positive and following your dreams is one that sticks with the pro-wrestler. Especially in this generation, because of the rise of negative content on the internet, he thinks the message is relevant in order to get a child’s mind on the right path.

“I feel [a majority] of content that people see online is negative,” said Deaner. “We live in a world where people are drawn to negativity and people just want to respond to it.”

Deaner added he wants to see children act on his slogan of “just give’er” when it comes to achieving their goals. Meaning that if they choose to stick to achieving their goals, they will give 100 per cent in order to do so.