Mat Memories

My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music, and with the Mets

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Pub Date Apr 06 2021 | Archive Date Jan 31 2021

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A man with three different names ties together the stars of professional wrestling, country music, and the New York Mets.

John Arezzi was a lifelong Mets fan who dreamed of a job in baseball. In 1981, he took a job with the Mets Class A team in North Carolina. But Arezzi had another love: professional wrestling. He ran a fan club for the villainous “Classy” Freddie Blassie as a teenager, then progressed to wrestling photographer, and finally even stepped into the ring himself as John Anthony. Eventually he escaped to pursue a new life in altogether different world: country music. After adopting a new name, John Alexander, his many accomplishments include discovering both Patty Loveless and (decades later) Kelsea Ballerini. But wrestling is tough to shake …

In the 1990s, Arezzi hosted the pioneering radio talk show Pro Wrestling Spotlight. He also ran the first major conventions, assembling a wrestling who’s who to meet with fans. He promoted shows, both at home and abroad, and was a key figure behind importing lucha libre into America.

Mat Memories is Arezzi’s chance to hold the mic, and he holds nothing back — he names names and tells the untold behind-the-scenes stories: from the ring, the stage, and the diamond.

A man with three different names ties together the stars of professional wrestling, country music, and the New York Mets.

John Arezzi was a lifelong Mets fan who dreamed of a job in baseball. In...

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ISBN 9781770415645

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Featured Reviews

In John Arezzi aka John Alexander aka John Anthony's memoir Mat Memories: My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music and with the Mets, the man with many hats shares his experiences across a variety of entertainment fields. Known to most for his past popular radio show and current podcast, Pro Wrestling Spotlight, John has had an almost Zelig-like career rising and falling with three different industries, but learning and surviving with many funny stories along the way, which he shares warts and all. Wrestling fans might come for the ringside tales, which are interesting but might be a little broad and not well explained for the casual fan. More prominent is his many years in Country music, starting as an admin for one of New York City's largest Country radio stations. The story continues in Nashville working for Great American Country channel on television and finally ending in the management and producing business. A very interesting memoir from a man not too proud to admit when mistakes were made, and who learned and thrived in some very difficult workplaces.

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What a rich and varied life he has had.
John Arezzi has had such an interesting life that he had three forewords from the different parts of his life, one from his time in baseball, one from professional wrestling and one from country music.

This book details his rise from his dad being an associate of the mob and his mum sadly suffering from long periods of mental illness.

His time in baseball was only a brief period so if you're expecting a lot of stories then this isn't for you but his passion for the sport shines through. Where this book really excels is his time in country music and professional wrestling.

He had a number of roles in wrestling from photography to a radio talk show host to setting up conventions. At one point, he got in the ring and had a couple of matches. Arezzi really was the first one to set up conventions with wrestler autograph signings for fans and now there are lots of them. There was a good story about he brought Vince Russo into wrestling.

I didn't know a massive amount about country music and its internal workings but really enjoyed learning about it. It seemed a little bit of a cutthroat business at times but then professional wrestling seemed like that as well in the book with performers seeing what they could get.

Strongly recommended.

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A tremendous story. I felt like every page or 2 I had a "holy shit" moment where someone totally unexpected popped into the story. Obviously I highly recommend this book to fans of pro wrestling and/or country music, but anyone that enjoys a highly entertaining memoir and an engaging story will love this book.

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