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.
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John “Alexander” Arezzi is an entrepreneur who lives in Long Island and Nashville. He runs MatMemories.com and the Pro Wrestling Spotlight Then & Now podcast.
Greg Oliver is the author of 15 books, and the producer of SlamWrestling.net. He is the 2020 recipient of the James C. Melby Historian Award for his contributions to pro wrestling history. He lives in Toronto, Ontario, with his wife and son.
Published: April 2021
Dimensions: 6 x 9 in.
“John is a believer. He takes chances on people he believes in. I should know. For whatever reason he believed in me and put my show Headline Country on TV for 14 years. He’s an underdog’s best friend. Whether it’s baseball, wrestling or country music, he smells potential and opportunity like a bloodhound.” — Storme Warren, Sirius XM “The Highway”
“John Arezzi was there for the superfan of Pro Wrestling. From his radio show in NYC, to the Weekend of Champions conventions, he just knew what hardcore fans wanted. Then he just disappeared and I always wondered what happened to him. I never forget the people that were good to me on my way up and I'll always be grateful to John, who was one of those who was so good to me. That’s why I was excited to see John back on the scene and wanting to share his story with everyone. I'm really looking forward to John's book!” — Two-time WWE Hall of Famer Sean Waltman, a.k.a. Xpac
“John Arezzi was a wrestling superfan, which led to his many accomplishments in the business. He’s done it all! From newsstand magazine ringside reporter in the 1970s, to promoting the first wrestling conventions in the 1990s, to starting the talks to bring AAA Lucha’s foray into the United States, and helping bridge the relationship between AAA and ECW, John is first class. This book tells it all.” — Lucha Libre Legend Konnan
“The wrestling sections of his life story are fascinating … all of this is covered in some detail, with honest and amusing recollections and a refreshing sense of perspective and reality on the ups and down of the business.” — Pro Wrestling Books
“The book was an easy read, and enjoyable throughout the journey … This is a book about a remarkable life.” — Lance Writes blog
“John Arezzi’s adventures in wrestling assure him a place in history. A pioneer of wrestling radio shows, the father of the modern fanfest/all-star convention, and even a wrestler himself, albeit briefly, John has a multitude of experiences and stories pertaining to his love of and participation in pro wrestling. I’ve even forgiven him—almost—for being responsible for letting loose wrestling’s greatest plague on an unsuspecting citizenry. What plague you ask? Read the book and see if he admits it!” — Wrestling personality Jim Cornette
“This book is inspiring as it’s rooted in John’s character and offers life lesson after life lesson. Here’s an example: During my walk halfway across America to raise awareness for foster children aging out of foster care into homelessness, John enlisted his contacts and resources to facilitate a sponsorship with Red Roof Inn so my support car driver would have a place to stay each night — free of charge. John never mentioned it to me during the seven-month, 1,700 mile walk. I only learned he did this years later.” — New York Times Bestselling Author and Country Music Artist Jimmy Wayne
“Whether his story is about wrestling, music or baseball, Arezzi drops a lot of names and doesn't hold back anything. The stories are plentiful and entertaining … making for a good read that anyone who follows wrestling or country music will enjoy.” — Sports Book Guy blog
“If you're looking to read an autobiography about a man who has had a multifaceted life that is also funny, honest and takes the reader through his ups and downs in life, then this book will more than keep your interest.” — Slam Wrestling
“Perhaps most impressive is Arezzi's knack for storytelling by making each tale interesting, whether the reader is a specific fan of that entertainment form or not … Mat Memories will not disappoint.” — Royal Flush