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

By John “Alexander” Arezzi and Greg Oliver

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 Arezzi and Greg Oliver promote Arezzi’s memoir Mat Memories for the first time together at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tuesday, September 14, 2021. Photo by Brad McFarlin


During the process of working on John Arezzi’s book, Mat Memories: My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music and with the Mets, I learned a ton about the guy, and what a hustler he has had to be throughout his life. That hasn’t been any difference with the book on shelves now! He’s done tons of media appearances, especially in Nashville, and a few in-person book signings. I admire the hard work. The best place to follow along is at

John Arezzi and Kelsea Ballerini.
John Gibbons and John Arezzi in 1984.
John Arezzi and Sarah Darling. (Sara Kauss Photography)
John Arezzi and Patty Loveless.
John Arezzi and Freddie Blassie.


My project with John Arezzi is now for sale on Amazon and in other locations, with a publication date of April 6, 2021. It’s titled ​Mat Memories: My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music and with the Mets, and the cover is at left. There are three different forewords in it, trying to cover the three aspects of his life: Mick Foley addresses John Anthony / John Arezzi in the wrestling business; John Gibbons, former manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, talks about Arezzi in baseball; and Suzanne Alexander, a well-known face in country music, talks about John Alexander, who was a mover and shaker in country music!


Tying together the stars of professional wrestling, country music and the New York Mets is one man: John Arezzi.

In his memoir, out in the spring of 2021, from ECW Press, Arezzi will bring the reader along on his wild ride, from a pioneering wrestling radio show to baseball’s minor leagues to working with Patty Loveless, Kelsea Ballerini and Taylor Swift.

To complete his life story, Arezzi is teaming with accomplished wrestling journalist Greg Oliver, author or co-author of 15 previous books, including the acclaimed Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame series. Oliver has also run the respected SLAM! Wrestling website for more than 20 years.

The Brooklyn-born, Long Island-raised Arezzi started in the wrestling business running a fan club for the notorious villain “Classie” Freddie Blassie, and progressed to shooting at ringside and writing for the newsstand wrestling magazines. A decision to enter the ring at a WWWF television taping as a wrestler curtailed his wrestling journalism career.

After college, Arezzi followed his other love, baseball, and worked for the New York Mets in the minor leagues, sharing laughs with the likes of Lenny Dykstra and John Gibbons through the wins and losses.

Then he walked away from it all, stunning family and friends, diving headfirst into country music, where his accomplishments include finding Patty Loveless singing in a dingy bar in North Carolina and guiding her early career. Decades later, in a different role, and under a different name—John Alexander—Arezzi propelled the careers of Kelsea Ballerini and Sarah Darling forward. He also worked on radio and TV projects featuring country royalty such as Taylor Swift, Toby Keith, the Dixie Chicks.

But professional wrestling is a tough mistress to shake, and it came calling again, and again, like an itch that could never be scratched away.

His insider radio show, Pro Wrestling Spotlight, was a must-listen for fans in the greater New York City area in the 1990s, to the point that fans would tape his broadcast and send cassette tapes to other eager fans.

Arezzi ran the first major fan fests, assembling a who’s who of wrestling, to meet with fans eager to get to know their ring heroes. He was called upon by the mainstream media to offer up his take on the 1990s scandals in the then-WWF, with accusations of sexual abuse and steroid distribution. He promoted shows, both at home and abroad, and was a key figure importing the lucha libre style into America.

Today, Arezzi still works in country music, but has also dug deep into his rich archives to create the podcast, John Arezzi’s Pro Wrestling Spotlight Then & Now, co-hosted by Brian Last, and various television projects.

His memoir, titled ​Mat Memories: My Wild Life in Pro Wrestling, Country Music and with the Mets, will be released in the Spring of 2021, by ECW Press.

For more on John Arezzi, see or email him at

John Arezzi’s Pro Wrestling Spotlight Then & Now podcast is available at

For more on Greg Oliver, see or email him at Greg is available for interviews to talk about working on the book with John Arezzi, and to promote his latest release, The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Storytellers, From the Terrible Turk to Twitter.