Imagine being best friends with the son of the most powerful person in wrestling. That would be really cool, right? Not only would you have a ton of great stories, but there's always the possibility that anyone from Stone Cold Steve Austin to Junkyard Dog may stop by your friend's house for dinner.
Now imagine your friend gives you an opportunity to appear in a WWF vignette - one setting up your friend's featured match at WrestleMania! Not only that, but you actually become a part of said WrestleMania match, interfering near ringside, all despite not having any formal wrestling experience!
As if that weren't enough, imagine parlaying that brief cameo into a full-time gig with the World Wrestling Federation that lasted a couple of years. One that allows you to compete in one of the highest all-time rated segments in wrestling history! When you put this in context.... it actually makes for one heck of a great story.
For someone in the wrestling business, Pete "Gas" Gasparino is an incredibly nice guy. Not only do WWE Hall of Famer Edge and John Bradshaw Layfield mention this in their forewords, but I can also speak to this firsthand, having conducted an interview with him in 2015. Pete could have easily shot down my request or simply ignored it, but instead he really engaged and it resulted in one of my favorite articles on this site.
On to his autobiography, Looking At The Lights: My Path From Fan To A Wrestling Heel. We begin with the rags-to-riches story of how Pete and his real-life buddy Rodney became wrestling superstars. Despite being from Greenwich and good friends with Shane O'Mac, he was never as wealthy as his sweater vest-wearing Mean Street Posse character might suggest.
From there, the story just gets better. Gas talks about how the WWF added a third member to The Posse (Joey Abs) as a sort of wringer to have proper wrestling matches. Various rivalries are detailed, including The Posse's record-setting match on Raw against WWE Hall of Famers Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. And he discusses at length his interactions with the likes of Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley and many other top stars of The Attitude Era.
One of the most interesting stories in the book is Pete's relationship with Test (The Mean Street Posse feuded with him ahead of Shane McMahon's "Love Her Or Leave Her" match at SummerSlam in 1999). At first, Test was disgusted with having to work with the relative rookies, but eventually they formed a bond that lasted until Test's passing a decade later.
In addition, Pete talks about his experiences with Vince McMahon, his finishing move The Gas Mask (who knew?), winning the WWF Hardcore Championship and even traveling to Memphis and Puerto Rico to improve his skillset.
Of course, The Mean Street Posse didn't last very long in the business, but credit needs to be given that they even landed a spot in the world's biggest wrestling company during arguably the single hottest period in the business.
It must have been a real Gas.
Overall Rating: Oh Hell Yeah! I wasn't sure exactly how comprehensive a book like this was going to be, but it turned out incredibly well, surpassing many people's expectations, and is a really fun read. Definitely worth your time to pick up.