Singer-songwriter John Condrone passed away on October 20, 2020, from complications due to COVID-19. Although more known for his music such as “If You Stole My Heart”, “But Then,” and “Since I Found you,” he also dished out numerous hits inside the squared circle.
Over a part-time career, spanning 18 years, Condrone wrestled as Johnny Meadows. Used as enhancement talent, he competed against many major names, including Ric Flair in The Nature Boy’s second last singles match in World Championship Wrestling before Flair departed for the World Wrestling Federation.
Condrone was originally from Florida, and moved to Tennessee in 1976. Shortly thereafter he hooked up with former boxer and then-current wrestler and trainer Rick Conners of Memphis, Tennessee. Debuting in November 1978 for Ron Fuller’s Southeastern Championship Wrestling, Condrone would receive his first hits from wrestlers such as Ron Wright with his infamous hidden shank, the Mongolian Stomper, and almost won by disqualification against Prof. Toru Tanaka but was later declared a no contest, when Meadows had to be carried from the ring a bloody mess.
His biggest claim to fame was winning the Southern Championship Title from Jimmy Golden on October 5, 1991. This was so Jimmy Golden could start wrestling for Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Many of the stories are detailed on his website, www.johncondrone.com.
The last days of Johnny Meadows in the ring came in 1996, wrestling for International Championship Wrestling out of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Always interested in music, Condrone had performed as a singer-songwriter in Memphis bars since he was a teenager. To supplement whatever money he made from wrestling or music, Condrone worked in a factory and as a disc jockey.
Finally breaking through in the music business in the late 1990s, Condrone would produce numerous jingles for television and radio and even backed up Dolly Parton in her bluegrass band. Up until August of 2020, Condrone was still doing Skype consultations with aspiring musicians.
First admitted to Blount Memorial Hospital in his hometown of Maryville, Tennessee around September 15, 2020, Condrone noted on social media on September 22nd: “I have been admitted to hospital with severe COVID-19, I am in so much pain right now, it’s crazy!”
His condition worsened in the following days and Condrone was put on life support on September 28th. A family member posted on October 15th, “The truth is, John is facing death as a reality every minute and may not survive.”
John Condrone passed away on October 20, 2020, “in Marie’s loving arms with his sons & ex-wife close by,” noted the Facebook post on his profile.
Tributes are online for both of his careers.
His friend of 30 years, fellow southern professional wrestler Beau James, said on Twitter: “I’m so sorry to hear of the passing of my friend of 30 years John Condrone (Johnny Meadows) from Covid-19. Johnny was a long time pro wrestler and award winning song writer.”
Wrestler Matt Sigmon of the The Heatseekers tag team said that Condrone was “one of the nicest & funniest people I have had the pleasure of knowing. We got to share many locker rooms together over the years & he was even the DJ at my wedding.”
Joe Cazana Fritts was Condrone’s partner in the Paradise City Rockers. Together they “traveled thousands of miles together” and “met a lot of people, raised a lot of you know what, and had a lot of fun.”
Fellow country singer Brad Puckett said, “My friend John Condrone list his fight with Covid a former wrestler and a hit songwriter I was proud to call him my friend Good Ride Cowboy we will play again in heaven!”
Funeral announcements are not known at this time.