Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Meet Dustin Starr: Pro Wrestler and Memphis Enthusiast

Photo: Dustin Starr

Memphis doesn’t award anyone for having the most Memphis pride, but if they did, Dustin Starr would be definitely be a finalist.

starr1You may recognize him from the exciting events that go on during breaks at Grizzlies games. Native Memphian, Dustin Starr is our very own emcee for the Memphis Grizzlies, but his love for the city of Memphis doesn’t stop at our NBA team.

“When the opportunity came up to work as their game night emcee, it was a no-brainer.  Who wouldn’t want to work for their favorite sports team?” Starr says. “Everyone from the fans, the organization, management, game-ops, you name it, they have all made this experience something I will cherish forever.”

Since he was five years old, Dustin Starr always knew he wanted to be a professional wrestler. He grew up in Memphis watching Memphis Wrestling every Saturday morning on WMC-TV5 and sometimes his family even got to attend ringside on Monday nights in the Mid-South Coliseum.

Dustin Starr and his wife, Maria.

Dustin Starr and his wife, Maria.

“Not only did I achieve my goal of wrestling on the same TV show I grew up watching in Memphis, but I also performed inside Mid-South Coliseum.”

As Starr witnessed many of his childhood dreams come true for him, he was stunned when his current dream began to play out when he became a professional WWE wrestler.

Today, Starr and his wife, Maria, live in East Memphis and have both become more prominent public profiles in the city of Memphis. He currently co-hosts a weekly wrestling segment at 12:05 LIVE every Saturday afternoon on Sports56 WHBQ where they host hall of fame guests every week. And has recently been given the opportunity to co-host Local Memphis Live on ABC24 with Amy Speropoulos after guest appearing on their weekly Fitness Friday segment.

Dustin StarrIt is no secret that Dustin Starr is passionate about the city of Memphis, but more importantly he thinks you should be too. From going to eat at the best Memphis restaurants, attending Grizzlies or Redbirds games, festivals, museums, etc. Starr doesn’t think it’s possible for Memphis to be boring because there is always something to do.

“No city is fun if you’re sitting at home! Parks, museums, best food in the world – Memphis has it all. Get involved – explore our city! CHOOSE901!”

Read below for our full Q&A:

C901: How have you experienced Memphis?
Starr: “Having been born and raised in Memphis, I would like to think I have experienced Memphis in just about every way possible. My family and I currently reside in East Memphis and love to take part in all the great events our city has to offer. Whether it’s Best Memphis Burger Fest, Grizzlies basketball, Redbirds baseball, etc. – we love being involved in all the fun that Memphis has to offer. Maria, my wife, even works for St. Jude – what an experience that has been.”
C901: What is it like having such a public profile in Memphis?
Starr: “It is so much FUN – but extremely busy! We stay booked solid with TV, radio, sporting events, traveling for wrestling, etc. It is still a thrill to have random people recognize me in public. Walking through the gym on any given day, I’ll hear “GO GRIZZ!” or “FIVE STARR” – and they throw their five in the sky (five fingers). I’m always up for a conversation about either!
Emceeing Memphis Grizzlies basketball this year has been an absolute blast. You just never know who you might meet sitting court side! And with baseball season approaching, we will be spending some quality time at Autozone Park, as Maria begins her 7th season as Redbirds emcee. We are very fortunate to be able to work so many events together. Our eight-year-old son Brady loves it too. Parent/teacher meetings are always interesting, once Brady starts telling stories about what his parents do for a living.”
C901: What would you tell someone considering moving to or staying in Memphis?
Starr: “I would simply say – DO IT!  Memphis is a great place to live – we LOVE it! I spent a year in Tampa, FL working for WWE. Nobody loves the beach more than I do, however, I couldn’t wait to get back to home to Memphis. When I hear negative stuff regarding Memphis, I immediately ask questions. Do you go to our festivals and events? Do you go to FedExForum and watch our Memphis Grizzlies? Have you been to Autozone Park? No city is fun if you’re sitting at home! Parks, museums, best food in the world – Memphis has it all.”
C901:How has Memphis uniquely offered opportunities for you? 
Starr: “Memphis has offered so many unique opportunities over the years – I am very grateful. Of course, emceeing for the Memphis Grizzlies is certainly a highlight for me. But it all really started as a five-year-old kid watching Memphis Wrestling. I knew that was what I wanted to do. No questions asked – I was going to be a pro wrestler. Not only did I achieve my goal of wrestling on the same TV show I grew up watching in Memphis, but I also performed inside Mid-South Coliseum. Signing exclusively with WWE was bucket list for me.
We are also very involved in living a healthy lifestyle, something that isn’t always easy with all the delicious food in Memphis. I was able to compete on behalf of Memphis, TN in the NPC Tennessee State Bodybuilding Championships in 2012 & 2013. I won the Mr. Tennessee Men’s Physique Overall Championship both years and currently am the only back-to-back winner of that contest. Of course, my trainer was former WWE & Memphis Wrestling mainstay Del Rios – who wrestled as The Spellbinder. Along the way, Maria and I even signed as Team USPlabs Athletes.”
C901: What are some of you favorite things about memphis? 
Starr: “Oh boy – we have the best food in the entire world! I’m not just talking about BBQ – we have some great burgers too!  Although I’m constantly watching my diet, I love taking part in all the excellent food Memphis has to offer. Kooky Canuck has always been one of our absolute favorites in Memphis. Huey’s makes a mean burger, as well.”

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