When we look back at the best in-ring competitors of the past ten years, you can’t go past Chris Jericho as a front runner -- now the talented pro wrestler and self proclaimed rock star tells all in his second autobiography entitled ‘Undisputed: How to become World Champion in 1,372 easy steps’.
Chris first put his brilliance to paper in his first book entitled ‘A Lions Tale: Around The World In Spandex’ which got raging reviews and left readers wanting more.
Being a “Jerichoholic” since I first spotted him on Nitro when he was “Lionheart” I was quick to pick up the first installment of the Jericho series and I wasn’t disappointed.
In the 48 hours that followed I skipped school and sleep to read of his life, from his days as a fan to competing in Japan, Mexico, Madagascar and every other place that had a four sided ring.
‘Undisputed’ begins right where he left off, his highly anticipated WWE debut interrupting The Rock during his promo which to this day is remembered amongst fans as one of the best segments in the history of WWE programming.
As wrestling fans, we have a tendency to look back on the past with rose tinted glasses -- Ask any mid-90’s wrestling fan about ECW and you’ll know where I’m coming from.
Hell, give it ten years and everyone will be saying that Anonymous General Manager idea was so cutting edge.
Jericho’s early WWE run was no different, I looked back at his initial stint in the company to be thoroughly entertaining but reading it back from his highly critical perspective made me second guess it.
The beginning of the book was in my opinion the best part of the novel -- Jericho speaks of adapting to the WWE following several years working for WCW.
In WWE you have to work the “WWE style” which he wasn’t accustom to, in addition he was playing his childish, cowardly heel persona he played in WCW which didn’t fly for WWE as one of the top heels in their company.
In addition, Jericho deals with the WWE creative team who send him a list of potential names for his finishing move which would later be known as the Walls of Jericho which include The Embarrasor, The Millenium Crash, Big finish, Y-2-3, Jeri-KO-er, Jericho Shut Down & Whammer Jammer -- he includes the picture of the official page the team sent him, google it and you’ll probably find it.
One of the highlights of the book is his rocky relationship with WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon. Jericho is at stages praised by his boss for his actions inside his ring and at other times, he gets eaten alive by the big man.
“You don’t have a fucking clue what you’re doing out there. You’re as green as grass and it’s embarrassing. I was sold a bill of goods bringing you in here and you’re not worth the paper your contracts printed on” - Vincent Kennedy McMahon.
Jericho speaks of his feuds along the way and the people who really helped him in the beginning of his run in the company where he has very few supporters.
But as we all know, professional wrestling is only a part of what he does -- he also covers his time touring with Fozzy.
For those of you unaware, Fozzy were initially some guys who got together and played some covers for a Canadian audience and they called themselves Fozzy Osbourne, an obvious play off of the immortal god of heavy metal.
A record label caught on to the idea and wanted them to do more, they began purely as a cover band and today have branched into becoming a pretty damn good metal band.
Jericho speaks of their best and worst gigs touring the world from Skinhead bars to sold out festivals, Fozzy always put on a show.
I haven’t read any other reviews, but I can see a lot of people criticizing such a large emphasis being on his musical career.
Personally, despite growing up in the 90’s I always listened to 80’s thrash metal adoring the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Anthrax & Slayer who are also amongst his favorites so I could relate to his stories a lot more.
Several chapters of the book are dedicated to his attempt at being an actor -- Chris speaks of his various acting gigs he did but none of them really took off.
However, it’s not all fun and games throughout the book with him touching on some pretty deep issues.
First up is the death of his mother, Chris tells of her deteriorating health after being paralyzed and how eventually she didn’t recognize who he was, it’s quite a sad tale how he tells stories of his mother growing up and how it was all taken away from him.
Also, the death of Eddy Guerrero -- I remember the day I heard the news of Eddy and it crushed me and I had never met the man, so I can only imagine what it was like for those close to him.
Chris tells stories Eddy and the last times they saw one another and reflects upon the man he remembers him as.
And last but not least, he dedicates an entire chapter to the passing of his long time friend, Chris Benoit.
Now we all know the story, let’s not turn this into a debate about whether he was a monster or not. In all honesty, I really expected this to be a chapter of him defending his friend and saying what a great man he was.
And don’t get me wrong he does do that, but he also speaks of what he did and how he can never truly forgive Chris for his actions.
Jericho tells of the days after the news broke of what really happened inside his home and really, he was like all of us -- trolling the news sites, searching for answers.
I remember the time well, it seemed like the whole wrestling world stood still while everyone debated whether they loved or hated this man who despite being one of the best performer we had ever seen murdered his wife and child before cowardly taking his own life, it even resulted in a mellow, calm edition of Tha O Show [who saw that coming?]
The only real criticisms I have of 'Undisputed' is the over-emphasis of his work with Fozzy, although that's a big part of his career I thought his WWE life is what the majority of people brought the book for and the Fozzy related chapters could have been cut down.
Also, if you're not a fan of 80's heavy metal a majority of the jokes and puns put forward by Jericho will probably go right over your head.
Through the highs and the lows, Chris speaks of this portion of his life in great depth. He had high expectations to live up to following what many considered the best wrestling related book ever released but he certainly lived up to it.
Personally, I think I enjoyed ‘A Lions Tale’ a little more but still, one of the best reads I have ever had.
Anyway, enough of this -- off to find a way to travel into the not so distant future to read the third book.