Undisputed: Reviewing Chris Jericho's Latest Book

Josh McCainSenior Writer IFebruary 28, 2011

This past January, former WWE Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho released his second autobiography entitled Undisputed: How to Become The World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps.  The number of easy steps correspond with the number of matches it took Y2J to become the WWE Undisputed Champion.

The book picks up where his previous book A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex (which Jericho reminds the reader that it's available at Amazon.com) leaves off—when Jericho has his big WWE debut, interrupting the Rock on Monday Night Raw.

No doubt this was huge debut for Jericho. As he explains in his book, however, the character of Chris Jericho was so believable that the other superstars backstage actually thought that Y2J believed everything he said about being he was better than the likes of the Rock or the Undertaker (who he called boring in his second promo).

In the first few chapters, Jericho explains some backstage politics that caused his tremendous debut with the Rock and Undertaker to be sullied with little television time after that, and then he went on to feuding with Chyna and sharing the Intercontinental title with her.

Jericho shares that his first conversation with his idol Shawn Michaels was friendly, although Michaels did call him out.  

"The Next time you cut a promo, maybe you want to avoid calling the biggest star in the company and leader of the locker room boring," advised Michaels.

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If I can side-track for a second, I pleasantly await the autobiography of the Undertaker.  I've read several WWE books and no matter who the author is, be it Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, or even Y2J, they've expressed the larger-than-life status of the Undertaker amongst the other WWE superstars.

With the Undertaker being viewed as a mentor to all these greats, he must have some pretty damn good stories to tell.  Side-track over, now back to the review.

At this point in the book, Jericho has two friends: Vince Russo, former WWE writer who was a major force in convincing Vince McMahon to sign Jericho, and the Rock, who had a similar rocky beginning in the company and felt bad for Jericho.

Jericho answers fans' questions that have built up over the years, one of them being why did he change name of his finisher from the Lion Tamer to the Walls of Jericho.  That one is simple.  McMahon hated the name the Lion Tamer.

So the writers came up with a huge list of possible name changes: Salad-Shooter, Twist of Fate, Back to the Future, Rock and Roller, the Whamer Jammer, Jeri-KO-er, Figure Y2J Leglock and other ridiculous names.

Jericho, hating all of them, took matters into his own hands.  The Walls of Jericho wasn't his first idea, and some of the previous names were just as ridiculous—Power Slave, Buy Rate, Jericoil, Symbol of Salvation, and so on. 

Jericho also addresses the question of why the Walls looks more like a Boston Crab than the Lion Tamer, which had the opponent resting on their shoulders and neck.

My friends and I have always assumed that it was because the Lion Tamer was more painful to his opponents and the WWE wrestlers didn't appreciate the stiff move.  In reality, it was because Jericho wasn't wrestling cruiser weights anymore in the WWE.  He was wrestling guys like Kane and the Big Show, and they were simply too big for him to do the Lion Tamer.  So for continuity sake, he adjusted the Walls for everyone.

Speaking of stiff moves, Jericho got the reputation of being stiff.  In a match with Mick Foley, Mick let him know that a lot of his moves were stiff (meaning he actually hit him, hard) and while Mick could take it, a lot of the guys in the back wouldn't appreciate it.

Mick quickly became Jericho's third friend in the WWE and even wrote the forward for the book.  Jericho also reminds the reader whenever he mention Foley that Foley is 0-5 against him in WWE rings.

In the first several chapters of his book, Jericho tells us that being in the WCW as opposed to being in the WWE was a night and day difference.

The WCW at the time only cared about it's established stars like Hogan, Flair, Sting, and the n.W.o.  Bischoff didn't have time for the likes of lower card guys like Chris Jericho.  The only thing WCW did for the lower guys was tell them who would win the match.

Other than that, they were left to their own devices.  This is why Jericho did so many outlandish things in the WCW; he wanted to grab somebody's attention.  It didn't matter how much talent you had in the ring—if you weren't a name in the WCW, they weren't going to do much for you.

The WWE was different. No matter where a match was on the card, the WWE had agents working with the wrestlers for the flow of the match.  Agents like Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson helped shape Jericho's career and helped him adjust to the WWE style.

Patterson especially believed in Jericho, and Y2J believes without him he might not have been the star that he was in the WWE.

This book, however, isn't just about wrestling.  It's also about the rise of Jericho's band, Fozzy.  The cover band was originally called Fozzy Osborne.  As many wrestling fans remember, Fozzy performed on Raw and Jericho had taken the name Mongoose McQueen as his stage name.

There are times in the book where the stories of Fozzy are more interesting than his wrestling stories.  For me, it's because a lot of the wrestling stories I've heard before came from websites and other fans; the Fozzy stories are brand new to me.

It's also interesting to hear how humbly Jericho writes when referring to Fozzy.  In the early days of the band, he'd go from wrestling in sold-out crowds at Madison Square Garden to playing dive bars later that night with Fozzy.

It's interesting to read Jericho's passion for his music—no gig was too small for his band to play.  Which is very true since some gigs you could count the number of attendees on two hands.

Through Fozzy though, Jericho got to meet some of his metal heroes (like Ozzy Osborne and Zakk Wylde) and also Sharron Osborne, who scolded Zakk and Chris for playing baseball by the tour buses at Ozzfeast one year.

Other metal gods that Jericho became friendly with while touring with Fozzy are Sebastian Bach, Iron Maiden, and the illusive Axl Rose.

Fozzy would evolve from the cover band with fake names and wigs to an honest-to-god real band writing their own songs.

The book is also filled with non-wrestling and non-Fozzy stories like Jericho's marriage to his wife Jessica, the birth of his son Ash and twin daughters Cheyenne and Sierra.  The girls were born in Tampa Bay, prematurely, while Jericho was performing in a play in Toronto.

Jericho also writes about his mother (whom the book is dedicated to) and dealing with her in his adult life.  She was a quadriplegic, and even though Chris had to put in a lot of time for her care since he was 19, he loved her very much. 

Jericho dedicates a chapter to his mother's declining health and death.  Jericho writes it so vividly that the reader is immediately thrust into his shoes.  We all face mortality; while reading this chapter, I came to the realization that one day I too will have be at the hospital when one of my parents pass.  It was something that was very depressing but eye-opening to read.

Dear reader, you'll have to forgive me if I've given away too much of the book for you; I've never done a book review before.  But I promise you there is much more in the book than I've shared.

However, there is one last thing I want to touch on before leaving you with my final verdict.

Jericho speaks in great detail about his friend Chris Benoit.  These two weren't just casual friends; Jericho points out that Benoit was his best friend in the business.

Vince McMahon has gone to great length to erase the history of Chris Benoit.  Look up the 2004 Royal Rumble on the WWE website.

Go ahead, I'll wait. 

Back? Okay, well there is nothing there, is there? 

Apparently, there was no 2004 Royal Rumble champion.  Also, according to the WWE the main event for Wrestlemania XX was between Shawn Michaels and Triple H for the title. However, I find it a bit peculiar that neither of them left the arena with the title that night.  To quote the Hurricane, "What's up with that?"

Jericho confesses that Benoit was a weird dude.  He was weird, but he always straight forward, and Jericho emphasizes that Benoit loved his children more than anything.  In fact, he said most of his conversations with Benoit were about their kids and that they'd exchange pictures of each others' kids often.

When Jericho first heard about the Benoits' deaths his initial thought was the same as mine: carbon monoxide poisoning.  However, the more Jericho says the more he thought about it, the more his mind drifted towards the unthinkable—that Benoit had killed all of them.

Jericho, like many of us, watched the tribute to Benoit while surfing the internet for more information about the death. 

With each new update, he began to learn the terrible truth of his friend.  Like Jericho, I wonder just how someone could do something like that to their child. 

Chris says that he spent the rest of the evening watching his own child sleep and researching various things that might explain Benoit's actions.

In the end, Jericho decided that he can separate the Chris Benoit who was his best friend in the business and who was also the most loving and caring husband and father that he knew, from the monster that killed his wife and son and left two children with the unanswered questions.

Jericho said he'll always love the first Benoit and never forgive the second.

The book ends Spoiler Alert with Jericho's return to the WWE to "Save Us All" (remember that promo) and we all live happily ever after, or some junk.

For my review I have two scores for this book.  As a piece of literature for any person, be it wrestling fan, metal fan, or just someone who likes to read memoirs I give this book a solid 8.  

It's a very fun and easy read that feels more like Chris Jericho is sitting at the bar with you telling you some of his old war stories.

Not once was I bored with the book and not a single chapter was a choir to read.  And throughout the book I heard Jericho's voice talking to me, not my own voice reading it.

Now as a wrestling book it's an easy 10.  The only thing to compare it to is Mick Foley's books.  And like Foley said in his forward this book might even be better.

So if you're a Jericho fan, a wrestling fan, a metal fan, or just someone who knows how to read go pick this book up.  You won't regret the purchase, even though the cover price is a hefty $27.99. 

Thanks Barns and Noble for charging the full price on the day of his signing instead of the 20 percent off it had been the day before.  My wallet did feel a bit heavy that day.

For more wrestling stuff feel free to follow me on Twitter (@jomac006) or just check out my archives here on Bleacher Report.