It wasn't a question of whether I would get Chris Jericho’s next book. After reading his first one, A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex, I patiently waited for his next book to come out. And it was evident that another book was in the horizon after the way he ended it. That first book covered everything before his WWE career, and it was a very fascinating read. So when Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps finally arrived, I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it.
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Undisputed picks up exactly where A Lion’s Tale left off. It was that memorable moment when Jericho interrupts one of the Rock’s segment that resulted in one of the best debuts. While I remember that debut from years ago, it’s great to see what was going on in Jericho’s head at the time. He was hoping for that fresh new start in the WWE but the Jericho curse strikes again. In the first few weeks he generated a lot of heat on himself from the boys in the locker room. As he states, he wasn’t prepared to do things the WWE way. In fact he thought the way to do business was all the same. As a result Jericho received a rude awakening and found himself on the WWE’s periphery. But as a student of life and one that is adaptable to change, Jericho finally manage to find his footing with the company.
Undisputed still has Jericho’s wry sense of humour, which is part of its charm, but there is also a shift in the tone. It has the feel of someone who has been down this road many times over. This is why the book switches back and forth between his wrestling career and his newfound rock star fame with Fozzy. This is where the disconnect comes. While it is true that many tune in to read about Jericho’s wrestling career, that’s not the same with his outside interests. I can see how this becomes a distraction for many not prepared for this but one needs to realize that this isn’t just about the man’s wrestling career... it’s about his entire life. That means things that happen outside the ring is just as important because it influences his decisions about his career.
An important chapter focuses on Chris Benoit’s death. While it doesn’t offer any new information about the incident, it does describe how it affected him. Benoit was more than just a co-worker, he was a friend. It’s understandable that the incident really shook Jericho to the core because it’s something he cannot comprehend.
Throughout it all, I felt that Jericho’s creativity never died out at all. He’s a man that will take on a new challenge just because it is there in front of him. He also changed a lot when he got married and started a family. This is extremely evident in how he deals with his business especially with Vince McMahon. Having that solid foundation to fall back on helps make a huge difference.
Undisputed is a compelling read. A bit of the mystique is diminished just because there’s a certain expectation when it comes to a book penned by Chris Jericho. He still doesn’t disappoint. The man has an uncanny way of presenting compelling stories and drawing the reader into his world. I’m lucky I was able to see him in person at a book signing for Undisputed. It just makes what I hold in my hands even more special. The funny thing is that I know that this isn’t the end of his tale. He just set up the ending to guarantee that fans clamour for more.
Format: Hardcover, 425pp
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: February 2011
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This is part of my 2012 Canadiana Write-Off. Join until the end of July.
CANADIAN FACT: Chris Jericho was raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba and trained in Calgary, Alberta by the Hart brothers.
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