An Undisputed Great Read – Andy Burns on Chris Jericho’s New Memoir

He is the Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah. Your party host for the new millenium. The best in the world at what he does. Now he’s the New York Times bestselling author of two nonfiction memoirs.

His name is Chris Jericho.
Even if you’re not a wrestling fan, you probably recognize Jericho (born Chris Irvine, son of former New York Ranger Ted Irvine). He’s appeared on various VH-1 countdown shows; he had a brief stint on Celebrity Duets (a bit obscure, that one) ; and is the frontman for the increasingly popular heavy metal band Fozzy. And when Chris Benoit committed the heinous acts of murdering his family back in 2007, it was the handsome and articulate Jericho who best represented the wrestling industry with appearance on Nancy Grace and Larry King. 

Following in the footsteps of 2007’s A Lion’s Tale, Chris Jericho recently released his second autobiography, Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps, which picks up exactly where the last book left off, with Jericho, newly arrived in World Wrestling Entertainment from rival company World Championship Wrestling, about to make his Monday Night Raw debut in a verbal sparing match against The Rock. Though Jericho writes of his disappointment with the segment, it remains one of the greatest debuts in the history of the industry. I remember staying up late at a friend’s house to watch Jericho’s arrival and believe me, it was a hugely exciting moment and one that sends still gives me goosebumps when I watch it.  

Reading Undisputed, it becomes clear that the excitement of Jericho’s debut tapered off pretty quickly and left the wrestler in the position of finding his footing in a brand new environment. Jericho reveals how he managed to rub locker room leaders like The Rock, Triple H and The Undertaker (not to mention WWE owner Vince McMahon) the wrong way almost immediately and he honestly depicts the backstage politics he had to deal with in establishing himself one more time. Throughout the book, we see that while Chris Jericho could be a handful and opinionated personality, he was also more than willing to work with the younger wrestlers and was always looking to steal whatever show he was on.

Chris Jericho’s voice is as entertaining as a writer as it is as a live performer. A pop culture enthusiast, he colours his stories in Undisputed with all sorts of references that, if you’re on his wavelength, will have you genuinely laughing outloud (Y2J, I especially enjoyed the Vinnie Vincent lick it up line). Jericho has the innate talent to take his work seriously, but not himself. He writes self-deprecatingly of his drunken antics, his onstage hits and missed as a rock and roll frontman and of his run-ins with his own list of heroes, including Iron Maiden guitarist Adrian Smith, Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also doesn’t shy away from dealing with matters outside of the ring or Hollywood, such as the death of his mother, life as a father and the shocking actions of his close friend Chris Benoit.

Undisputed gives fans a look into the inner workings of one of greatest minds professional wrestling has ever seen. For anyone interested in the industry and what it takes to make it inside and out of the ring, Chris Jericho’s latest is a must read.

Now the wait is on for book three.

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