Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Canon Book Review: Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps

Last week, I picked up Dancing With the Stars contestant Chris Jericho's second book, Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps. Jericho's first autobiography, A Lion's Tale, is regarded as one of the best wrestling books ever written (I'd say it's the best, but that's just my opinion), and many people were eagerly waiting for his second book to drop. Undisputed picks up where A Lion Tale's ends, with Jericho making his debut promo for the WWF in 1999. From there, Jericho details his first run in the WWE, as well as the trials and tribulations of making it in the music business with his band Fozzy and his foray into acting.

While Jericho came into the WWE with a lot of fanfare, things didn't go to well for Y2J when he first arrived. Jericho details the struggles he had with adapting to the WWE style and the politics of the WWE locker room. Jericho also had a feud with Chyna that wasn't exactly a career highlight for him, and even got vehemently berated by Vince McMahon, who said that Jericho wasn't worth the paper his contract was written on. Eventually, Jericho would adapt and become one of the biggest superstars in the industry. In Undisputed, Jericho details some of the classic matches he had with superstars such as Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit, The Rock, John Cena, Hulk Hogan, and Triple-H, among others. Jericho also delves into the backstage shenanigans of the WWE locker room, including his complicated relationship with WWE head Vince McMahon and his backstage fight with Goldberg in 2003 (in which Goldberg comes across as a bit of a wimp).

The other part of the book is about Jericho's metal band, Fozzy, which actually started out as a joke before rising to semi-prominence in the world of heavy metal. Fozzy's evolution from a gimmicky cover band to a legitimate metal band with their own material is covered in great length in Undisputed. In many ways, Fozzy's tribulations are quite similar to the same problems that Jericho had when he first became a wrestler, as Fozzy would sometimes play a gig in front of sparse audiences that didn't exactly have the warmest reception for Fozzy. But Fozzy did have their share of highlights, including stealing the show in front of 25,000 people at a metal festival in Germany and opening for such bands as Motorhead. I've heard some criticism over all the focus on his music career instead of his wrestling career in this book, but personally I found all the tales of Fozzy and the music industry quite entertaining, and it didn't take away from the book at all.

Readers of A Lion's Tale will know that Jericho has a great sense of humor, and that humor is on full display here in Undisputed. There are many, many instances where I laughed at some of the crazy stories presented here in this book, and it helps that Jericho is not someone who takes themselves seriously. Also, much like his fellow wrestler Mick Foley (who has never beaten Jericho in a wrestling match, as Jericho points out many times in this book), Jericho is not afraid to drop a name or two, and the book details all sorts of celebrity encounters Jericho had. From meeting big-time stars such as Wayne Gretzky (who called him Jeff Jericho) and Bruce Willis, to talking about ring ropes with Jon Lovitz and punching former pitcher Scott Erickson in the face, Jericho recounts each of these encounters with a sense of amusement. Jericho's attempts to break into Hollywood are also recounted here, including his appearance as a contestant of Celebrity Duets, where he was the first voted off. Hopefully, that's not an omen for his upcoming Dancing with the Stars stint.

While most of the book is filled with humor, Jericho also delves into some of the personal struggles he's gone through over the years, including his drunk driving arrest and the deaths of his mom and his close personal friends Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit. Jericho devotes an entire chapter to his mother in the book and it's a very poignant part of the book. He also devotes an entire chapter to the Benoit murder-suicide and how he dealt with the feelings of such a shocking event. While Jericho was one of Benoit's best friends and a man who considered Benoit a mentor, he also paints a realistic picture of Chris Benoit the man, who was a little eccentric at best. It's a very interesting and revealing look at the feelings Jericho was dealing with after the unspeakable tragedy committed by one of his best friends.

Overall, Undisputed is a worthy successor to A Lion's Tale and will probably go down as one of the best wrestling autobiographies out there along with Foley's Have A Nice Day and Bret Hart's Hitman: A Life in Tights. If you are a fan of wrestling and looking for something to read, I suggest you pick up this book as soon as possible. I'd give it a 9.25 out of 10. Well, thanks for reading, and if you any ideas for future posts, or thoughts about this post, than either leave a comment on the blog or send them to me at e-mail at KtheC2001@gmail.com.

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