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

Jericho 2005

****

If there’s one thing you can say about Chris Jericho, it’s that he is an entertainer.

Wrestling fans are pretty easy to please when it comes to autobiographies. As long as you’re writing about the business, backstage politics, in-ring situations, etc. we’re usually happy. But we also typically want to read about things that we already know something about, which is why it was mighty impressive that Chris Jericho’s first book Around the World in Spandex was as good and well-received as it was, reaching its end just as it reached its climax with Y2J’s debut into the WWF in 1999.

Undisputed picks up right where the last book left off, and Jericho’s storytelling doesn’t miss a beat. This book will likely appeal more to Jericho’s more casual fans, or just vanilla WWE fans in general, because his initial run in the company from 1999 to 2005 is mainly what he covers in this lengthy tome. But, as expected, Jericho also talks about the founding of his band Fozzy and some of the escapades that he and his bandmates got into during their formative years as a cover band, and how they made the transition to becoming a real band with original songs. This is where I expected the book to drag, as Fozzy, while they do have some standout tracks, are for the most part a pretty horrible band unless you’re a total headbanger with little care what it is you’re banging your head to, but Jericho makes the formation of his band sound like the most exciting debut of all time. It’s fun to read about not only his backstage dealings with Vince McMahon and Triple H, but learning about Wise Cousin Chad (a bit of a living legend in the annals of Jericho’s podcast Talk is Jericho) and the birth of Ash the Fish Expert are also quite amusing and, at times, touching. It’s these emotionally stirring moments, especially when Jericho broaches the subject of death, that he shines the most as a storyteller.

Though it is possibly a bit overlong, Undisputed reads well and is even more memorable, I would argue, than Jericho’s first book, not necessarily because it is better written, but because it covers more ground that is well-known to more people. It isn’t perfect, and Jericho’s humor doesn’t always hit, but as a whole the book is well worth the read for any Jericho fan or fan of WWE in general.

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