Chris Jericho – The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea

chris-jericho-heel

****1/2

It’s a testament to not only Chris Jericho’s abilities as a storyteller, but also the intrigue of his life, that he’s managed to write three self-reflective books that have not only remained interesting, they’ve continually gotten better. True to form, The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea is Jericho’s best work yet, inducing the kind of can’t-put-it-down addiction as all of the best books in the world tend to do.

The non-wrestling stories are better than ever; now that Jericho’s band Fozzy is more serious and respected in the world of Heavy Metal, he doesn’t have to admire his heroes like James Hetfield from Metallica and Slash from Guns N’ Roses at a distance, he now counts them among his friends. Wise Cousin Chad (one of my personal favorites from Jericho’s inner circle) is as amusing as ever, and reading about Jericho getting ribbed by his buddies who trick him into believing they got in big with George Clooney without him is hilarious. And, of course, the WWE stories are back with a vengeance and better than ever, as they chronicle Jericho’s best run with the company including his brilliant heel turn and subsequent feud with Shawn Michaels in 2008, his rivalry with Rey Mysterio in 2009, his Tag Team Championship run with The Big Show, the burial of The Nexus, and even what it’s really like to fly into a real-life war zone in order to entertain American soliders as a part of WWE’s annual Tribute to the Troops specials (where Ron Simmons steals the show).

In addition to the usual topics, Jericho branches out to appearing on failed game shows like ABC’s Downfall, and highly successful television franchises like Dancing with the Stars (where he doesn’t do half bad). He even impresses John Mayer with his performance on the critically panned but subculturally adored comedy MacGruber. There aren’t any emotionally hard-hitting moments like there were in Undisputed which featured the death of his mom, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, but The Best in the World flows much better than his past work, and of his three books, is the most recommendable. After the piles of shit Jericho often found himself in over the course of Undisputed (getting yelled at by McMahon, being the frontman of a band that hadn’t quite lived up to their potential, and overall not being as successful and respected in his chosen fields as he could’ve been), The Best in the World reads like the uprising of the Jericho, as he earns the respect of his peers through hard work, determination, and a lust for life that he seemed to lack previously. When I reached the end of Undisputed, I thought Jericho came off as a good guy that tended to have some run-ins with bad luck. When I reached the end of The Best in the World, it felt like it must be exciting to be Chris Jericho. The excitement is infectious.

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