How to Become The World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps
Chris Jericho (with Peter Thomas Fornatale)
Synopsis: The sequel to Jericho's first book, covering the duration of his initial WWF/E run.
I wasn't sure exactly what he wanted to talk to me about, but I was pretty certain he was going to congratulate me for stealing the show with Chyna the night before. The more I thought about the match, the more I liked it, and I was excited to hear his feedback. Was I finally going to get some prizzops from my bizzoss?
I knocked on the door and walked in to find him talking to HHH. They gave me a strange look (similar to the one HHH and Chyna had given me the day before) and Vince asked me to come back in a few minutes. This time HHH was gone and Vince was with Jim Ross, the head of talent relations, and Jack Lanza. He told me to shut the door and take a seat, and surprisingly, he didn't look happy. As a matter of fact, he looked downright pissed.
My expectations of praise were quickly shot down by feelings of dread - this wasn't gonna be good.
Vince looked me in the eye and said "What is your problem?"
"What the f*ck is your problem?"
Uh-oh. My normally calm and collected boss was now swearing at me.
"I'm sorry. I don't understand."
"What did you to Chyna yesterday, huh? You gave her a black eye. You were stiffing the shit out of her. How could you do that?"
Caught off guard, I tried to defend myself. "It wasn't intentional, Vince. It's just part of the job sometimes. You know that."
Vince's eyes bugged out and the veins in his neck pulsated as he said in a gravelly voice. "How could you do that, man? She's a woman!!"
When last we left Chris Jericho in his first book A Lion's Tale: Around The World In Spandex, our hero and savior was seconds away from debuting in the World Wrestling Federation -- his dream job and the key to his happiness.
Or so he thought....
While Jericho's start in the WWF was pretty much universally loved (I still mark out watching Jericho's Monday Night Raw debut in Chicago, where he interrupts a promo by The Rock), Y2J was his own biggest critic. Most people would have never known he had "heat" backstage with Triple H and others if not for the publication of this book.
Even more surprising, Jericho struggled for most of his first year , falling out of favor with the likes of Vince McMahon and DX over alleged cockiness and his inability to adapt to "WWE Style." Obviously, he eventually won over the respect of his peers, but reading about the journey is one of the true highlights of this book.
Because Undisputed is not a WWE-published book, Jericho can talk about a wide variety of subjects he may not be allowed to elsewhere. In addition to his criticism of some of McMahon's decisions, he also talks about his true feelings on Chris Benoit and possible explanations for his violent demise. Unlike many people that claim to know what Benoit was thinking -- Jericho makes clear he's only guessing. And this is someone who knew him better than most.
What I like about Jericho's criticisms is that they're mostly constructive. So if he points out issues he had with Triple H, they're balanced with the positives of working a match with him. And even with Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Eric Bischoff and Bret Hart -- names that are routinely met with alternate praise and scorn in wrestling books -- there's more good than bad.
Other areas covered in the wrestling portion of Undisputed include Jericho's thoughts on his first World Title reign, working with The Rock, problems during the first Elimination Chamber, a scandalous trip to India, and his infamous backstage brawl with Bill Goldberg.
On top of that.... Jericho goes into great detail about his band Fozzy and the trials and tribulations they go through while trying to "make it" as a rock act. It's interesting because there are definitely parallels between Jericho moving from country to country and improving his craft as a wrestler... and having to do pretty much the same thing all over again with Fozzy.
Much like in A Lion's Tale, Jericho's natural sense of humor and passion come leaping through the book. I laughed out loud at the stories of Mr. Hughes falling asleep while being Y2J's bodyguard at ringside, multiple references to his previous biography (available in fine bookstores everywhere) and how he and a group of grapplers had to "fight off" the advances of a room full of Asian hookers. And when I say "hookers", I don't mean of the Lou Thesz variety....
In addition, Jericho returns to the things that make him human and not a larger than life living legend (despite his short-lived nickname of the same). He talks about his mother's death; his search for the man who paralyzed her; the chance to play a charity hockey game against his father (former New York Ranger Ted Irvine); becoming a father for the first time.... and lots in between. It's nice sometimes to read about more than what happens on the road.
Rating: The Best There Was, The Best There Is, The Best There Ever Will Be. This is one case where the sequel surpasses the original, particularly for someone that has closely followed Jericho's entire WWF/E career.