Thursday, February 17, 2011

Still undefeated against Foley

UndisputedUndisputed by Chris Jericho

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It was fitting that Mick Foley wrote the foreword to Chris Jericho's memoir, UNDISPUTED: HOW TO BECOME THE WORLD CHAMPION IN 1,372 EASY STEPS, and passed the torch to Jericho as the new champion of wrestling books. Jericho uses the formula that made Foley's books so successful, creating a personal connection with his readers with his openness and wit, and in the process does it even better than the long-reigning king of wrestling authors.

Unlike his autobiography A LION'S TALE: AROUND THE WORLD IN SPANDEX, Jericho's new book UNDISPUTED is a memoir, chronicling his journey through WWE as he becomes one of the biggest stars in the wrestling business while he battles to be taken seriously as a musician and actor. The book is an intriguing look inside all three forms of entertainment and shows how his success in one venue often serves as a hindrance in the others. His metal band, Fozzy, struggles to break away from its reputation of a gimmick act and becomes a legitimate band that headlines sold-out events in some places and flops in others. HIs acting career seems doomed before it starts, as the black cloud of wrestling superstardom lurks over his head while he tries to catch a break as a "real" actor.

UNDISPUTED is entertaining cover-to-cover and, although I expected to skim over his adventures in music and Hollywood, those tales prove to be every bit as captivating as the wrestling. But there is plenty of wrestling in UNDISPUTED, offering readers an peek behind the curtain from his highly anticipated and disappointing start in WWE to his reign as the first-ever Undisputed Heavyweight Champion then back into mid-card purgatory. He details the political forces that worked against him, his backstage fight with the feared Goldberg, the heartbreaking loss of his close friend Eddie Guerrero, and the senseless Benoit family tragedy.

A LION'S TALE came close to unseating Foley's HAVE A NICE DAY: A TALE OF BLOOD AND SWEATSOCKS as the greatest wrestling book of all time; I'd call it a draw. UNDISPUTED surpasses them both and now reigns as the new king of the wrestling genre.

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