It’s time for another edition of “The Eye Gouge”. This time out I’m going to review Chris Jericho’s latest biography “Undisputed: How to become the World Champion in 1372 Easy Steps”. For those who are reading this column for the first time the gimmick here is pretty simple as we rate books on a scale of 0 to 5 Eye Gouges with the idea being that 5 is the worse score you can get. So no more small talk, let’s get into it.
At first I had hesitations regarding this book as sequels never rise to the expectations of being as good or better than the original, plus I was a bit disappointed to see that Chris Jericho didn’t work on this book alone and I feared that maybe the style of the book would be a bit different with the added input of Peter Thomas Fortunale. It pleases me to say that my hesitations were unwarranted as I really enjoyed this book more than any other I have read in some time. Chris Jericho pulls no punches in this book as he pretty much gives the reader an up close and personal look at his time debuting in WWE right up to where the book ends with his last return. Jericho’s first book was compared by many to Mick Foley’s initial book “Have a Nice Day” but I have to say Chris Jericho has triumphed Mick Foley in terms of knowing how to properly follow up with a sequel as “Undisputed” is extremely better than any of Foley’s 3 sequels to “Have a Nice Day”.
Readers will be surprised to read about how Chris Jericho’s initial promo against the Rock was considered a disappointment by WWE writers (the same promo that fans for years praised and even WWE in its “Top 10” WWE Classics on Demand feature was considered the best debut in WWE history) and how it hampered him early on in WWE. Jericho get’s in depth with his feelings on working with Chyna and why him and HHH didn’t get along early on in his WWE tenure (to tell you the truth he leaves things in a way that pretty much lets you know that they are not exactly 100% chummy now which is not really a surprise to anyone who is reading this but still something you wouldn’t expect a talent to write about) which led to him having to have his matches approved by X Pac at one point. Some readers may be disgusted to hear how Vince McMahon once reamed out Jericho and told him he was “green” and “couldn’t work” and hear how close Jericho was at times to quitting and how much closer he thought he was at other times to being fired in his early days with WWE.
I even found some of his tales about the growth of Fozzy to be entertaining which is saying something because one of the things I always hated about the Foley books is the non wrestling stories. Jericho manages to take stories involving Fozzy and other non wrestling ventures and keep the reader entertained. One particular favorite is involving him and recording artist Pink that I think would give any reader a chuckle.
Of course there is several mentions of Chris Benoit throughout the book as even Jericho himself recounts some off behavior about Benoit including the fact that despite being one of his closest friends Benoit never RSVP’ed to his wedding nor offer any explanations as to why. He seems sad about the omission of Benoit in wrestling history as on several occasions he references Benoit matches by saying them “technically don’t exist” due to WWE’s refusal to show them. It should be stated that while he comes across sad he doesn’t necessarily bash that decision as he definitely understands it. I felt reading the book as he was just genuinely sad, confused and frustrated about his inability to help someone who he looked at as a family member and such a role model for him out through what turned out to be the most difficult time of his life.
One of the things that I really enjoyed about this book is the no hold barred look at the way WWE is run. Far too often wrestling fans, insiders, etc. think they have an understanding about the way things go but this book shows you that there is just no fathomable way that’s possible as the reason for some things happening such as pushes and depushes tend to make no sense. There are other things such as the way ideas are presented and even the way talents are informed of decisions. Could you believe Jericho didn’t know he was winning the undisputed championship until the very night of the show? Meanwhile it seemed everyone else under the sun knew for weeks. Jericho is unabashed at his opinion on everything in WWE and doesn’t hold back when discussing how he feels his run as undisputed champion was horribly done and what he wanted to happen.
I wish I could say more but I would much rather have you all go out and read this book if you haven’t already as it is definitely a must read. I gave this book no gouges because in all honesty I didn’t find a single thing wrong with it and at this point I just want to see a third book. So that’s it for this review until next time, I am out.