I thought "A Lion's Tale" was a phenomenal book. I enjoyed his perspectives breaking into the business in Canada and paying his dues in SMW, Mexico, Germany and Japan. If he published a detailed four-volume account of those stops by themselves I'd buy them in a heartbeat. He's definitely got a natural literary charisma and that book allowed the reader to grow with Jericho as he progressed personally and professionally. I finished "A Lion's Tale" in 2 days and I could not put it down.
(As circumstance would have it, after "Tale" I read Foley's "Hardcore Diaries" which was an absolute abortion of a book. When it was on-topic about wrestling, I found it to be almost engaging enough to keep my interest. But I'd guess less than 40% of the pages had anything to do with wrestling and it frequently meandered off course to the point where I just didn't care anymore. The reader goes so far sideways that you feel like you've walked mile but only gone forward a few feet because of all of the off-topic side roads Foley traverses. There were several instances in "Diaries" where I wondered aloud if Raven had kidnapped the editor assigned to this book and if Foley just directly published his hand-written notes. Yeesh, was that bad.)
Coming into "Undisputed" I had high hopes that going back to what I hoped was a continuation of Jericho's story would wash the taste of "Diaries" out of my mouth and let me grow again with Jericho beginning with his spectacular Chicago entrance. I'm about half-way through it after two weeks and I'm having trouble finding the motivation to finish it as it suffers from many of the problems that kill Foley's "Diaries". Being halfway done, my thoughts are similar to some of the other W's:
1. The WWE-related material is very good. Jericho is at his best when he's weaving his personal yarn about his in-ring experiences and the backstage happenings. Getting to be a passenger inside his head and experiencing his highs and lows is a rare glimpse of the worlds blocked by the fourth wall.
2. As others have mentioned, the book goes off course with all his accounts of Fozzy. I suspect the Venn diagram of his fanbase has a large circle of wrestling fans, a small circle of music fans, and a much smaller area of overlap than he positions this book for. I understand his music is important to who he is and his outlook on life. I enjoy a few "played music/got drunk/smashed glassware/shagged chicks" stories as much as the next guy, but the whole Fozzy experience could have been summed up in a well written chapter or two and not interwoven throughout the book. Fozzy's struggles with record labels? Do not care. The dynamic between the guys in the band? Do not care. Getting to meet someone famous? Do not care. Like Shapiro said so eloquently in his review: "I get that Fozzy is an important part of his life, but any time there was a chapter about them or getting drunk and meeting some famous person I'd be like "goddamnit, write about your feud with Rhyno." I could not agree more. There is way, way too much Fozzy in this book and it really kills the momentum he built up in "Undisputed". When I see the words "Fozzy", I just skip pages until I start seeing wrestling words again. Similar to "Diaries", there are way too many Foley-esque detours into things I (and I think the majority of his readers) won't really care about. I'm willing to engage an author a few dalliances into niche topics that are important to the author but won't appeal to the masses but Jericho is taking liberties with my tolerance and patience in this book.
3. Similar to Foley's running jokes about Test and Al Snow, I'm finding his reliance on "froot" to be completely oversold. Its almost as if someone told him that he needed a running gag as a literary device, but I'm finding it A) forced, B) not that funny, and worst of all C) stale already at the halfway point.
4. I find myself pining for another straightforward memoir of his days in the wrestling business as the continuation of "Tale". So far this book is glancing off that target and is unsatisfying in that it is not playing to his strengths nor is it satisfying what I, the reader, want. If his third book is more like "Tale", I'll buy it and devour it. If it completes the full turn into "Diaries" territory, it is not worth the time, money, or aggravation.
Originally posted by CRZ So... I could just delete it and ruin your hour of typing, or I could hide the offensive part.
I feel that deletion would be the rest of the community's loss. This might be the best thing I've read on the Internet all year.
This comment says a lot about YOU!
(I will concede that it is well CRAFTED.)
Thank you both! Thanks for not deleting it; I hate writing and tried really hard to come up with a good review of the book signing.
It's 99% real. I swear. If you read it without logging in, it's pretty much a true story.
And the only reason the hidden part isn't true is because I didn't buy the copies of the book yet before lining up like I was supposed to and didn't want to steal $60 of Chris Jericho's money. Otherwise, I could have just grabbed my shit and bailed out of there before anyone got me.
Favorite part of the Book: Jericho talking about Scott Hall returning to the WWE, meeting the Dudleyz, complimenting them on how much of a killer finish they have, and then proclaiming he can't wait to kick out of it.
Disturbing mental image of the night: Jerry Lawler goads JR into mentioning that his wife used to dress up in a French Maid's outfit while he was down with Bell's Palsey. Which, of course, led to this horrifying imagery: