A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex by Chris Jericho
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A Lion's Tale is the biography of wrestler Chris Jericho, going from childhood to his moments right before walking through the curtain in his WWF debut.
Right off, this is the most entertaining wrestling book I've ever read. More entertaining than Foley's two books, more entertaining even than Terry Funk's book. Chris Jericho isn't afraid to poke fun at himself or throw in pop culture references. I laughed out loud a few times at his wordplay.
The book itself is a quick read and should be used as the template for most wrestling books. The pre-wrestling stuff doesn't take up much room and the rest is packed with road stories. Chris's journey takes him from wrestling in front of a handful of people in tiny Canadian towns to Mexico, the Smokey mountains, Europe, Japan, ECW, and finally WCW.
Unlike a lot of wrestling books, Chris doesn't toot his own horn constantly. In fact, he's not afraid to reveal some things that make him look like kind of a dork. Like not losing his virginity until he was 20, saying dumb things when meeting other wrestlers, or soiling himself after drinking the water in Mexico. He also admits he's had his share of bad matches, like the Super Liger debacle.
Jericho spends as much time talking about what happens behind the curtain as he does about the matches, making for an entertaining book. He talks about going out drinking, the difficulties of adjusting to working Japan, and hanging with guys like Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero.
Once he gets to WCW, he focuses on what a disorganized mess the company was and who were jerks backstage, though after reading several other biographies from the same time period, I already knew who they were.
If you're a wrestling fan and only want to buy one wrestling book, you could do a lot worse than this one. 4.5 out of 5. Good thing I have Jericho's second book on deck.
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