Pro wrestler biographies became a genre unto themselves in the last decade. Some have risen to incredible heights, such as Mick Foley’s notable New York Times bestsellers, while many others take a quick trip to the bargain basement.
While Foley’s success could attribute to the wrestling boom of the late ’90s, he deserves a great deal of credit for writing an incredible biography. The same cannot be said for huge stars that did not do more than sit down for an extended interview with a ghostwriter.
Foley’s book was the wrestling world’s crowning achievement. Until now.
Chris Jericho is an international wrestling (and rock and roll) star who wrestled in Canada, Mexico and Japan, and for U.S. based organizations ECW, WCW and WWE. He was the first undisputed heavyweight champion in wrestling history. Jericho has done everything that can be done in the world of professional wrestling.
At this point, a biography on the Paragon of Virtue should be expected. A biography this good is an absolute reward to the Jericho faithful.
A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex is not classic literature, by any means, but it is 110 percent of Jericho’s personality splashed across a decade in the wrestling business.
Jericho wastes very little time on his life before wrestling, touching on just a few necessary moments. The crux of the book takes place the moment he starts wrestling camp to the seconds before he debuted with the then WWF on Monday Night Raw.
That is right; anyone digging for WWE dirt will be sadly disappointed. If you are digging for dirt at all, you will be disappointed. Jericho keeps the proceedings upbeat and positive.
Anyone who is a fan of Jericho will be immediately attracted to his offbeat sense of humor, which is on full display here, and his tales of life in the bizarre world of wrestling. People who are not even wrestling fans will be immediately attracted to his ambition and undeniable enthusiasm.
A Lion’s Tale is an action-packed, uplifting, exceed your dreams thrill ride. That is right; I called it a thrill ride.
None other than famed wrestling play-by-play announcer Jim Ross provides the foreword. “I can honestly say that there will never be another professional journal by any wrestler that will remotely compare with Chris Jericho’s odyssey to make it to the WWE,” writes Ross.
Ross is right. Jericho broke through the ranks right at the time pro wrestling transformed from the old guard to the new school. He embraced the traditions of wrestling but was also ready to bust them apart at the same time.
Jericho tells his stories with a strange mix of enthusiasm and bewilderment that he was lucky enough to make the most of his opportunities. You are drawn into his personality from the beginning and cannot help but cheer for his success.
A Lion’s Tale really is a biography masquerading as an action-adventure. Despite the hero’s setbacks and mistakes, you desperately want him to win in the end. To tag along on the ride is a blast.
Jericho is not too bothered with classic prose. He makes up “ricoculous” words and is not afraid to throw in some jokes that are so dumb you groan, yet still enjoy them.
The bizarre world of wrestling now has a new standard-bearer in superstar biographies. Much like Foley’s book, the personality of its writer, the characters on the page and the amazing life being led completely jump off the page in bold, brilliant colors. A Lion’s Tale is a rollercoaster of fun, danger and excitement, just like wrestling can be when it is good.