The tale of Chris Irvine’s transformation from simple Canadian into professional wrestling He-Man Chris Jericho is an interesting and often hilarious journey that has also turned out to be quite a good read.
Although born in the United States, Jericho embraced a true Canadian lifestyle. Living with his dad (NHL star Ted Irvine) in the boring ‘Peg was challenging at times. Jericho was not a good hockey player, he was far from his current self-proclaimed best in the world persona, he did not have much luck with the girls, and his parents broke up during his teen years. Jericho still enjoyed hockey like most Canadians, but thanks to the invention of television, he found a much more intriguing career: professional wrestling.
In his first personal memoirs A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex, Jericho goes into great detail about how he entered the wrestling business, even though he was a small guy physically compared to most wrestlers. He also explains how he dealt with the many “ass clowns” who plague the industry and gave him a hard time.
Through all of his trials and tribulations in the ring, outside of it he was hit hard the most when his mom was paralyzed early in his career thanks to her ex-boyfriend. You could imagine what Jericho what to do to the guy.
Watching her struggle and fight to live helped inspire him to follow his dreams no matter how hard it was for him to succeed or how pathetic of a venue he got booked in.
From working birthday parties for cake and soda pop, to wrestling in front of hundreds in Mexico, Germany, and Japan, Jericho eventually got his talent exposed by the right wrestling figureheads to get him some sold work with televised wrestling in the United States. He almost did not make it back from Mexico though. His lust to finally score with a hot chick put him in the middle of nowhere with a gun pointed at him while his life flashed before his eyes. Fortunately, the hijackers only wanted his money and spared him that night.
Jericho was also in constant struggle with his confidence. He keeps referring to his Jericho Curse every time he shows up in a new federation. Usually, each time he debuts in a fed the curse comes back to haunt him and gives him a bad name or a terrible start.
However, Jericho seems to always rise above all the naysayers by pushing himself to pull off death-defying moves like the shooting star press—a move that nearly ended his career.
Wrestling fans will love how Jericho goes into great detail about how he became an international wrestling superstar. His awkward meetings with famous wrestling superstars like Lance Storm, Chris Benoit, Art Barr, Rey Mysterio Jr., and his hate for control-freak wrestlers like Scott Hall and Bill Goldberg are some of the best reads in the book.
At times it is almost like Jericho is cutting a promo on himself on how pathetic he once was. By the time he got to World Championship Wrestling he took advantage of the television time he got and showed wCw management, Hulk Hogan, and Goldberg that he was not going to just take orders and fall in line.
Non-wrestling fans can enjoy this novel more than any other wrestling novel that has come before as Jericho makes numerous pop-culture references and jokes that can help non-wrestling loyalists understand the hardship Jericho went through. Jericho also goes into decent detail on his love for music and his battle between Christian rock and death metal music. The origin of his band Fozzy is mentioned, but their road stories in the music world are unfortunately not.
It is a shame that Jericho stays away from going into greater detail on his personal life and although he talks a little bit about the steroid issue in wrestling, he seems content to not go into controversial problems in wrestling. The biography is focused on creating light humour and a little bit of shock now and then, until he finally makes it to the biggest wrestling federation of all-time.
A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex
By Chris Jericho and Peter Thomas Fornatale
Grand Central Publishing