Book – A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex
Author – Chris Jericho
Year – 2007
Genre – Autobiography
Pages – 412
Bought for me by Robert Hyde

Starting this year off with a book that very few of you may be interested in, but I am, so ner!  I haven’t hidden here my love of wrestling, and for me Chris Jericho is one of the greats.  Rob very kindly bought me both of his autobiographies (so far, there is a third on the way), and I thought that starting the year with something I am really in to would be a suitable idea.

This first autobiography covers Jericho’s life from his early years growing up in Winnipeg, through to the moments standing backstage waiting to make his debut for the WWE (or WWF as it then was).  In that time he covers his training, his time spent in Mexico and in Japan, and the terrible days of the poorly run WCW (wonderfully covered in the book The Death of WCW).

I had been told by many that this is one of the best wrestling autobiographies around.  Whilst I can’t deny that it is incredibly enjoyable, it doesn’t quite hold up to the very best around such as Mick Foley’s first, and Bret Hart’s Hitman.  Maybe it is because the stuff I know Jericho most for – his time in WWE – was saved for the follow up book, or maybe that despite being one of the funniest on air performers in wrestling, the humour in the book often fell a little flat.  Whatever it was, it took it down just a notch.

This is not to take a lot away from the book though which is warm and funny, and doesn’t pull punches like some autobiographies do.  Notably, Jericho makes the bold move not to change any of the information about Christ Benoit in the book.  Benoit made the news, even over here, a few years back when he killed his family and then himself.  Research showed that through in ring trauma and an over reliance on steroids, his brain was pretty much destroyed, but since then his name is very rarely mentioned by WWE.  Benoit was one of Jericho’s closest friends, and these events took place after the book was written, but before it was published.  Jericho makes mention at the beginning how he decided to keep Benoit in as the man he knew, and not the person he became in the last few hours of his life.  A bold and potentially controversial view, but one that pays off throughout the book.