Chris Jericho chronicles more than six years of his life inside and outside of WWE in the book “The Best In The World: At What I Have No Idea.”
You could say it’s his “Empire Strikes Back,” the third in a series of autobiographies. With his latest book covering from 2007 through to the start of 2013, Jericho felt even more comfortable and confident as an author.
“When you do something for the first time you don’t really know what you’re doing,” he said. “Then the second time it is a little easier and the third time and third book there is a little more routine. It’s becoming a skill whereas before the first one I had never written a book in my life. I didn’t know what to do or how to do it, but once you get to the third one you look back at what you did, and it’s a lot smoother a process.
“It’s still a long process and arduous process. It takes the better part of a year to do a book. That’s the way it goes. If you want it to be good, you have to spend the time on it with the rewrites, the edits and the drafts and more drafts to make sure it is right.”
The New York Times’ best-selling scribe feels traveling in the midst of the process was beneficial.
“You have a lot of down time sitting around and not doing anything,” Jericho said. “When you’re on the road, it really gives you the time you need to concentrate and work on the book. Especially with remembering stuff, this book was more recent. I’m writing it in the summer of 2013. So it’s something that’s very fresh in your mind compared to book two and especially book one where it’s 10, 15, 20 years ago.
“This one had more of a backup plan, you could say, because a lot of these things I can go online and check out some of the stories. The Jericho and [Shawn] Michaels feud, I remember a lot of it, but when I Googled Jericho-Michaels feud there was some great pieces and timelines of the stuff we had done. You can actually go through it and say, ‘Oh, I forgot about that.’ It was really different because I didn’t have that for book two or book one.”
So far Jericho hasn’t gotten any negative responses from those he talks about in the book. He doesn’t expect it either.
“Unless you’re going to write something bad about people, they don’t really say much,” he said. “I don’t think I really write anything bad about anybody, except myself because I know I can insult myself. I know I can’t sue myself, so I always use Chris Jericho as a target for a lot of these books. I think people look in there to see what you say about them. I mean Santino had a whole chapter written about him. So then I called him and said, ‘Dude, you’re going to love it. There is a whole chapter written about you.’”
Much like how he approaches his popular “Talk is Jericho” podcast, the consummate entertainer gives something for everybody within the pages of his current tome.
“People are going to take from different places,” Jericho said. “That’s what I like about doing the in-stores where people come, and I get to talk to people about the books. I get the feedback from those who read about it. Of course, there are certain sections people will focus on more. Someone could bring up a story that I forgot was in there because when you spend so much time writing a book by the time it’s done you don’t want to see it again. You’re like, ‘I’m finished with this thing.’ It’s because you do so many drafts where you know what’s happening on this page and that page and that page.”
He finds some of his favorite parts of the book have to do with his time going to Iraq.
“I think that was an amazing chapter talking about being stranded behind enemy lines and going through a war zone and all those dangers that took place there,” Jericho said. “I kind of enjoyed the chapters that explained my catchphrases and explained my ring songs. I thought I would try something different with that rather than just staying tried-and-true to typical autobiographies. I put some things in there that you usually don’t see.
“I love this one chapter. It’s so ridiculous and has nothing to do with music or wrestling or anything. It’s a prank some of my friends played on me that I thought made for a great piece of writing. I think when you’re an author and have done a couple of books, anytime something happens in your life you’re thinking, ‘Okay, this is good.’ ‘This is bad.’ ‘This sucks.’ ‘This is amazing.’ Everything relates back because you know it’s going to make for a great story for my next book. That’s how I think about everything. How can I tell this story and make it entertaining into a book.”
A prime reason why Jericho’s literary projects resonate so much with fans is they can hear his signature voice throughout. This was important for the author because after all, it was his name on the cover.
“There are a lot of people’s books who aren’t their books,” he said. “To me, I wrote every single word in all of my books including the captions and the jacket and author’s bio. It’s my story, and I don’t want anybody else to try and write it. It always sounds a little bit detached when it’s not done by the person. So it’s my story all the way through…”
Jericho reflects fondly at the span spent in WWE that is documented in the book.
“When I came back in 2007, it was very stale,” he said. “The character was very plain, which is why I recreated myself into the suit-wearing, evil Jericho. That struck a chord. I mean people hated that character. They were attacking me on the streets physically, starting riots in the arena by throwing glow sticks and beer cups and D batteries. Who brings D batteries to a wrestling show? Do they sneak it in with a Teddy Ruxpin doll? I mean how do you do that?
“They found a way, and I was hit with it. Physically, it hurt like s---. Deep down inside I thought, ‘Man, I’ve got something going here.’ That character made a real impact and made a lot of money and put asses in seats because people hated him so much.”
Last year Jericho wasn’t creatively satisfied with his run. In 2014, when he returned, the decorated competitor made sure it was for a reason. He had a feud with Bray Wyatt, one of the most captivating characters to come along on WWE TV in recent memory.
“I just kind of made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t go back unless there is a focus,” he said. “I made it very clear to the powers that be, and they agreed. They don’t want Chris Jericho back just to be there and not do anything. That doesn’t help them either. [Bray] is a great performer. [The Wyatt Family and former Shield members] are great performers at varying levels. WWE is very much, and rightfully so, about constantly updating and upgrading the talent.
“You have to have a constant movement in place. I love the fact they put Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins on last [at the Hell in a Cell show]. I love the fact Wyatt interrupted them. Now it’s [John] Cena and [Randy] Orton who are slowly moving down and Ambrose, Rollins and Wyatt are slowly moving up. That’s kind of what keeps the business fresh and alive.”
As the lead singer of Fozzy, a rock band that formed in 1999, he takes long furloughs away from WWE for his music and other career commitments. Jericho says he hasn’t felt any resentment for being a proverbial “part-timer” in the locker room.
“There shouldn’t be, because I can come back there and outwork any one of those guys on the roster,” he said. “When I come back though, I come back to work as many shows as I can. I don’t just come back for TV and pay-per-view. I work with everybody and have great matches. So I don’t think anybody has any issues with Jericho coming back. I think they are actually looking forward to it. If I was coming back and couldn’t do my job, then I would absolutely see why they don’t want me there.
“Plus, I wouldn’t come back anyways, but if you can still whoop ass and do great and steal the show on any given night. I’m not saying every night, but there are certain nights that I do. It’s the same with Brock Lesnar. When he comes back, money is made. I think everybody realizes that, and if they don’t, they don’t understand what the business is all about.”
Jericho remains steadfast on the task at hand in anything he does. This goes for television shows, his podcast, movies, books, television appearances and even WWE career.
“When I’m there, I’m a thousand percent there, and when I’m not, I’m a thousand percent not there,” he said. “I keep an eye on what is going on, but I don’t watch a lot of WWE. If I was going back next week I would know everybody’s storyline. I’ve done so much wrestling over the years that when I’m not the last thing I want to do is watch wrestling. That’s why I like writing books about it. That’s why ‘The Best In The World: At What I Have No Idea’ is good because it has detailed descriptions of the Jericho-Michaels feud in 2008, Rey Mysterio angle for his mask in 2009, CM Punk angle in 2012.
“That’s what I like to think about with wrestling. What did we create? What did we do to build these storylines to make them unique and exciting and make some of the greatest angles in WWE history…It was a book that took place over recent years. So we can talk about Jericho-Michaels. People watched it and can read about the behind the scenes stories about that. It seems a lot more relevant rather than if I was telling stories about Japan and Mexico that people weren’t involved in.”
The three books could definitely prove a worthy premise for a Jericho movie. Who would play him?
“I will go with Jonah Hill,” he replied with this trademark wit. “It’s got to be fat Jonah Hill. I don’t want skinny, creepy Jonah Hill. I want fat Jonah Hill.”
- Chris Jericho’s “The Best In The World: At What I Have No Idea” is available now.
- Check out Fozzy when it makes its South Florida debut at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10 with Texas Hippie Coalition. Tickets are available on www.ticketmaster.com.
“Florida is kind of one of the forgotten rock ‘n’ roll spaces,” Jericho said. “I don’t know how many shows go down to Miami. It’s kind of uncharted waters for a lot of rock bands. We’re excited to come. We are doing a real extensive Florida tour. To go that far south is an experiment, but we are excited.
“Any time we play somewhere new you’re always excited to check it out and see what kind of rock fans that are down there. It’s one of those places that we’ve never done, but always wanted to. We are really looking forward to it…Any time I come down there I drive back up because I live in Tampa. I don’t even think I’ve been to South Beach, which is kind of crazy…”
- Listen to “Talk is Jericho” on PodcastOne at www.podcastone.com.
- Follow Jericho on Twitter @IamJericho.
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.
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