Bob Magee
Pro Wrestling: Between the Sheets

Chris Jericho‘s second book “Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps” is the same high quality read that his first book, “A Lion’s Tale”, was and then some. “A Lion’s Tale” detailed Jericho’s childhood, then training and early years in professional wrestling.

Many wrestling fans have argued that they want more written about WWE and less about Jericho’s experiences with his group, Fozzy. If Chris Jericho was to write a book about this time in his life he could do nothing else. The parts of the book regarding Fozzy and his misadventures during his first attempts at beginning an acting career are sometimes funny, and pretty much all interesting.

Wrestling-related themes in “Undisputed” include the “WWE wrestling style” and how Jericho’s memorable debut in WWE almost ruined him; along with how wrestlers are paid in WWE, Vince McMahon’s legendary real-life temper, as well lack of McMahon’s seeming lack of comprehension of the real world. Jericho was equally frank with sections on the cliquishness of DX, Shawn Michaels’ drug problems and religious conversion, and the seeming mindlessness of when programs in wrestling and wrestler pushes begin and end. He does oddly seem to avoid explicit mention of the relationship of Stephanie McMahon and HHH, and what effect it may have had (or not had) on storylines and the rest of WWE.

Like the first book, Jericho doesn’t write a puff piece on himself. He details areas of his life that a WWE PR writer would have stayed away from; including a DUI arrest while seeking acting jobs in California; and his fear/avoidance of experiences that might result in death, his (unnecessary) self-criticism at not being there for the premature birth of his twin daughters.

Reading two sections of the book will be an intense experience for readers: first, the section where Jericho discusses the final illness and death of his mother, as well as his confrontation of the ex-boyfriend who made his mother a quadriplegic in a fight (detailed in “A Lion’s Tale” and finally forgiving him. I defy you to get through that section with a dry eye.

The other such section is where Jericho details his conflicted feelings about Chris Benoit, the man who was once hero…then mentor, friend, and coworker. he detailed how complex a person Chris Benoit became as years passed, including Benoit’s reactions to the deaths of Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero, and Johnny Grunge. Jericho explains Benoit’s sometimes odd personal behavior and does a good a job as anyone else has in attempting to explain some of the root causes of one of the most tragic days in wrestling history. Jericho details Benoit’s depression at the death of Eddie Guerrero, followed in seeming succession Black Cat, Biff Wellington and Johnny Grunge. Jericho seems to feel that Benoit’s reaction to these deaths; as well as steroid use, concussions and (in an interesting addition) caffiene addiction contributed to Benoit’s descent into madness.

I absolutely recommend this book to readers. Jericho is on a tour to push a book

To conclude, a reminder about three killer shows at the ECW Arena….first, the return of Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling, Combat Zone Wrestling’s tenth annual Best of The Best tournament, and CHIKARA Pro Wrestling’s King of Trios all in April; then concluding with the historic May debut of New Japan Pro Wrestling here in Philadelphia. Thing start off on April 9 with an ECW Arena doubleheader, where Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling makes its United States return in an afternoon show to start at 2:30 pm. Westside Xtreme Wrestling debuted in Philadelphia last March, with their “Vision” event featuring a brutal main event of wXw’s Thumbtack Jack and Drake Younger and dream matches including Alex Shelley vs. Chris Hero and wXw Tag champions Switchblade Conspiracy defending against The American Wolves.

In the main event, Japan Deathmatch Icon Jun Kasai takes on the “Golden Boy” Drake Younger! This match is the most anticipated by all fans of Hardcore Wrestling….and they will collide in a No Ropes Barbed Wired Match! So many legendary Barbed Wire Matches have been seen by Arena fans, but “Kasai vs. Drake” will open a new chapter of violence. To balance things, technical wrestling fans will see Zack Sabre, Jr. and Emil Sitoci, who holds victories over Japanese top cruiserweights CIMA, Taiji Ishimori and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Last June, Sabre beat Steve Douglas to unify the wXw lightweight and heavyweight titles to win wXw’s first “Unified World Championship”, a title eventually lost to the massive Austrian Big van Walter. Elsewhere on the show, Big van Walter and Sami Callihan will also be in action. Visit Westside Xtreme Wrestling’s United States site for the latest news and ticket information on wXw’s U.S. return! Early purchases of fronyt row tickets are available via e-mail [email protected] with the topic “wXw Philadelphia First Row”.

That evening, Combat Zone Wrestling presents the tenth annual “Best of The Best” tournament, with a scheduled 7:30 pm belltime. Early participants announced are wXw’s Zack Sabre, Jr., Big Japan Wrestling’s Deisuke Sekimoto, Dragon Gate USA’s Chuck Taylor, CHIKARA’s Johnny Gargano, CZW’s (Gran) Akuma and Sami Callihan. Along with the Best of the Best tournament, a Dream Death Match will take place with the CZW return of “Crazy Monkey’ Jun Kasai. Tickets will be available through the CZW Pro Shop at this link.

The very next week, CHIKARA Pro Wrestling comes to the world’s most famous Bingo Hall for King of Trios 2011 on April 15-17. Belltimes are 7:30 pm on Friday and Saturday and 4:30 pm on Sunday for the finals. F.I.S.T, The Colony, The Osirian Portal, The Throwbacks, Da Soul Touchaz, and the newly announced trio of Mike Quakenbush, Jigsaw, and Japanese legend Manami Toyota are the first six trios announced. Saturday afternoon will feature the fourth annual Fan Conclave at 2:30 pm priopr to showtime. Tickets for this year’s Fan Conclave are $10 (free tob those buying tickets for all three nights) . Along with wrestler autographs and gimmick sales, Stan Bush (who has the official song of King of Trios 2011) will be performing a concert during the Fan Conclave. Tickets for all events are available NOW at the CHIKARA store.

Finally, on May 15, New Japan Pro Wrestling debuts at the ECW Arena with a full lineup including 2010 Super J Tag League winners Jado and Gedo, Japanese legend Jushin “Thunder” Liger, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi, 2010 G1 Climax tournament winner Satoshi Kojima, Tiger Mask IV, Shinsuke Nakamura, Ryusuke Taguchi, Kazuchika Okada, Giant Bernard, Karl “Machine Guns” Anderson, Prince Devitt, Kenny Omega, Yujiro Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito, Mitsuhide Hirasawa, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and new addition MVP. Fair warning: tickets are not cheap, plus there is a $4 convenience fee for tickets purchased through the website. Tickets are Gold (Row 2/3) $65, Blue (row 4/5) $45 Red (GA) $25 and can be ordered at this site. Fans that purchase a GOLD ticket will receive a special meet and greet with NJPW Superstars at 2:30pm before the doors open, as well as, a commemorative ticket and DVD gift (redeemable with ticket the night of the show).

Until next time…

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