A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex by Chris Jericho

March 19, 2019

Between the subject matter and the style, there’ll be few books like this in the future, which is something of a shame.

Jericho was arguably the last wrestler to make it big in WWE having spent a serious amount of time working for both full-time US territories and international promotions. After leaving the Canadian independents, he spent time in CMLL, WAR, the German tournament scene, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, ECW and WCW, giving him one of the more diverse backgrounds of his generation.

This gives him a wealth of experience of very different styles and set-ups of pro wrestling which he describes here, whether it be being abandoned in the middle of nowhere in Mexico, the raucous nightlife of Hamburg (and the hellraising of the likes of Drew McDonald), or the sheer confused disorganization of WCW.

It’s a striking contrast to his later volumes as there’s a real sense of the personal and professional journey he took to the point where he stood by the curtain for his WWE debut, which marks the book’s conclusion.

The style and tone is a difficult one to judge for anyone yet to read this book. As the first of Jericho’s books, it came across as refreshingly lighthearted. The same approach became a little repetitive in his later two volumes, but it’s hard to predict whether anyone who started with Undisputed or The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea before tackling A Lion’s Tale.

Still, my experience was that I happily tore through this in one sitting on a transatlantic flight. The chances are that even people who’ve come to find Jericho overexposed in recent years will still enjoy this and, given the book is now available on the second-hand market for pennies, it’s a chance I’d certainly advise taking.

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