No Is A Four Letter Word by Chris Jericho

August 20, 2019

One of the big perils of successful career autobiographies — as seen with Mick Foley — is that subsequent volumes cover a shorter and shorter period and require more padding out of concentration on trivial detail. Chris Jericho has presumably tried to avoid this with his fourth book, which is presented not as a chronological sequel but rather a self-help motivational title.

Such an approach can work, as shown in Bobby Heenan’s follow-up to his original career autobiography. Here, though, it falls flat.

The book follows a consistent pattern in each of its 20 chapters: Jericho introduces a generic platitude (most of which come down to “work hard and believe in yourself), then recounts some incidents from his life that relate to it with varying degrees of relevance.

This usually fails in two separate ways. One is that the connections are usually strained at best. For example, “don’t take no for an answer” is illustrated by an incident when he was late for an airport check-in, resigned himself to waiting for the next flight, then was recognised as a TV star by a staff member who spontaneously offered to bend the rules. The incident neither proves the point, nor has much use for ordinary civilians.

The second problem is that, with the content taken from throughout his career, many are stories that didn’t make his previous extensive books and are inherently less entertaining. In the words of Alan Partridge, “that’s no good. That’s an incident. It’s not an anecdote.” For example, to illustrate the maxim “Have a good time, all the time,” Jericho recounts how this one time he and the New Day went out drinking in Tokyo till late, and then this other time he drank a lot on a plane and was sick on his leg.

The book isn’t completely without merit for wrestling fans. It has a couple of interesting recollections about being taught a psychology lesson by Negro Casas and the unique challenges of pitching an idea to Vince McMahon. There’s also some basic behind-the-curtain details of his most recent runs, including the programs with AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose.

Overall, though, it’s a big disappointment. What was once a fresh, unconventional and unstuffy style of writing now feels tiresome, and the main message of the book seems to be that Jericho has met a lot of celebrities and most of them told him how great he is. As a result, it’s tough to recommend this to anyone but the most dedicated of Jericoholics.

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