I just finished reading Chris Jericho’s autobiography, “A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex”. It’s the true story of a boyhood dream to become the top professional wrestler in the world. Chris is currently the WWE champion, proving that dreams do come true.
Chris is a genuinely funny guy, and it comes through in the writing. I literally could not put the book down. His hilarious tales of working in Mexico, Germany, Canada, and Japan create a compelling read that you don’t have to be a pro wrestling fan to enjoy.
Chris grew up as a genuine pro wrestling fan, even building his own “ring” and creating his own federation. I can relate.
I got my first in-person look at Chris on August 2, 1996 in Plymouth Meeting, PA at the Lulu Temple. I had driven up from North Carolina to spend the weekend with Rob Van Dam and experience ECW first-hand.
Chris faced Sabu in the main event. From the minute Chris walked through the curtain, I knew he would be World Champion some day. He just had “it”.
Later, I got to meet Chris at the infamous ECW hotel, a place Chris describes in the book as "a run-down Travelodge in the middle of a Philly crack neighborhood."Any establishment that would regularly welcome the rowdy crew of ECW miscreants tells you all you need to know about the accommodations.
Rob and I stayed in our room and out of trouble. Before long, Johnny Smith, Sabu, and later Chris Jericho dropped by to hang out and share stories. Chris listened intently as Sabu recounted his recent WCW run where he walked away after management told him he’d never work with Sting.
At one point, Chris leaned over to me and confessed that we was “marking out”, meaning that Christopher Irvine, the life-long pro wrestling fan, was thoroughly enjoying Sabu's tales.
I rant into Chris at an airport a few years later. I gave him a copy of the book I had published with Dave Meltzer called “Tributes: Remembering Some of the World's Greatest Wrestlers”. Word got back to me that he enjoyed the book and had passed it around the WCW locker room. That love of wrestling, thirst for knowledge and drive to be the best propelled Chris to the very top of the business.
If you have even a passing desire for a glimpse inside the World of pro wrestling, you can't go wrong with “A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex”.