If you, like me, are a charter member of the Jericoholics, you have long been anticipating the release of a Chris Jericho bio DVD.
Realistically, a compilation of Jericho’s finest matches, combined with a documentary, could have been released by WWE at any time in the last six or so years. Following the acquisition of WCW and ECW’s libraries and Jericho’s ascension to the Unified World Heavyweight titles and a run that followed which had highlighted bouts against Shawn Michaels and Christian, it seemed natural for WWE to document Y2J’s career.
Heck, they could’ve even done it prior to the title victory.
Yet we didn’t get that compilation; in fact, we had to wait until 2010, well into (and perhaps at the tail end of) Jericho’s second run with the company before getting this DVD, Breaking the Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho.
But I will say this up-front — the DVD was well worth the wait.
Weighing in at three discs, Breaking the Code gives fans everything they would ever (everrrr) want in a Chris Jericho compilation — great insight, stellar matches and a healthy dose of Jericho promos.
To start, we get WWE’s now-standard documentary look at Jericho’s career. For fans that picked up his autobiography, the early portion contains a story we already know, but the journey in his first and second runs in WWE have not really been commented upon (well, at least in DVD form — we’ve interviewed him a few times here at SLAM! Wrestling, which you can check out in our story archive), so you get some good insight from Jericho before readers will when his second book hits shelves.
In particular, the bio portion of the DVD works well in giving background on some of Jericho’s most famous moments, including the “Man of 1,004 Holds” promo and his WWE debut. We also get some good background insight into Jericho’s career from the likes of Lance Storm, Big Show and Eric Bischoff on some of these moments as well as his overall career. It’s a bit of a shame, though, that Shawn Michaels wasn’t included, since the feud between the two was so stellar.
In addition to covering Jericho’s wrestling career, the bio section covers his musical career with Fozzy in depth, something we haven’t really seen in WWE bio DVDs often. Of course, this is a huge part of who Jericho is so this is not necessarily surprising, but a very welcome sight in the doc.
Before moving onto the matches, it’s worth talking about some of the outtakes and promos. We learn, first, that Jericho almost named himself Jack Action, see the famous “Hello Lexington” segment and something even I had forgotten about — the segment Chris did with his famous father, Ted Irvine.
Unfortunately, what we don’t get is the full-out best of Jericho from his interactions with Stephanie McMahon. There are some clips shown in the documentary with some teases of his famous description of the heir apparent to WWE’s throne, but we don’t get a full-out promo. Whether this was by Jericho’s choosing or WWE clamping down (this is the PG era, after all), it’s definitely missed.
Similarly, there are some battles that we don’t see in the match selection that, given other circumstances, would likely have been automatics. Though it’s been talked about ad nauseum, we don’t get any of the bouts that involved Chris Benoit, which is really unfortunate since Jericho had numerous highlighted matches that involved The Crippler in one form or another. Tops on my list here are TLC 3 and the three-way bout at WrestleMania between Jericho, Benoit and Kurt Angle.
Beyond that though, most of the matches you’d expect to see are here. There are a couple against Shawn Michaels, a fantastic bout with Rey Mysterio, Jericho’s WrestleMania 26 main event match with Edge, a couple teasers from his early days (including a bout from WAR against Ultimo Dragon) and even his very first match against Lance T. Storm.
Now like any die-hard Jericho fan, I’ll say there are some classic matches that should’ve been on there, Benoit aside. The one that sticks out for me most was in the midst of the build-up of Jericho when he faced Ric Flair on the debut show of WCW Thunder. It was a great technical match between a current and future legend, one that should be on everyone’s must-view list.
But as I said, like me every Jericho fan will have their favourite that didn’t make the cut. That’s simply due to the Winnipegger having such a great body of work. Heck, there could’ve been a four- or five-disc set and you still wouldn’t be able to cover it all.
In closing, I’ll simply say that from beginning to end, Breaking the Code was one of the most complete packages WWE has ever delivered and I can’t do anything but give the highest recommendation possible for this bio-set of Chris Jericho.