Breaking the Code: Behind the Walls of Jericho Disc 1 Review

You can find a shorter version of this review over at Pro Wrestling Ponderings, but I thought if I’m going to talk people to death it’s better to do it here on my own site, so to that end, here’s more of a chapter by chapter breakdown of the first disc of BREAKING THE CODE: BEHIND THE WALLS OF CHRIS JERICHO.

I’ve never reviewed a DVD set before, so stick with me, I’m still learning, but you may find my style a little strange.

Presentation

– Let’s start things off with the most immediately obvious aspect of the set: how it looks. The front cover is pretty nice with the holographic Matrix code set against the pure white of the mat.

– The back features a good amount of text and makes it clear what you’re getting, though I personally don’t care for the shot of Jericho holding a chain.

– Removing the sleeve and opening the set up, it’s simply gorgeous, with a giant picture of Jericho’s face looking sufficiently evil with more Matrix code and pictures from the various stages of his career.

– The pull-out booklet fits in perfectly with the background of the rest of the packaging, and tells you exactly what you’re getting from each disc.

– Finally, the discs themselves again feature a nice array of pictures to try and represent the various stages of his career.

– The menus share the same design motif and start with a countdown and feature Jericho’s music in the background. They’re easy to navigate and there’s plenty on each disc.

– Right, enough aesthetics, on to the content!

Content

Disc 1 is in many ways a more concise version of his book. As a proud owner of said book, the things discussed here felt familiar to me, but they did a great job of cramming an awful lot in to a short space of time. There were a few instances where I wanted more fleshing out, but to be honest, even if he spoke about his career for five hours, I’d want more.

– The disc starts off with an awesome short video featuring Jericho’s various egotistical statements with the volume turned way up while his peers dote him with compliments. Christian even called him the ultimate sports entertainer. The video then moves to showing his visual transformation over the years in the various companies he’s wrestled in and holding the plethora of championships he’s captured, ending with the title screen.

– Chapter 1 is all about Jericho’s early life with tonnes of home videos and pictures. He was a sickeningly cute child. Chris’ father makes some on-camera comments also. Jericho takes us through his time playing in various bands and his aspirations as a rock-star. Some of his friends and former band-mates from back in the day share some musical memories.

– Jericho then talks about writing to wrestling schools, getting a degree in creative communications, meeting Jesse Ventura in a gym, and then going to the Hart Dungeon. Lance Storm sighting! The two take turns complimenting each other (separately). We get some footage from VERY early matches, mostly with Storm.

– Bret Hart now talks about liking Chris early on for wanting to go down to Mexico. Jericho discusses the rock-star atmosphere of wrestling in Mexico and the birth of the Lion Heart name. He says that it was great for learning what life is like on the road due to the intense work schedule, as well as learning the lucha libre style in CMLL. Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero remark on his time there also.

– Jericho states he wanted to expand his horizons so went to Germany for six weeks and states this helped him learn how to mix things up as the same crowd would see him virtually every night. No footage from his time in Germany and we immediately move to his time with the Thrill Seekers in Smoky Mountain and how he and Lance stood out because their style was far more athletic than the others in the company. Jericho states he learned how to cut proper promos in Smoky Mountain.

– Now we go to his time with WAR in Japan thanks to working Ultimo Dragon in Mexico. He talks about how Mexico was very character-based and Japan was more wrestling based. He says Dragon was one of his favourite opponents. He alludes to how he was making a name for himself and that the likes of Paul Heyman and Jim Cornette knew who he was. He then summarizes how he’d learned character in Mexico, how to stay varied in Germany, cut a promo in Smoky Mountain, and technical wrestling in Japan and how all these things would get him to the WWE.

– ECW! Joey Styles interview! Joey states Jericho was instantly over because the fans were die-hard fans and respected him for wrestling in Mexico and Japan. Plenty of footage from his short stay with the company, and Jericho claims Mick Foley was his favourite ECW opponent. He states Mick taught him the dangerous, intense part of his character.

– Jericho talks about a super-show in LA that featured Mexican, Japanese and WCW talents and how Eric Bischoff offered him a job in a matter of seconds and we’re right into the WCW cruiserweight division. He calls his early matches horrendous and states he had no character as a babyface and it left him out in the cold.

– He states that besides the nWo, it was the cruiserweights that made WCW beat the WWF because the undercards did not compare. Lots of footage of the golden age of cruiserweights and Jericho’s high-flying days.

– He discusses being grateful for being turned heel as it meant he could do whatever he wants. He states that Bischoff would give him 30 seconds to say anything he liked each week, and Eric credits him for coming up with his own characterisation. The birth of Neeeeeever, Eveeeeeeer and Jerichohilics is shown next.

– Next is the Conspiracy Victim angle with Jericho in Washington D.C. Jericho states all of the footage was improvised by himself and the cameraman running around the city filming anything and everything.

– The Man of 1,004 Holds!!! No comments necessary.

– Jericho’s short-lived feud with Goldberg is next, complete with a parody of his entrance and beating the imposter Goldberg. He laughs about how Goldberg was legitimately upset by it. Goldberg then appears on camera stating he thought people wanted straight up matches rather than nonsense. Bischoff essentially buries Goldberg by stating he was immature and didn’t handle the angle very well. Jericho says he felt it was a PPV-worthy pay-off match but it happened on Nitro because of Goldberg’s complaints. He says this is what made him want to leave WCW.

– He states he saw a Countdown to the Millennium in a post-office and then Edge and Christian talk about how much buzz there was around the Y2J countdown clock. We then see the night of his debut and promo battle with The Rock. Matt Hardy claims he suspected it would end up being Jericho and puts over how huge it was to interact with The Rock during his debut. Edge claims Chicago is the perfect place to debut. Miz remarks how the best part was The Rock owning him and Jericho’s quivering lip. Michael Hayes believes it was one of the best debuts in the history of wrestling. Jericho however does not like it as he believes his facial expressions were too cartoonish.

– He talks about how depressing it was to not be on the No Mercy PPV two months after debuting with The Rock. He admits he didn’t live up the hype early on. Due to this Vince had him work with Chyna and now we get footage of their feud and how he didn’t mind it as he believed he was guaranteed to get the Intercontinental Title, something he dreamed of due to Ricky Steamboat holding the belt.

– This led to Jericho working with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and how the crowd were all over his insulting promos. He loved working with her as she was the perfect foil. He says it was funny that the two angles that got him over were with women. This of course led to working with Triple H and the night he won the title thanks to Earl Hebner’s fast count. Michael Hayes stated that it catapulted him into the main event, and he felt that Jericho belonged there.

– He talks about getting his mojo back and we get footage of him wrestling various opponents. Miz believes he’s beaten every single wrestler he’s come across and talks up his IC title success. We skip ahead a good long way to Jericho winning the Undisputed Championship and talking about how he didn’t think he’d win. Christian states The Rock and Austin were the two biggest names in history (burn Hogan) and there was no bigger achievement than beating both in one night. Jericho says after the match he went and sat in a corner to take it in as he never aspired to be anything more than the IC champion. Joey Styles says he was happy to see a smaller guy holding the belt, and Rey echoes those sentiments.

– The Big Show believes Jericho has been so successful by persevering to make sure he’s in the right place at the right time. Jericho says he didn’t enjoy working with Stephanie as an ally because he didn’t feel it paid off. Michael Hayes thought his career would be set after main eventing at Wrestlemania. Jericho believes The Rock vs Hulk Hogan should have been the main event. A voice that I believe belongs to Gerald Briscoe called the match phenomenal.

– Various wrestlers talk about how Jericho brings out the best in them. John Cena thanks him for giving him his first PPV match.

– Now we move on to the Highlight Reel. Jericho states it came from his belief that he was a modern day Roddy Piper and he wanted his own improvisational talk show. I forgot how awesome these segments were.

– Next up is his feud with Shawn Michaels and he reminds us that HBK was one of his idols. Jericho states that Shawn’s back was still hurting and he had a bad haircut, so he wasn’t quite back, but this feud brought HBK all the way back (I agree). Highlights of their incredible match, the hug, and the low blow. Michael Hayes believes it was perhaps the best match of Chris’ career. Jericho doesn’t care what anybody says, their match stole the show, and that meant more to him than beating Rock and Austin in one night.

– Now we go on to the Christian and Jericho team. Jericho says they had great chemistry and feels they were the best thing in the company at the time. Christian states they were thrown together, but just like with Edge, the pair’s instant chemistry allowed them to run with it. Jericho says the involvement of Trish and Lita was fun, but he enjoyed it more when it was just the two of them being idiots together.

– Jericho states he was a fan of John Cena’s since his debut and states he wasn’t supposed to work with him but he got to because he had told management he wanted some time off. He compares Cena to Austin for their unorthodox styles. We see highlights of their Summerslam match and then the loser leaves WWE match. Cena talks about how ridding the WWE of Jericho was like a Superhero being out of work after catching the last villain, and he felt the WWE was missing something without him.

– Jericho talks about how it was a great point to leave as he wanted to recharge mentally and focus on other parts of his life after 15 non-stop years of wrestling. He talks about touring the world with Fozzy and having three children. Big Show states he lives four houses down from Jericho and looking out of his window he would always see Chris with his children. Christian calls him a workaholic. Jericho talks about using his faculty for holding useless information to work with VH1.

– A lot more footage of Fozzy now, complete with audio this time. One of the other members states that they drew crowds because people were interested in seeing Jericho sing and how everyone was surprised how good he was. Jericho talks about getting a record deal and how he didn’t want to just be a cover band and the odd storylines behind the band. He laughs at the Brooklyn Brawler for not realising he was the lead singer. Edge states how the band gradually became more serious. Jericho points out the similarities between being a wrestler and a rock star. Lots of free publicity for the band here. Cena appreciates Jericho’s musical career after trying to have one himself.

– Jericho talks briefly about his incredible book, and how he dreamed of being in the New York Times Best Seller list and that he achieved it.

– We move to the unfortunate passing of Chris’ mother, and he states she had her accident a week before his first match, and she died a week after his (then) last match.

– Chris talked about watching Cena vs HBK at Wrestlemania, the first match he’d seen since he left and how it made him feel it should be him a little bit, and their one-hour draw convinced him he wanted to go back and how he texted Vince instantly after the match.

– He discusses his return without any mention of the Breaking the Code teasers. He states he wanted to come back better, not be a nostalgia act. Edge points out he was doing the same things he’d done before he left but the climate had changed and this forced him to evolve.

– The beginnings of his second feud with Shawn Michaels are shown now. Jericho says it marked the end of Y2J and we see the debut of the suited Jericho. Michael Hayes puts over his ability to keep changing himself. Jericho states the movie No Country For Old Men gave him the idea for his new heel persona, and Nick Bockwinkle gave him the idea to just throw big words out to make people hate him. More highlights from the feud as Edge states the story and the attention to detail made their matches so good.

– Just as abruptly as it happened on the night, we move suddenly to Jericho winning the world heavyweight title. He states the last two years have been the best work of his career and feels he could retire now.

– Jericho now talks about working with Rey Mysterio and points out they hadn’t worked each other as much as people would think, and states his time working in Mexico made him understand how Rey worked. Rey talks about the angle where he tried to take his mask. He compares himself to the Joker wanting to unmask Batman. Matt Hardy says he loved their matches.

– Michael Hayes states Jericho and Edge were intended to be a huge tag team and that Big Show ended up taking the role. Jericho said Show was his favourite partner and they had been friends for years. Show puts over precisely how hard Jericho works.

– We move towards the end of the DVD now with Jericho’s feud with Edge leading to Wrestlemania. Edge talks about the pair of them wanting to steal the show and he feels they did (I don’t think their match was even the second best on the show).

– Wade Barrett now talks about how lucky he felt to get Jericho as his pro in NXT. Jericho talks about how there aren’t many guys in the WWE as experienced as him, so he felt it was important to share it with a younger guy. Barrett says Jericho helped him connect with the audience and critiqued every match and promo for him. Jericho felt Barrett would be a superstar with or without him, and he’s only helped point him in the right direction.

– Jericho says he doesn’t really believe he’s the best in the world at what he does, saying he wishes he could cut better promos, be a better wrestler, and make the crowd angrier. Footage from throughout his career plays now as he talks about giving his all every night and a Fozzy song playing. Miz talks about wanting to emulate Jericho. Pat Patterson says Jericho is on his list of the best performers he’s ever seen. Barrett puts him over huge for every aspect of his career. Edge states the true mark of success if your peers enjoying working with you, and he feels Jericho has accomplished that in spades.

– Jericho closes the DVD by saying he wants to leave the WWE being fired and dragged away kicking and screaming with the fans glad to be rid of him.

Bonus Features

– The first feature is Jericho telling a story about pretending to wrestle with his friend when he was young, as well as mentioning how he would talk to the wrestlers around his size such as Shawn Michaels, rather than the seemingly giant Warlord.

– Next is Jericho discussing his first ever match taking on Lance Storm. He talks about coming up with names to use and how he was going to be Jack Action, something Storm laughed at him for. He then discusses how he came up with his name after listening to the Helloween album Walls of Jericho. He laughs about being lumbered with the gimmick “Cowboy” Chris Jericho for the match, but the crowd making him feel like Hulk Hogan. He was paid $30 for the match.

– Chris discusses all the animal-based names in Japan and how he came up with Leon de Oro as an alternative to He-Man (complete with sword) or Chris Power, but he was only allowed to use the name after a televised voting show. It’s a shame they didn’t show the god-awful costume he made to go with the name.

– Now a Thrill Seekers vignette that features Chris and Lance pumping an awful lot of iron in short-shorts to some wonderfully cheesy music. If you’re having trouble getting a lady in the mood show her this vignette… actually don’t, it’ll point out the obvious inferiority of your body. Oh my god it’s not over… the pair throw some epic facial expressions to camera, and it’s revealed a pair of girls are inviting them into their hotel room, and they of course accept as Jericho shrugs to the camera with a smile. Amazing.

– Another Thrill Seekers promo with the pair outdoors in Tennessee. The clothes… the clothes… my sweet lord, the clothes. Go karts! Ice skating! Bears! Skeeball! Arcade games! Snowballs! Stuffed animals! Bungee jumping! Helicopter rides! Horse riding! These guys really do seek some thrills!

– Christian tells a story about how he and Edge first met Jericho in Winnipeg and how they looked up to him for his time in Mexico and Japan. They used to play a game called “have you heard of Chris Jericho?” and were disappointed to find everybody they asked had.

– Jericho tells us how he spent a year trying to get into ECW and was repeatedly blown off by Paul Heyman using false names. He says when Paul finally called him to book him he claimed to have been trying to get a hold of him for a year, which made Chris laugh.

– Joey Styles talks about how Jericho used a submission in ECW he’d never seen despite his knowledge of Mexican and Japanese wrestling, and believes Chris invented the move to specifically mess with Styles and how Joey called it Mr. Salty and now whenever they see each other they say “Mr. Salty” or buy each other pretzels.

– The Man of 1,004 Holds segment is shown in its entirety, though the footage from the commercial break is not included. I remember it being longer than it was.

– Now the Conspiracy Victim vignette discussed in the main interview is shown.

– Next is a segment announcing Jericho vs. Malenko with Jericho’s father telling him to stop complaining and learn to keep his mouth shut. I don’t remember this happening so it was a nice surprise.

– The first time Jericho mocked Goldberg’s entrance is next with him getting lost on his way to the ring and getting locked out of the building. Amusingly, when his scheduled opponent Wrath went to retrieve him, he inadvertently exposed the open door right next to the one Jericho was pounding on.

– Remember when Michael Cole had longer hair and was a backstage interviewer? Well, in this next segment you can take a walk down memory lane as The Rock and Jericho trade catch-phrases, snatching the microphone away from each other. Jericho drops a “Smell What Y2J Is Cooking?” The Rock invents some Jericho relatives and utterly owns the interview. Tremendous.

– Jericho now talks about action that happens after the broadcast is over, and shows us never before seen footage of himself and Austin in 2003. Stone Cold actually runs down to the ring and retrieves the beer himself strangely enough. They trade quips as the crowd delights in yelling WHAT? Jericho points out Austin can’t touch him so gets in his face and calls him names… no seriously, like a child. They joke about Austin admiring Jericho growing up and Y2J says he looks good for 48. Austin offers him a beer and Jericho points out this always ends in a Stunner, but he knows it won’t happen so accepts. Austin challenges Jericho to come up with catch-phrases and the pair openly laugh over them. Austin puts Fozzy over and they finally get to the beer drinking but Jericho can’t catch them when they’re tossed. He taps Austin overly hard on the shoulder and that’s all the Rattlesnake needs to hit him with a Stunner. This was fantastic and with a little polishing they could have easily aired this and gotten great ratings.

– Another piece of post-show shenanigans, this time after Smackdown in November 2009. Jericho berates the fans for filing out of the arena. He picks on a 65 year old man who heckles him with gusto at ringside. The guy swings his hat at him repeatedly and yells profanity at him, but luckily there are no microphones near him. Jericho claims he’s going to beat him up but then asks security to escort him away. He then tells everyone left in the arena is ejected. Genuine heat, and the closest we’ll get to that chick who punched him by his car.

– Now a collection of his one-liners and antics, first from WCW, then the WWF, many of which I’d forgotten about. They throw in some of his jokes from his WWE return, but let’s face it, he was funniest in 2000, though his back and forth with Bob Barker was awesome. Amusingly, a fan heckled “go back to Toronto” and without looking back from tossing Undertaker into the ring he yelled back “I’m from Winnipeg you idiot!” Just a nice showcase of his comedic stylings really.

– Finally, a music video for Fozzy’s Let The Madness Begin. I’m not going to comment on it.

Overall Thoughts

– Overall, the first disc of the DVD reminded me of a few things I forgot about him, taught me things I never knew, and let me relive some of my fondest memories, so I’d say it’s a very easy recommendation for any wrestling fan, because let’s face it, who doesn’t love Chris Jericho?

– Stay tuned for my thoughts on the individual matches in the next few days.

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About Matt Waters
Brit dude who likes both things AND stuff and has delusions of being some kind of writer or something. Basketball, video games, comic books, films, music, other random stuff.

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