So it’s been awhile since I recorded since we’re remodeling our kitchen and everything is all over the place in my basement, where I do all my recording and it’s not really accessible to me at the present time. So there have been a number of things going on in the world of Professional Wrestling, sadly what I’m here to write and comment about today isn’t one of the more positive stories of the last couple of weeks.
Just the other day, it was reported by TMZ that Chyna, Joanie Laurer was found dead in her apartment. Shortly thereafter, the twitter universe exploded with comments from wrestlers from all around the globe saying how much of a pioneer she was for womens’ wrestling, about how she broke down so many barriers and was an inspiration to so many. And in thinking back on her career, all of these accolades that she’s being heaped onto her memory are 150% true. It’s just unfortunate that her legacy was so hampered by the latter years of her life where she fought addictions and ventured into the world of pornography.
Joanie exploded into the Wrestling business back in 1997, right as the WWE’s “Attitude Era” was kicking off. She was discovered by Triple H and Shawn Michaels and brought in to be Triple H’s bodyguard/valet. She was so unlike anything anyone had ever seen before in terms of her build, being a former bodybuilder with a chiseled jaw. Female valets of the past like Miss Elizabeth, Sherri Martel & Sunny were still quite feminine, typically non-imposing figures who accompanied their men to ringside and cheered them on. Chyna was nothing like this, she was such an imposing figure, when she would insert herself into matches to help Triple H to win, it was completely 100% believable. For as dainty & mild-mannered as Miss Elizabeth was, Chyna was the exact opposite. She sported large biceps that put some of the guys on the WWE roster to shame and truth be told, wasn’t a very attractive woman and that’s putting it mildly. She wasn’t there to be eye candy, she was there to help Triple H win his matches.
Chyna made her first appearance as a plant in the audience during a Triple H/Goldust match when she attacked Goldust’s manager, Marlena at ringside — thus, distracting Goldust to the point that Triple H could take advantage of it. In the following weeks, she continued to attack Marlena at ringside, tossing her around like a rag doll. After establishing who she was and who she was with, she became a central figure in the early D-Generation X group along with Triple H and Shawn Michaels. As time went on, and DX morphed from being a heel group led by Shawn Michaels to a babyface group led by Triple H that included X-Pac and the New Aged Outlaws tag team of the Road Dogg, Jesse James and Mr. Ass, Billy Gunn. DX in all of it’s incarnations was a very important cog in the Attitude Era, it was WWE’s answer to WCW’s New World Order. Only WWE didn’t have the corporate standards and practices that they needed to abide by that WCW did with Turner, so DX was allowed to go much farther in their promos, mannerisms and antics.
After splitting off from DX, Chyna was more often than not tied with Triple H as the two had engaged in an off-camera relationship. I can remember watching Triple H’s It’s Our Time VHS tape, seeing the two of them together in a limo, telling his story and him joking about how she would set her sights on something that she would want to do and then going ahead and accomplishing it. I loved the two of them together, his cocky-cool attitude and her somewhat shy/humbleness really came off well. And then her reaction when he won his first WWE Championship, from the over the top look of jubilation and “Oh my God!” to her jumping in the ring and hugging Triple H. It was great to see those two make it to the top together.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be long after Triple H’s ascension to the title that he would start being thrown into storylines involving the McMahons and Stephanie McMahon in particular. Somewhere along the line, Triple H & Chyna would break up and Triple H started a new relationship with Stephanie McMahon, who he is married to to this day with three children. Sadly, it would appear that she never got over Triple H. After the split, she was worked into storylines with some really terrific wrestlers like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho & Jeff Jarrett. She became the first woman to ever compete in a Royal Rumble. She was also the first woman to compete for the King of the Ring and even was number one contender for the WWE Championship at one point. She won the WWE Womens’ Championship late in her stay with WWE and was even the Intercontinental Champion, after defeating Jeff Jarrett in his last match for the company before departing for good to WCW. She broke so many barriers and was quite believable in doing so, which is really saying a lot considering that the women in WWE back in those days weren’t on the same level as the men in terms of the legitimacy in which they were presented. It can also be said that she paved the way for other women to step into the Royal Rumble as both Beth Phoenix and Kharma/Awesome Kong have during their tenures with the company.
Eventually, she was released from WWE and her life seemed to circle out of control. In the following years, she started tossing out allegations that Triple H beat her during the time of their relationship, that Xpac drugged her and raped her during their sex tape that was eventually sold to the public and she (much like the Ultimate Warrior) started putting out YouTube videos, railing against WWE, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, the McMahon family…you name it. She was apparently furious about Xpac selling the sex tape they made together called 1 Night in Chyna, yet years later, she’s winning adult movie awards after releasing a number of other adult videos. Not too long ago, she was on the Opie & Jim show on SiriusXM having a big argument with Xpac about said video tape. She had also had a lot of plastic surgery done to the point that if you compared early pictures of her in WWE to within the last year, she almost didn’t look like the same person. To be fair, she wanted to look more feminine, and I can understand that. From a fan’s perspective, she was a bit scary looking early on, and I’d like to think she understood that and also played it up in her persona. The fact was that she was really her own thing in WWE, as nobody who came before her, and for the most part, after her have been anything close to what she was.
On a recent Stone Cold Podcast, Triple H had addressed the question “Do you think we’ll ever see Chyna inducted into the Hall of Fame?” to which he took the high road in saying how while she truly deserved it, due to her foray into the adult film industry, he couldn’t in good conscience say yes. There was so much hatred in her for him, Stephanie and WWE and she was such a loose cannon that there was no way they could possibly consider putting a live mic in her hand to give an acceptance speech. Also, he noted that if his kids Googled her name to find out about her, a lot of stuff would be returned that probably kids shouldn’t be searching for. And that’s really the sad part in all of this, because I know it would have been such an emotional acceptance speech that would be remembered for years to come.
She didn’t have an easy road to the heights she reached in WWE, and she certainly had quite the fall from grace…hopefully now, WWE might consider inducting her, unfortunately you’ll still come up with the same results when you search her out on Google.
Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!