We watch in awe and amazement of thing professional athletes do. Even that employee or classmate that may excel in many areas receives some type of praise. A typical phrase that is used is “you’re the man!” Joanie Marie Laurer otherwise known as Chyna was and is the woman!
There are many great memories of Chyna as performer. Against men and women Chyna always gave a top notch performance. She has singles victories over former world champions like Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho. Chyna is the only woman in history to hold the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Chyna was also the first woman to participate in the Royal Rumble and King of the ring events.
She is one of the most unique if not the most unique woman in the history of wrestling. She started off as Triple H’s female bodyguard. That wasn’t a route that has been taken before. Here is a cocky heel fresh on the scene and he has a muscular woman to hide behind. That is gold. That draws heat. Chyna looked and acted the part too. DX doing their typical crazy shenanigans and Chyna never flinched. She was a stoic female enforcer. I can’t think of a performer who throws a meaner looking low blow either.
Later in her career Chyna evolved and became the late great Eddie Guerrero’s on screen girlfriend. This storyline showed another dimension to her character. It was like Chyna went from bodyguard to babe overnight. As controversial as it may be, posing for playboy helped her with this dimension of her character. She feuded with Right to censor member Ivory. The faction Right to censor was a bunch that tried to get rid of anything inappropriate of WWE television. They were a morally conservative heel stable. Holier than thou heel stable paired with playboy model in a storyline makes for good television. The faction was the perfect foil for Chyna.
Women are more relevant now in pop culture and sports more than ever. We see that in the wrestling business as a whole. They aren’t ‘divas’ anymore. They are superstars just like the male performers. The Women’s roster just got a new championship belt. The design is gorgeous. The champion Charlotte fits the bill as woman and not a diva. Lita was a great choice to present that new title to Charlotte. This is no complaint. This is no knock on Lita who is top 3 greatest women in wrestling history. How cool would it have been if Chyna and WWE had a working relationship for one night in order for Chyna to present that new women’s title? She never got that strong one off comeback.
Let’s address the well known elephant in the room; we all are aware of that fact that Laurer was an adult film star. You can Google search her and find explicit content. What you find on a Google search should have nothing to do with evaluating a wrestler/sports entertainer and their impact on the genre. One can argue when you are away from the wrestling business you have the freedom to work in any industry you want. I get it from a business standpoint. WWE can’t afford bad PR.
We know that she had some type of personal issues with the higher ups in WWE. I have enough faith and optimism that Chyna will get inducted into the hall of fame sometime in the future. Reconciliation happens all the time in the sports entertainment industry. Bret Hart mended things after the screw job. Ultimate Warrior (may God rest his soul) returned and got his hall of fame induction. One can only believe that Chyna will get hers. Remember the Chyna that contributed to the success of one of the greatest stables in history. Celebrate the Chyna that was a pioneer for women in wrestling.