RIP Joanie “Chyna” Laurer

Remembering Chyna


 Rest in Peace
Joanie “Chyna” Laurer
(12/27/1970 – 04/20/2016)

It was while I was at the movie theatre watching the new “Jungle Book”, when I heard the sad news. I quickly looked at my phone to see a text message from my cousin asking me if I heard that Chyna has died. I lost all focus on Mowgli’s journey in the jungle, saddened to hear that one of the legends of my childhood was no longer with us. I originally thought it was a hoax, or a rumour that has yet been confirmed. On the other hand, I think I was just trying to force myself to believe that this new couldn’t be true. I am not going to sit here and act like I was the biggest Chyna fan of all-time, however I was a fan of hers and believe her impact on the business as a woman was immeasurable. Also, in the past 5 years, I feel like a lot of the legends from my childhood are quickly getting booked for the big wrestling event in the sky and leaving us too soon.
If you followed my Instagram page, you will know I never once have said a bad thing about Joanie “Chyna” Laurer. I have never once focused on the demons she dealt with or the decision she made during her life after her wrestling career. I have never judged Joanie for her opinions or anything else. Nobody is perfect, and celebrities have way more eyes watching them than a regular person in society, therefore its unfair to judge them on their every decision in life. Think about how you would feel in their position. Therefore as a wrestling fan, I have always chose to remember Joanie in the form any actual fan of wrestling should remember a wrestler as. I chose to remember Joanie as Chyna, an iconic figure of women’s wrestling and a staple of the Attitude Era and the Monday Night Wars. That is what I am going focus on in the blog as well.


Chyna was trained by Killer Kowalski and had offers from both the WWF and WCW early on. Nearly signing with WCW, Chyna ended up getting hired by the WWE in a last minute change of mind. I remember when Chyna made her debut attacking Terri “Marlena” Runnels from the crowd, during Triple H’s feud with Goldust. I remember witnessing that and wondering “who that guys was?”. Thais not a dig at Chyna, but the fact that I have never seen woman as muscular and large as her. It was one of the things that made Chyna stand out. It allowed Chyna to break barriers. I might even go as far as saying it was Chyna’s background in body building and physique where factors that landed her a job with the WWE. Also, in that time, most of the male stars had long hair, and so did Chyna. It wasn’t until her second attack on Marlena on Raw, where she dangled her like a rag doll, when I realized she was a woman. China was brought in as the smug Hunter Hearst Hemsley’s bodyguard and it was believable. Chyna would protect Triple H and help him win matches by cheating usually by executing her trademark lowblow.
Chyna would go on being a founding member of DGeneration-X. A rebellious group that came together when Shawn Michales took Triple H under his wing, playing off their real-life behind the scenes friendship, to cause chaos in the WWE. Chyna was involved with many of DX’s shenanigans, and always kept a straight face regardless what goofy and stilly the things they were up to. Chyna was important part of DX, because she always had their back regardless what trouble the two found themselves in.Chyna continued being a part of DX as the faction grew and changed after Michaels departure. After Shawn Michaels left due to a career ending back injury (he would return in the ring five years later), DX grew with X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws becoming the newest members under Triple H’s leadership. However, one thing remained the same. If you were up against a member of DX, you always had to keep an eye out for Chyna. 660xNx08_WWE_Encyclopedia_672--ba87f8cf26e0ef5cde74cdca86645e05-1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.W99yTBOnyJ

It was during this period of the reformed DX where Chyna first spoke, as well as becoming a character with more emotions. Chyna began to have her own storylines separate from DX such as when she became the love interest of Mark Henry. Chyna continued to be prominent in having her own storylines throughout the rest of her career. Chyna was featured in storylines until the end of her career against both men and women. Chyna was the first female that had the ability to over-power male superstars, which in return put her in matches and storylines up against the boys. Regardless, how feminine she could be, a side of her she showed more later in her career, she was able to hold her own against the guys. The perfect example would be when she was the Mammacita girlfriend to “Latino Heat” Eddie Guerrero, but when tensions arose between the two of them, she was also able to wrestle competitively against Guerrero.

Moving forward, Chyna continued breaking more barriers for women in the industry, which lead to her to become known as the “9th Wonder of the World”. Chyna was the first ever woman to enter the Royal Rumble in 1999. Chyna was the first ever women to be a number one contender and wrestle for the WWE Championship. Chyna was the first ever female Intercontinental Champion. Chyna was the first ever female to qualify for the King of the Ring tournament. Also, as mentioned before Chyna was a founding member of DX. These are all accomplishments nobody can take away from Chyna. No other woman in the wrestling industry can have claim to any of those achievements. Chyna was also a former women’s champion and a popular figure in pop culture during the boom in wrestling in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Chyna was a woman, other females could look up too as role model or a woman who made it in a male dominated world. Chyna’s look and power left an impact on me as a child, as I had never seen a woman like her before. Chyna’s entrance in the final years of her career shooting pyro out of her gun was one of my favourite entrances. Chyna was an attraction and a believable force to be reckoned with. Chyna was such an attraction that when she made appearances in NJPW and TNA, it had wrestling fans attention. It’s all these achievements and attributes, that I will remember Chyna for. It is what I remembered her for up until this day.

Chyna was a pioneer in women’s wrestling and trailblazer in the wrestling business. Chyna’s star shone bright and her legacy in the industry in undeniable. It saddens me that she won’t be alive to give her own Hall of Fame speech, a moment we all know she would have loved and cherished. I know for many fans of hers, there is a bad taste left with them about Chyna being inducted in the Hall of Fame now, only after her passing. However, it doesn’t mean she still should not be inducted into the Hall of Fame at all. In my mind she deserved it before and she still deserves it now. May Chyna’s career and accomplishment in wrestling be recognized and appreciated by her peers and fans. I know for a fact, Chyna is one of those wrestlers that no one will ever forget. Thank you Chyna.  I know during her post wrestling career, she struggled with a lot of demons and problems. Although, that may not be how I will remember Chyna, may she finally rest in peace. Chyna was truly a one of a kind superstar.