The wrestling world was saddened by the news late last night that WWE pioneer Chyna, was found dead at her apartment in Redondo Beach, California. After going a couple of days missing, Chyna’s body was found by a friend, and police were called to the scene.
What can I say, Chyna’s contributions to the world of wrestling are immense. Never has there been such a dominant female figure in the world of pro wrestling. Her accomplishments speak for themselves; 2 time Intercontinental Champion (only female to do so), Women’s Champion, Royal Rumble entrant and so many other tremendous achievements. A Hall of Fame induction is an absolute must, as never has the WWE universe laid eyes on such a dominant woman.
This article will celebrate the life of Chyna by looking at some lesser known facts you may not have known about the 9th Wonder of the World. From majoring in Spanish Literature to finishing last in Body Building Competitions, this article will shed some light on things you may not have been aware of. Here are 13 things you never knew about WWE’s Chyna. Enjoy!
13) Before the WWE: Belly Dancer to Flight Attendant
Long before she became a household name, Chyna struggled to find a career that she was deeply passionate about. After her return to North America, the 9th Wonder of the World took a job as a cocktail waitress in a strip club. She would also join a band as the lead singer and work on a chat hotline. Following these brief jobs, Chyna wanted something more stable and career oriented, so she took courses to be a flight attendant. On her way to her first flight, the former WWE star was involved in a car accident, spending 4 days in a hospital bed. When she got out it was back to square one, working as a belly dancer and selling beepers.
12) Bodybuilding Career
It’s no secret that Chyna was a genetic freak and this was quite evident during her WWE debut. Wrestling crowds had never seen such a physique on a woman before. The former Intercontinental Champion fell in love with bodybuilding during high school. Once she graduated from college, Chyna would begin to enter fitness competitions regularly. Unfortunately, due to her size, Chyna would see herself finish last in most of the competitions. Lucky for Laurer, her huge size would eventually get her a job with the WWE.
11) Almost Signed with WCW
Had it not been for the late Killer Kowalski, Chyna’s legacy could have been built with WCW instead of the WWE. According to Kowalski, Chyna’s former trainer, after he introduced the 9th Wonder of the World to Shane McMahon, he made it very clear that the WCW was very interested in bringing her in as a part of the nWo stable, which was the hottest commodity in all of pro wrestling at the time. Hearing this news, Shane urged his dad to get Chyna signed quickly before the company lost another wrestler to their rival company.
10) Vince McMahon Initially Wasn’t a Fan
It took Vince a lot of convincing before Chyna was actually signed to a deal with the company. After WWE wrestlers Triple H and Shawn Michaels brought up the idea, McMahon thought it was a joke or a prank on him. Vince instantly shut down the idea when it was first proposed. Thankfully, Shane McMahon saw potential in the idea, and he then relayed the information to the WWE’s head writer Vince Russo, who was also a big fan of the idea. After weeks and weeks of convincing by Michaels, Hunter, Russo and Shane, Vince finally agreed and Laurer was signed to a deal. She made her WWE debut on February 16th, 1997.
9) Triple H and Shawn Michaels Paved the Way
Triple H and Shawn Michaels initially saw huge potential in Chyna. Vince informed the group that they needed a bodyguard, and Laurer was the group’s first choice. Michaels and Hunter found it to be so bizarre, and Degeneration-X liked having an alpha-female by their side. In the midst of a wacky, circus-like Attitude Era, the idea turned out to be absolutely golden. This would pave the way for Chyna in the future, and she would go on to become a pioneer in the women’s division. One thing’s for sure, we will never have a female wrestler as dominant as Chyna. Her legacy will be remembered forever.
8) Origins of Her Name
Weeks after her debut, the WWE finally decided to give Laurer a name on live television. She was introduced to the world as Chyna. This was a play on words by the WWE; fine china means fragile and delicate, which was the exact opposite of her gimmick and character. Soon after, her wrestling name became one of the most popular and well known amongst all of the wrestlers on the roster.
7) Wrestled in Japan and TNA Wrestling
After her dismissal from the WWE in 2001, Chyna returned to the ring the very next year joining New Japan Pro Wrestling. After a couple of months with the wrestling promotion, Laurer came back to North America where she would work in the adult entertainment industry. Later on, after more than a decade outside of the ring, Chyna made her return to pro wrestling signing a deal with TNA Wrestling. Her involvement was brief but impactful, working storylines with Mick Foley, Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett.
6) Best Selling Author
Chyna’s popularity was quite evident, as never had there been a female that dominant in the history of the company. Laurer’s public popularity reached new heights after her first autobiography If They Only Knew, became a New York Times bestseller instantly. The book discussed a side of Chyna that wrestling fans had not seen before. The book touched on her difficult upbringing as a child living in an abusive family. Chyna was enjoying some serious success at the time of her book release. Just one year before, Chyna had made headlines all over the entertainment world for her nude shoot with Playboy magazine in November of 2000.
5) Almost appeared in Terminator
This is a lesser known fact about Chyna; the former WWE star was almost cast in a role for Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. Laurer was flaming hot at time with her new book and Playboy spread going viral. Unfortunately, Chyna would lose the role to Kristanna Loken. Laurer would stay in the entertainment industry appearing as a host for Robot Wars and making several appearances on other shows, such as Hollywood Squares. Her biggest role came in 2005 as a housemate on the VH1 hit reality show, The Surreal Life.
4) Majored in Spanish Literature
Laurer attended the University of Tampa, graduating in 1992 with a major in Spanish Literature, believe it or not. She also studied other languages; French and German. Chyna’s initial plan was to use her language skills for a future career with the FBI or a Drug Enforcement Administration. She would end up joining the Peace Corps where she was assigned to Guatemala. After she returned home from her assignment, Laurer changed her focus on making quick money, and this ultimately put her dreams on the back-burner.
3) Rehab at 16
As we discussed earlier in this article, Chyna had a difficult childhood growing up. Laurer was involved in an abusive family (her father stabbed her mother when she was young). Her parents divorced when she was only 4, and her biological father was an alcoholic. Thankfully, the two were able to put things aside before his passing. Laurer would go on to have three different step-fathers, as she was also consistently moving with her mother. At the age of 16, the troubled teen had a drug addiction, and her mother tried to convince her to check into a drug rehabilitation center. This caused Chyna to instead move away to her father’s. Laurer spent her final year of high school in Spain.
2) Released Against Her Own Will
While some claim Chyna asked to be released, it was discovered that Laurer was kicked out of the company against her own will. Things began to spiral after Triple H and Stephanie McMahon were involved in an affair. After Laurer found out, she rushed McMahon’s office crying in disbelief. Vince told her to go home for a couple of weeks, and he also told her that a new contract would be faxed to her. Instead, weeks later while cooling off at home, Chyna got a fax indicating her dismissal from the company. For years, the former Intercontinental Champion was extremely bitter about the way things ended with the company.
1) A Pioneer in the Wrestling Business
To put it quite simply, Chyna was an innovator in the wrestling business. Her accomplishments will never be duplicated. Some of her groundbreaking accomplishments include the first ever female entrant at the Royal Rumble in 1999, first ever female King of the Ring entrant, first ever female WWE Championship number one contender (which she would eventually lose to Mankind), and the first ever female two-time Intercontinental Champion. Chyna will go down in history as the most dominant female in WWE history.
Her legacy will last forever in the hearts of millions of wrestling fans all over the world. Thank you, Chyna!