It was announced on April 21st that former WWE superstar Chyna had died. Joan Marie Laurer (her real name) was a groundbreaking performer in the ring and the inspiration for many female athletes that entered the ring after her. Anytime you say that a performer was the first woman to accomplish something in the professional wrestling ring you are probably talking about Chyna.
Unfortunately, despite her successes, it seems that her last days may not have been so good for her. This will become more evident as you read the list, but after she left the ring she ran into some troubled times. Some of them were her own doing, and some of them weren’t. But that’s not all that we will focus on here today. Once she left the WWE they did everything they could to make us forget that she even existed. So today what we will do is give her a little tribute and remind everyone of a few things that the WWE wants us to forget. Some of them good and some of them not so good. But they should be remembered either way because during her life she accomplished more than any other woman has inside the ring, and that's worth acknowledging. May she rest in peace.
10 Chyna Deserves a Spot in the Hall of Fame
Any woman that climbs into the professional wrestling ring and does what Chyna did, deserves to be in the Hall of Fame and that is without question or hesitation. When you pave the road for future superstars that means you have accomplished some great things in your career. No matter what you did after it. If you are a woman and you win a men’s championship, twice, you also deserve to be there.
But they don’t want her there based on what she did after she left the ring. Triple H once appeared on a Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast and said “Does she deserve to go into the Hall Of Fame? Absolutely. It’s not just as easy as should this person go in the Hall Of Fame. She’s a paradigm shifter, changed the business, did what no other woman had ever done before. All the other stuff that happened, happened, and I don’t need to get into any of the other stuff, there’s no beef on this side.”
What he was referring to was her adult film career after she left the ring. He talked about what would be found if people Googled her name. Well one thing that they would find, Mr. Triple H, is that you beat her, but we’ll talk about that later.
9 Chyna Was Supposed to Beat Steve Austin for the WWE Title
During the late 90s and early 2000s Stone Cold Steve Austin was the top dog in the WWE. Fans loved him and wherever he appeared there was a sellout crowd. The company wanted him to drop the championship on a few different occasions but Austin didn’t want to. He was involved in a real-life feud at the time with Triple H and the company wanted Austin to lose the title to him, but Austin was completely against it. So the WWE put a plan in motion to have Chyna beat Austin at the 1999 SummerSlam event for the WWE Championship. How Austin was more ok losing his championship to a woman rather than to Triple H is really a mystery. But the WWE thought enough of Chyna to have her be their champion.
To set up the match they had her beat her then boyfriend, Triple H, to become the #1 contender for the title. But the WWE chickened out and changed the title match to a Triple Threat match for the title between Austin, Mankind and Triple H. Austin lost the title when he was pinned by Mankind.
The fact that they wanted Chyna to be the champion, and actually put it in motion before changing their mind, shows you what they thought of her at the time. So they can try to pretend that she never existed but at one point the company obviously held her in very high regard.
8 Chyna Was in a Relationship With Triple H for Years
From 1996 until 2000 Chyna was in a very serious relationship with Triple H. They lived together and were actually engaged. Chyna’s Wikipedia page says "From 1996 until 2000, Laurer (Chyna) dated fellow wrestler Paul "Triple H" Levesque. They initially hid their relationship from their co-workers because Laurer felt that people might think she ‘slept her way to the top.’ The duo also lived together for some time."
It was reported that the couple became engaged in real life during the on-screen love triangle story that involved Stephanie McMahon. But this on screen story was one of the main reasons that eventually led to the real life breakup of the couple. There have been several allegations, many by Chyna herself, that say Triple H cheated on her in real life with McMahon.
7 Chyna Was the First Woman to Take Part in a Royal Rumble
During her career in the ring Chyna was the first woman to do a lot of things. In 1999 she was the first woman to ever enter the Royal Rumble.
WWE put on a match that was going to determine who would be the 30th participant in the Royal Rumble that year. It included several people from the DX group going up against the ‘Corporation’, who were a bunch of goons that were led by WWE owner Vince McMahon.
As the match wound down McMahon eliminated Triple H and the Big Boss Man. This was just another example of how they don’t even try anymore to hide the fact of how fake wrestling is. There is no way that would have happened if things were on the up and up. But that’s another story.
McMahon thought that he had won the match but then Chyna emerged and made her way to the ring. With the help of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Chyna eliminated McMahon to secure that 30th spot in the Royal Rumble.
6 The Celebrity Rehab Appearance
Just as many other celebrities have done, Chyna appeared on the reality show Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew in 2008. She went on the show to get help with her alcohol problem. This was yet another black eye for the WWE because they go to great lengths to hide any off screen issues that its stars or former stars may have.
Even though she was on the show because of an alcohol problem she stated live on camera that she didn’t think that she had a problem.
5 The Howard Stern Show Appearance
Chyna’s second time on the Howard Stern Show was much different from her first. She was near the top of the heap in the WWE when she first appeared on the show, but on her second appearance things were much different. She was going through one of the many troubled times in her life and it was obvious to everyone that she wasn’t doing well at all.
Whenever she talked she rambled on and a lot of what she said was incoherent. If you watch the video of the show it’s actually kind of sad the state that she was in. It is clear that she was under the influence of something. She removed her dress and did the interview naked and referred to Vince McMahon as Vince “McDick”. She also said that she was owed money and royalty checks. We don’t know if that was true at the time but it certainly wasn’t one of her better moments.
4 Chyna Poses for Playboy
When Chyna was at the top of her game she annoyed the WWE by posing for Playboy in their November 2000 issue. Since it was out there they had no choice but to try and work something related into a storyline. So the “Right To Censor” angle was created.
While on screen the company worked it into the scripts they clearly were not happy about it behind the scenes. Vince McMahon, as mentioned previously, goes to great lengths to keep any negative publicity away from the company.
3 Chyna Was A Two-Time Intercontinental Champion
The WWE certainly has many faults. That’s not opinion that’s just fact. But you do have to give them credit for allowing Chyna to hold the Intercontinental Championship on two separate occasions and even giving thought to letting her be their main champion.
In 2000 at No Mercy, Chyna beat then Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett to become the only woman to ever hold a men’s title. After she dropped the belt she became involved in an on-screen relationship with Eddie Guerrero, and the two got involved in a feud with the couple Val Venis and Trish Stratus.
At the 2000 SummerSlam event all of them were involved in an odd mixed tag team match. It was Venis, who was the Intercontinental Champion at the time, and his partner Stratus, going up against Chyna and Guerrero. Venis’ title was on the line during the match. When Chyna pinned Trish Stratus she became the Intercontinental Champion for a second time, despite the fact that she didn’t beat the actual champion.
2 Chyna’s Adult Films
If you think that the WWE was a bit angry after Chyna posed for Playboy, you can only imagine their level of anger when she started doing adult movies. Even though she was long gone from the company at the time, she will be forever tied to them because of what she accomplished in the ring.
She became an official adult entertainer with the Vivid movie Backdoor to Chyna. She had already made a couple of movies but this was the first mainstream film that she made.
Another Night in Chyna was released as a sequel to the first sex tape that was called “1 night in Chyna”. That one was released by Chyna and then boyfriend X-Pac (Sean Waltman). Both parties said that “Another Night” was for their own viewing entertainment, but if that is true you have to question why there was a cameraman filming it.
A couple of her other movies were called “The Avengers” (the title had a few X’s after it) and She Hulk. But the one that really drew the ire of the WWE was “Chyna is queen of the ring”. The movie takes place inside a wrestling ring and is a parody of several WWE wrestlers. Even someone playing the part of “Mean” Gene Okerlund gets into the action. Actors playing the parts of Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ric Flair, The Rock, The Iron Sheik, Bret Hart, John Cena and even Doink the Clown made fun of the WWE and how they banished Chyna from within their ranks. Can you imagine the look on Vince McMahon’s face when he saw this one? It must have been priceless.
1 She Claims Triple H Battered Her in Real Life
Chyna once appeared on a podcast with Vince Russo and she walked Russo through the day that Triple H beat her up. Here is the transcript of a piece of the interview:
RUSSO: “Were you and Hunter still together when he started the relationship with Stephanie [McMahon]?”
CHYNA: “Of course. We were planning to get married. We had a huge house in New Hampshire. I thought his career was moving up, and he was having a lot of meetings with Vince and working the storyline. I was so proud of him for finally getting to that spot that he wanted so badly.”
RUSSO: “There’s still part of me that defends the old Hunter. The Hunter I knew back then, because he was such a nice guy, he did not want to hurt you. He could not bring himself to let you know what was going on, because he really didn’t want to hurt you.”
CHYNA: “That’s great, but you … don’t punch girls, and you don’t treat them like that, and ruin their entire career and life, and never speak another word to them. Aside from saying they don’t want their 8-year-old looking up on Google about your past.”
RUSSO: “Walk me through that day.”
CHYNA: “I think Hunter’s plan was to get me to leave the relationship first. That way he could start dating Stephanie and everything would be cool. We got into a heated argument. We were not getting along. I told him ‘I know something’s going on; don’t tell me something’s not going on.’ He swiped my hand, I swiped his hand, and then he hit me. And that’s a deal-breaker for me. The relationship is now over. After that I know that he was crying, and I know that he felt bad that he hit me. I was just in shock; it felt like a Jerry Springer moment, it was very surreal. I just couldn’t believe that he hit me.”
Triple H has been a mainstay of the WWE for a very long time and as a result of some of the other off-screen incidents that stars have had, Vince McMahon could not have been too happy about that at all. Chyna obviously only reports one side of the story and we all know that there are always three sides to every story: each party’s version and then the truth. We may never know the entire truth of what happened that day, but even if she was tough enough to go up against men in the ring, she should never have had to do it at home.
Chyna had an outstanding career when she was in the ring. After she left the business she didn’t always make the right decisions but after what was done to her by the WWE, who could blame her for doing some of the things that she did. One does what they have to do to survive. While things didn’t turn out for her as she had probably hoped, she should never be forgotten for the things that she accomplished in the ring. Maybe wrestling is mostly fake but the fact is that if she wasn’t one of the best in the business, male and female included, she wouldn’t have risen to the heights that she did back then. And that should always be remembered.
Sources: wrestlezone.com, dnaindia.com, yahoo.com, cbsnews.com, ewrestlingnews.com
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