When we talk about true pioneers and mavericks, Chyna’s name will be right at the top. While the entire world is currently abuzz about women breaking the norm and creating a path for themselves, Chyna, whose real name is Joanie Laurer did exactly that in the late 90s.
As the story goes, Vince McMahon was initially hesitant to hire Chyna, believing that the fans wouldn’t buy into a woman defeating men in professional wrestling. However, Chyna made a name for herself as the “Ninth Wonder of the World” – and for all the women in the industry, she truly was.
Reports are coming in that the former WWE Women’s Champion, and a multiple time WWE Intercontinental Champion was found dead in her home, with the official cause of death yet to be released. Chyna gained popularity as the stone faced enforcer of Triple H, and as the founding member of the D – Generation X faction. Chyna would get involved in Triple H’s bouts, and would more often than not bring down the superstars with low blows.
Redefining the role of women in the industry
Chyna’s entry into WWE couldn’t have come at a better time. The organization was going through major changes, with the Attitude Era taking off. Outlandish feuds and storylines were being booked, with car crash TV taking precedence over anything else. It was also at this time that WWE “Divas” such as Sunny became eye candies, but Chyna’s entry into professional wrestling helped not only the industry, but the women who dreamt about being professional wrestlers around the world.
Chyna became the first woman to achieve many things in the company – first woman to enter the Royal Rumble match, first woman to win the prestigious WWE Intercontinental Championship and the first woman to become the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to name a few. Chyna was a trailblazer, and her contributions to women’s wrestling resulted in the likes of Lita and Trish Stratus of yester – year, and Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Bayley of this generation to be appreciated as women’s wrestlers, rather than “divas”.
Chyna’s trouble with substance abuse and her demons
Ever since Chyna left WWE, she has been dealing with various issues – her substance addiction took a turn for the worse, and while Chyna remained relevant, it was due to her strained relationship with Triple H and her real life rivalry with Stephanie McMahon.
Chyna then tried entering the world of adult movies, while the wrestling fraternity turned away from someone who was in dire need of help. While Chyna remains as one of the most popular figures from the Attitude Era, she is the latest casualty in a year which has already seen many deaths in the industry.
Chyna’s troubled past is also a grim reminder of what the superstars go through after their wrestling careers come to an end. WWE also commented on the death of the superstar via WWE.com.
“WWE is saddened to learn of reports that Joanie Laurer, best known for competing in WWE as Chyna, has passed away.
A physically striking and talented performer, Chyna was a true sports-entertainment pioneer. Not only was the Superstar dubbed “The Ninth Wonder of the World” a founding member of the groundbreaking faction D-Generation X, but she also holds the distinction of being the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble Match and the first and only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship.”
At this time, our thoughts and prayers go out to Chyna’s family and friends.
#RipChyna ???????????? all of us on team Chyna love you and will love you forever babe.
— Chyna (@ChynaJoanLaurer) April 21, 2016