Today marks the passing of Joan Marie Laurer, known in the wrestling world as ‘Chyna’. I wanted to share my thoughts on my memories of watching her whilst I was growing up, as well as, to give everyone an idea of why she was such an important person within the wrestling industry.
Chyna was a key figure in the ‘Attitude Era’ of WWE. As a member of the popular stable ‘DX’ she would always be present during matches and promos. When she was introduced to WWE she was a silent performer, rarely uttering a word and existing as more of an entourage to Triple H. Immediately she demonstrated her strength as a competitor and over time began to pick up singles victories left, right and centre in the women’s division. She revolutionised the division and paved the way for many of the fantastic female competitors you see now.
Chyna achieved feats that no other female competitor has achieved before in the WWE and the field of wrestling in general. For instance, Chyna is the only woman to have ever held the Intercontinental championship and most likely will remain so.
This of course means that Chyna regularly competed with male superstars, having defeated Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle and Triple H in singles competition. She also competed in mixed tag matches, most memorably with DX and with Eddie Guerrero.
When I remember Chyna I do not consider the hard times she had in later life or the struggles that we heard of throughout more recent years, I remember her as I did when I was a kid growing up; an absolute star. I remember forgetting very quickly the novelty of Chyna defeating male superstars, I just remember her being an absolute legend in the WWE.
My absolute favourite memory of Chyna will always be of her entrance at Wrestlemania X7 (17). Chyna had returned to singles competition in the female division, she had a change of appearance, and had recently recovered from a neck injury at the time.
She brought a pyro gun out and made an incredible entrance, not to mention her outfit was very memorable too. Chyna went on to win that match and become Women’s champion again, on the grandest stage of them all.
I am saddened by her passing, at such a young age. But I am comfortable in the knowledge that her legacy will live on. You just have to look at the women competing these days and see how incredible they are as performers. Women are taken seriously as competitors now in the WWE and elsewhere in the wrestling world, and you can thank Chyna for being a crucial part of that.
I would also like to add that I feel it would only be fitting for Chyna to be posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame for the class of 2017. This is just a thought, but I honestly believed this before she had passed and will continue to believe so.
If you had never seen Chyna perform before, I honestly recommend it. She was an incredible performer and it’s worth watching.
RIP Joan Marie Laurer (AKA Chyna)