So I was going to write about what side I was going to be on when Captain America and Iron Man duke it out in Marvel’s upcoming film, Captain America: Civil War. This is a movie that I have been waiting for ever since the first trailer came out and the excitement has been building up and I just can’t wait for Wednesday so I can finally watch it! However, something much more important than watching comic book superheroes fight each other came up. And that would be the news that the WWE’s 9th Wonder of the World, Chyna, passed away a few days ago.
To call Chyna, actually Joanie Laurer in real life, as one of the most popular female wrestlers of the Attitude Era would be undercutting her iconic status. To me, Joanie Laurer was more than just another female wrestler. No, Chyna was something incredibly unique and wasn’t really seen in the WWE before. Even when she made her debut by attacking Marlena from the crowd, you could see there was something special about her.
Now, I didn’t actually see her debut then but I did see her as the years passed by. I fondly remember her being the silent and menacing bodyguard of Triple H and a member of D-Generation X. Even with her in D-Generation X, Chyna would stand out as, while Triple H and Shawn Michaels would be mucking about and performing sophomoric acts, she would just be there in the background, arms folded and just look tough, which just made the 9th Wonder of The World look all the more tougher!
And I think that’s probably why it was so easy to notice Chyna. Although she was a female, she was incredibly intimidating, even for the other male wrestlers! In her prime, Chyna had muscle upon muscles! And, if you looked at the history of the WWE, most of their female talent all looked sexy and cute. They were all slim and wrestled like high flyers and/or technical wrestlers would. But not Chyna! No, Chyna had the brawn to not only dominate other women through pure power!
Oddly enough, the WWE didn’t promote Chyna as a monster that would dominate the women’s division. No, they promoted Chyna as a brute force monster that could stand toe-to-toe against any man! Yes, instead of simply relegating her to face off against other women competitors, they made Chyna compete in matches against other men! This was pretty shocking for my young mind when I first saw a woman taking on men because… I’ve never seen anything like that happen before!
And Chyna didn’t just take on the male wrestlers in the WWE. She dominated them! Chyna became the first ever female participant in the 30-“man” Royal Rumble. She even participated in a handicap match against two men. Okay, the two men were the comedy duo of Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco. But that was still pretty amazing to see a women take on two men at the same time in a WWE ring!
But the most impressive feat Chyna ever did had to be becoming the Interncontinental Champion. I remember watching it on television and just in awe at the result! She is the only female wrestler to ever win the Intercontinental Champion belt, a title that’s usually reserved for men because of how the WWE was (and is) still making sure that genders didn’t cross with their titles. Her winning the belt was a landmark moment in the history of the WWE. Oh, and she actually became the Intercontinental Champion not just once, but twice!
She also kind of redefined how people see women as well. Even in these modern times, women are supposed to have an angelic aura around them. They’re not supposed to be muscular and strong. But Chyna? She was pretty much the opposite of the female stereotype. And I think this was part of why people still found her sexy in her own way. She pretty much proved that when Playboy approached the WWE and Chyna so she can have a spread in the magazine!
Unfortunately, her life after the WWE has not been that stellar in the eyes of most fans. Soon after she left the WWE, her life took a downward spiral. She tried her hand at acting but never really became a star. A sex tape of her with Sean “X-Pac” Waltman was released and pretty much relegated her to the life of a porn star as most of her on-screen roles have been all about having on-screen sex… usually dressed as She-Hulk.
She’s also been very vocal about the WWE and a lot of it has to deal with her relationship with Triple H. You see, before Triple H married Stephanie McMahon and became part of The Authority, he used to date Chyna. But, after The Game shacked up with the boss’ daughter, it seems like the WWE simple lost interest with the 9th Wonder of the World and actually distanced themselves from her as well.
Coupled with her being a porn star, her negative opinion of the company has probably prevented her from being inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame. But I think Triple H and the WWE shouldn’t look at what happened to her after she left the company. Rather, they should show her the respect she deserves by emphasizing all of the good she’s done for the WWE and wrestling in general.
I think Chyna may have been one of the biggest reasons why I became a fan. She wasn’t your typical woman wrestler. She had an iconic presence and proved that women in wrestling can also be tough enough to compete with the men. She paved the way for other women wrestlers like Beth Phoenix, Jazz and Awesome Kong/Kharma to break into the business and show that women don’t have to be in their own division or just frail little flowers who can’t compete with the men.
RIP Chyna. There will never be another 9th Wonder of the World.
Well, now that’s done, I’ll return to the scheduled topic of who I sided with in Captain America: Civil War!
Any memories of Chyna? Let me know in the comments section below!