The Trailblazing Career Of Chyna
For a video on this topic and many other pro wrestling documentaries, check out my YouTube Channel: The 9th Wonder Of The World, Chyna
In the dynamic world of professional wrestling, few names have left as profound a mark as Chyna. Born Joanie Laurer, this formidable athlete redefined what it meant to be a female wrestler in WWE during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Chyna's remarkable presence, physical prowess, and trailblazing achievements shattered gender barriers, earning her the title of the "Ninth Wonder of the World."
Chyna's rise to prominence began in 1997 when she made her WWE debut as the imposing bodyguard for Triple H. She quickly became a pivotal member of D-Generation X, one of the most influential factions in wrestling history and challenging the traditional portrayal of women in the industry.
In this article, we will explore the glory of WWE's Chyna, highlighting her ground-breaking accomplishments, her impact on women's wrestling, and her enduring legacy. She proved that women could be more than valets or managers – they could be dominant forces in their own right.
Chyna's ground-breaking moment came in 1999 when she entered the Royal Rumble, becoming the first and only woman to compete in the male-dominated event. This feat demonstrated her fearlessness and shattered stereotypes, proving that women could go toe-to-toe with male competitors and thrive in the wrestling world.
Beyond her involvement with male wrestlers, Chyna was a formidable competitor in the women's division. Chyna's wrestling ability, combined with her charisma and captivating presence, made her a role model for aspiring female wrestlers and fans worldwide.
Her influence extended beyond her in-ring accomplishments. Chyna's persona inspired young girls to embrace their strength and individuality, encouraging them to pursue their dreams, regardless of societal norms or gender expectations. She exemplified the mantra that "anything men can do, women can do too" – and she did it with unmatched grace.
Chyna's presence in WWE served as a catalyst for change, challenging long-standing gender norms within the wrestling industry. Her portrayal as a strong and independent woman paved the way for other female athletes to break free from traditional moulds and showcase their talent on a grand stage.
Chyna's contribution to women's wrestling can be seen in the Women's Evolution era that followed, where WWE began emphasizing the in-ring ability and character development of female wrestlers. Her influence helped shatter the glass ceiling for women in wrestling, fostering an environment where female competitors are celebrated for their skills and dedication to the craft, not just their looks.
THE BIRTH OF A WONDER
Usually when I cover the often sad and tragic real-life stories of these beloved pro wrestlers. I would research their early years and give you a small introduction into the place of their birth, where they grew up and how that eventually transitioned into training to get into the ring.
However, this isn’t that sort of story. To understand what gave Joanie the physical skills and mental fortitude needed to become the 9th Wonder of The World and the family turmoil and deep sense of loss she would later go on to struggle with. We must first take a look at a where it all began.
Joanie Laurer was the third of 3 sisters when she was born two days after Christmas of 1969, in New York. Her first few years were engulfed in heated arguments and violent outbursts from both of her parents, who were both dealing with mental health issues and struggling with alcohol abuse problems. Things got so bad that during one furious tussle, her drunken father stabbed her mother in the leg with a kitchen knife, this led to her father threatening to end his own life.
By the time she was only 4, her parents had divorced. What had seemed like a nightmare environment for the development of a young child, was only about to become more unpredictable.
From 1973 Joanie. Her 2 sisters and mother would travel from town to town. Over the next 4 years there was no stability, seeing both of her biological parents re-marrying.
Attempting to return to some sort of normal life for her 3 children, Joanie’s mother enrolled her and her siblings at Penfield High School. However, during her time studying, Joanie would attract the attention of a paedophile teacher who attempted to kiss her and assault her on several occasions. A traumatic event which no innocent child should ever be subjected to.
The stress caused by this situation begun to harm Joanie’s mental health. Joanie wanted to regain some of the power in her life. It was at this time that she began struggling with a severe eating disorder and started to drastically lose weight.
She was losing belief in those around her, lacking trust in authority after seeing people in positions of control over her, regularly abuse that power. Her mother was depressed and unstable, her father suicidal and violent, and now this teacher had shown himself a disgusting person with his sexual misconduct.
Joanie began using recreational drugs as a means of escape. A year later her mother attempted to have her placed into a rehabilitation centre, something which the young woman refused on several occasions. By the age of 16 she had left her mother’s home and began living with her biological father and step-brothers.
Only months later, Joanie was accepted for a United Nations scholarship and finished her final year of high-school in Spain. A chance to escape was exactly what this young woman needed. Branching out with her own freedom, allowing her time to discover herself and decide what she wanted to be.
When she returned to the US, she attended and graduated from the University of Tampa where she used her time in Spain to her advantage. Joanie majored in Spanish literature and also spent her time learning French and German. After graduation didn’t want to return back to her troubled past. She quickly set to work enrolling in the Peace Corps and travelled to Guatemala and Costa Rica. It was here she found her love for entertaining children as she taught English. In her early 20s she returned to the US where she lived with her biological sister, whilst re-building her relationships with her other siblings. Joanie felt mentally healthy for the first time in years and seemed to have overcome her traumatic past with her eyes firmly set on the future. However, she had still not settled on exactly it was she wanted to spend her time doing.
Through her 20s, she tried just about every industry it is possible to work in. Joanie was a cocktail waitress in a seedy bar, she worked as bar staff at a strip club, was the singer in a band and even had a stint as a late-night worker on a 900 number adult phone line. She sold pagers with her sister, and the pair even took jobs as belly dancers at one point.
Another tragedy seemed just around the corner for Joanie as she applied for a job as a flight assistant. After getting the job, she was excited as she drove to the airport for her first flight. However, on the way she was involved in a horrific road-traffic collision and spent a week in hospital.
Now Joanie had finally managed to overcome her initial struggles with her mental health, but had suffered damage to her physical wellbeing and felt as if she was back at square one.
BUILDING A WONDER 1996
During her time living with her biological father, her step-brothers were extremely enthusiastic about working out in the gym and started to encourage their younger sister to do the same. In 1995 Joanie began to see the physical changes driven by her hard work and felt as if she was once again taking control back over her own life.
“I think I was given a genetic gift to be 5’10” and to have a big frame,” she explained. “I took that to a different level and developed the body of an elite female athlete. I put that at the forefront so people can really relate to that because maybe there are other women out there want to look like I do, but they’re ridiculed, or they’re told that it’s not okay or what society deems is beautiful or you should starve yourself and look like a beanpole with fake breasts because that’s the only thing that’s going to get you looked at. It’s not true.” Chyna
In 1996 she began competing in local fitness competitions in and around New York. These competitions were a hybrid of dancing, aerobics and fitness routines, mixed with beauty pageantry and the women prancing around with unnatural smiles, dripping in fake tan to show off their perfectly sculpted bikini clad bodies. All to be judged by a small panel of over-weight, middle aged men who seemingly struggled to view the action through their clouds of thick cigar smoke.
As soon as Joanie appeared on the stage at these events, it was clear to everyone that she was different to all of the other competitors. Her dance routines were frantic and more fast-paced than the other women. Her jumps were higher, her running around flailing her arms was faster, her muscles were bigger and she was so much taller. If this was a real fight, Joanie could have eaten her rivals for breakfast and still had time to do whatever break-dancing parkour nightmare this is.
However, these competitions were also heavily marked on how pretty you are. How classically feminine and how sexually attractive these elderly men found you when they were marking their scoreboards.
And even if Joanie was a physical specimen at this time, an impressive example of hard-work and dedication to exercise and healthy living.
Even Antonio Inoki would say that she had a big chin.
And this was seemingly enough to have Joanie’s other physical attributed overlooked. In 1996 she placed dead last when she appeared at the prestigious Fitness America competition in New York and quickly realised that her unique physique would never be fully appreciated in the world of beauty pageantry. But had already began making her steps in a world were being a 5 foot 10, muscled clad beast of a woman, could make you into a world-wide star.
“Before I was ever a World Wrestling Federation superstar, that’s what I did,” she said. “I worked out, and that’s become part of my lifestyle and my job. Although I am the only woman who wrestles with the men, I have been able to hold my own and what we do is entertainment. However, I still get hit just as hard as the guys and I have to be able to pick them up and throw them around and maintain the body of an elite female athlete. I think there are more and more women out there working out now and we live in a fit society and women aren’t trying to look like Barbie anymore. They’re trying to look like Chyna, and I think that’s great.” Chyna
FIRST STEPS IN WRESTLING 1996
Her passion for fitness and countless hours in the gym, saw Joanie introduced to a personal trainer, a man who goes by a name that would be perfect for a wrestler; Gerry Blais. The two shared their dedication and eventually became involved in a romantic relationship with one another. This relationship would see Joanie stepping up her workout routines and driving to become more consistent in her approach to building her body.
The pair would regularly be in the gym twice a day, with their first session of weightlifting starting at 5am, before a rest period. Followed by extended time in the boxing ring during the afternoon and hours spent on treadmills in the evening. This dramatic increase in exercise saw Joanie grow gain 30 lbs of “all natural, all pure muscle,” Gerry Blais
Many of Chyna’s detractors can say what negative they want about the woman, but nobody can deny her sheer belief in herself and bravery to go out and try something new, even if it meant uprooting your life and moving to another state. She did just that with Gerry at her side along with all that hardly earned muscle she had packed on.
Joanie moved to Massachusetts and begun attending Killer Kowalski’s professional wrestling school.
“From the minute we walked through that door, he couldn’t stop staring at Joanie. He had this look in his eyes like, She’s different. She’s special. It was the weirdest chemistry I’ve ever seen. He knew. He just knew.” Gerry Blais
Something which would go on to change the rest of her life, but that Joanie admits was more brutal and unforgiving than she had ever anticipated before she first walked through those famous doors.
This moment is one of pure joy. Isn’t it one of life’s most ideal pleasures when you can witness someone in the right place at the right time, who had prepared in just the right way, find something that they love to do, which brings happiness to others and allows the person to use their unique set of skills to do just that.
Before he first match against a male cross-dressed wrestler, Joanie became Joanie Lee. She was booked by Fabulous Moolah in several local matches at this time. And it was clear. Joanie was destined to be a superstar. All of the things that had held her back in the past were aligning in her favour. She had found what she wanted to do and the people that she wanted to do it with.
In September of 1996 Joanie Lee became the International Wrestling Federation’s Women’s champion when she defeated Violet Flame. At the end of the year, she was awarded with the Professional Girls Wrestling Association’s rookie of the year.
A year later, in 1997 WWF was coming to Massachusetts. And all of this new found confidence pushed Joanie to make sure once again, she was in the right place at the right time.
THE BIG TIME
In January of 1997 Joanie Laurer got in her car with her muscles pumped and her focus solely on one goal. She had persuaded her wrestling trainer and WWE Hall of Famer Killer Kowolski to get her a chance at the big time. She arrived at the WWF show in Massachusetts and immediately fell in-love with the graduer of the event. After the matches had taken place the pair went backstage. It was here that Joanie waited for an hour until the pros started to leave the locker room.
With a lump in her throat, she pushed past a number of other fans who were waiting for autographs and introduced herself to non-other than Shawn Michaels and Triple H. The ease with which he had parted the large crowd and her dedication to making herself known, in any other business could be seen as rude and would probably get you removed from most job interviews. But this is not most jobs and this is not any other business. Its pro wrestling.
Triple H and Shawn were impressed and allowed Joanie to introduce herself.
This moment, that if Joanie had been shyer, or less physically dominant could have played out so differently, proved to be the most important in her life.
The two pros went back to their hotel, talking about this giant woman the entire car ride. The way she had expertly managed the crowd, gave the pair an idea. They wanted to been seen as huge celebrities every time they made their ways onto our television screens and as they entered the ring. And of course, all big-time A-listers have to have a bodyguard who keeps the grovelling masses from interacting with them. But other wrestlers had used enforcers, protectors and bodyguards for years. This was the attitude era and Shawn Michaels and Triple H wanted to lead that change. But what if their enforcer was a woman?
Killer Kowolski played no small part at this time too. He made contact with Shane McMahon and re-enforced what the son of the owner of WWF had been hearing from Triple H and Shawn backstage.
The following night, the WWE fans eagerly tuned in to Monday Night Raw, anticipating another memorable appearance from the enigmatic figure who had taken the wrestling world by storm. As the lights dimmed and the cameras panned to the ring, there she was – Chyna, the enforcer and bodyguard for the infamous D-Generation X, which had been co-founded by none other than the legendary Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
Chyna's original role in the promotion was that of a stoic, laconic presence, and she had quickly become an indispensable asset to D-Generation X. The rising villainous faction revelled in the chaos she brought to their rivals, often relying on her physically dominant presence to tip the scales in their favour. With a reputation for employing her trademark low blow to the groin, she unapologetically used every means necessary to secure victories for her team.
Aptly nicknamed "Chyna," the irony of the moniker was not lost on fans. Just like fine china, she had a unique allure and elegance about her, but her true strength lay in the sharp contrast between her delicate appearance and her formidable character. She had shattered stereotypes and proved that power and resilience could come in any form, male or female.
However, Chyna's journey to success was not without its challenges. Backstage, some of the male wrestlers initially hesitated to fully embrace the idea of a woman overpowering them in the ring. Wrestling had long been seen as a predominantly male domain, and her presence disrupted the traditional norms of the industry. Yet, as she continued to demonstrate her incredible athleticism and determination, the doubters began to respect her abilities, acknowledging that gender was no barrier to success in the squared circle.
During her eventful tenure as a prominent member of D-Generation X, Chyna found herself entangled in an intriguing and controversial romantic storyline with none other than Mark Henry, a formidable member of the rival stable known as the Nation of Domination. The saga began unfolding in August 1998 when The Rock, a prominent figure within the Nation, issued a humiliating directive to Henry: to kiss Chyna in front of the world, intending to belittle and embarrass her.
Ever the strong-willed and defiant character, Chyna didn't take this affront lying down. When Henry moved in to execute the forced kiss, she fiercely fought back, asserting her strength and independence, refusing to be objectified or manipulated. This unexpected resistance piqued Henry's interest, and he found himself drawn to Chyna, both captivated and intrigued by her spirit.
After her notable storyline with Henry, Chyna made history as the 30th entrant in the Royal Rumble, becoming the first woman ever to participate in the match. Soon after, she took a villainous turn by betraying Triple H and forming an alliance with his adversaries, Vince McMahon and Kane. At the St. Valentine's Day Massacre pay-per-view, Chyna teamed up with Kane to face their former allies, X-Pac and Triple H. During WrestleMania 15, she shockingly attacked Kane with a chair, seemingly re-joining DX (D-Generation X). However, later that evening, Chyna and Triple H revealed their true intentions by assisting Shane McMahon in defeating DX member X-Pac. This unexpected move led them to join forces with The Corporation and, subsequently, Shane McMahon's Corporate Ministry.
Following the dissolution of the Corporate Ministry, the villainous Chyna continued to stand by Triple H's side. However, their onscreen partnership eventually came to an end later that year.
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION 1999
In the captivating summer of 1999, the world of professional wrestling witnessed a ground-breaking moment as the trailblazing Chyna etched her name in history. The June skies bore witness to her triumphant journey as she emerged as the first woman to qualify for the prestigious King of the Ring tournament, marking a defining moment for gender equality within the WWF. While her ground-breaking achievement alone would have been enough to secure her legacy, Chyna was not one to rest on her laurels. Her incredible talents and relentless pursuit of greatness propelled her to new heights.
She made waves as the first woman ever to earn the coveted position of number one contender for the illustrious WWF Championship. However, fate had different plans, as the victory was snatched away by the crafty Mankind just before the fervent showdown of SummerSlam in August. Undeterred by the setback, Chyna's fanbase rallied around her during a dramatic feud with the formidable Jeff Jarrett later that year. The intensity of their rivalry came to a head on October 4, 1999, when Chyna fearlessly challenged the formidable British Bulldog to a thrilling match on Monday Night Raw. Displaying her unwavering determination, she emerged victorious in a spectacle that will forever be etched in the annals of wrestling history. At Unforgiven, Chyna's indomitable spirit led her to vie for the coveted WWF Intercontinental Championship against the crafty Jeff Jarrett. Despite her valiant efforts, the victory eluded her grasp on that fateful night. However, destiny had something grander in store for Chyna.
At the No Mercy pay-per-view event, Chyna had her shot at redemption and seized it with both hands. In an epic Good Housekeeping match on October 17, 1999, Chyna bravely battled her nemesis, Jeff Jarrett, and emerged triumphant, making history as the first and only woman ever to clinch the prestigious Intercontinental Championship. In a remarkable turn of events, Chyna also acquired the services of Miss Kitty, who had been the valet for her former foe, Jeff Jarrett. This alliance not only added a new dynamic to Chyna's character but also brought an exciting twist to her already captivating journey. Nonetheless, Chyna's ascent to greatness was not without challenges and controversies. Rumours swirled about Jarrett's demand of an exorbitant sum of $300,000 from WWF Chairman Vince McMahon to gracefully lose the title to a woman.
Nevertheless, this did not deter Chyna, as she fearlessly took on any challenge thrown her way, proving her mettle as a formidable force in the wrestling world. Chyna's gripping saga continued to unfold as she engaged in a fierce feud with the charismatic Chris Jericho over the coveted Intercontinental Championship. Their rivalry culminated in an explosive showdown at Survivor Series, where Chyna showcased her resilience and emerged victorious. However, wrestling is a world of unpredictability, and Chyna's reign as champion was not destined to last forever.
At Armageddon, she faced Jericho once again in a high-stakes battle that saw the title change hands, marking a bittersweet moment in her career. Yet, Chyna's tenacity and unwavering passion for the sport drove her to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. The fateful edition of SmackDown! on December 28 witnessed a controversial climax to their rivalry, as both warriors pinned each other simultaneously, leading to a declaration by the then "head of authority," Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, that they would be crowned as co-champions. The new year brought fresh challenges, as Chyna and Jericho were tasked with defending their co-champion status at the prestigious Royal Rumble pay-per-view event.
The stakes were high, with the formidable Hardcore Holly joining the fray in a Triple Threat match to determine the undisputed Intercontinental Champion. In an electrifying contest, Jericho emerged as the ultimate victor, ending Chyna's "co-champions" reign. Although the WWE no longer officially recognizes Chyna's co-champion status, her impact on the wrestling world remains indelible. Her time as co-champion with Jericho may have come to an end, but her legacy as a pioneer for women in professional wrestling and the first female Intercontinental Champion will forever be celebrated.
In her pursuit of transforming her appearance, Laurer made a decision to temporarily step away from the WWE in 1999 to undergo breast-enhancement surgery. Additionally, she opted for a nose job and had her jaw surgically altered and reshaped, feeling that its natural squareness did not align with prevailing beauty standards. During her time off, these alterations were undertaken to soften her overall look and enhance her attractiveness in the world of professional wrestling.
Laurer's transformation yielded compelling results, as she emerged as a dual symbol of empowerment and sensuality. One moment, she would fiercely snarl during a mid-bodyslam, embodying strength and determination in the wrestling ring. Yet, the next day, she would confidently pose, adorned with bright red lipstick and a thong, epitomizing the glamour and allure that often intertwines with female beauty standards in pro wrestling.
It's important to recognize that the beauty standards within the world of professional wrestling have been subject to both criticism and evolution over the years. In the past, there was a tendency to prioritize a narrow and conventional perception of beauty, which often emphasized specific body shapes and features. However, contemporary times have witnessed a growing appreciation for diversity and a push for more inclusive representations of beauty in the industry.
Despite the progress, female wrestlers may still encounter pressure to conform to certain beauty ideals in order to achieve popularity and success. This has sparked important discussions about body image, self-acceptance, and the expectations placed on women within the world of sports entertainment. While some may choose to undergo cosmetic procedures to fit these standards, others advocate for embracing individuality and promoting a broader definition of beauty that celebrates uniqueness and authenticity.
In conclusion, Laurer's journey to soften her appearance through surgical enhancements exemplifies the complex interplay of beauty standards in pro wrestling. Her ability to channel both strength and sensuality served as a testament to the changing perceptions of female wrestlers and their place in a dynamic and evolving industry. As we continue to navigate this landscape, it is crucial to foster a more inclusive and supportive environment that empowers women to embrace their true selves and challenge conventional notions of beauty.
Chyna was a groundbreaking figure in professional wrestling, as she was one of the first female wrestlers to compete with male wrestlers on an equal footing. Her physical strength and imposing presence shattered stereotypes about women in sports and showcased that women could excel in traditionally male-dominated fields.
Chyna was a highly skilled wrestler, known for her powerful moves and technical abilities. She demonstrated that women could be just as competent and entertaining in the ring as their male counterparts, helping to elevate the status of women's wrestling within the industry.
Chyna exuded confidence and empowerment, inspiring others to embrace their uniqueness and stand up for themselves. Her persona as a strong, dominant force challenged traditional gender roles and encouraged fans to be true to themselves, regardless of societal expectations.
Chyna's success in the wrestling world and her fearlessness in pursuing her dreams made her a role model for women and girls who aspired to enter male-dominated professions or achieve greatness in any field.
Chyna's muscular physique challenged conventional beauty standards, and she was unapologetic about her appearance. She promoted body positivity and demonstrated that there is no one "ideal" body type, encouraging others to embrace their own bodies and be proud of who they are. This even led to WWE and Chyna working on the release of a couple of workout VHS’s.
Beyond wrestling, Chyna had a successful career in entertainment, including television appearances and adult films. While her choices were controversial, her ability to diversify her career showcased her business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit.
Chyna faced various personal struggles throughout her life, including battles with addiction and mental health issues. Despite these challenges, she remained resilient and continued to inspire others through her perseverance.
It's important to acknowledge that Chyna's life was not without controversy and difficulties, and she faced challenges both personally and professionally. However, her impact on the wrestling world and her influence as a role model for breaking barriers and empowering others cannot be denied. Chyna's legacy continues to be remembered by wrestling fans and those who were inspired by her trailblazing career.
TRIPLE H 2000
Even though their on-screen relationship had ended, from 1996 to 2000 Paul Levesque and Joanie Laurer had a complex real-life relationship. Both were becoming top stars within the company and their connection and ability to support one another was seen as key to this. The benefits of the relationship were far from endless, however.
The pair decided for a few years to keep the relationship a secret from other wrestlers and higher-ups in WWF, for fear that they may view Joanie’s involvement with one of the company’s most notable performers as one of self-gain and sleeping her way to the top.
On our televisions Triple H and Chyna worked together to chase championship glory. Behind the scenes, Lavesque and Laurer supported each other in more real-world ways.
They lived together and shared the rent. They travelled together to save on petrol money. They went to the same gyms and ate at the same restaurants. The two grew close as their worldview and ambitions for the future appeared to be perfectly aligned.
However, as we’ve seen so often in this story. Joanie’s life was always only mere seconds away from going off the rails at any given moment. And for the most part, it was all out of her control.
As anyone who has ever suffered from mental health struggles, including myself, we know that the problems can be tackled and alleviated, but often times they never truly disappear. When the young couple began to get more serious about their relationship, they started to disagree on fundamental parts of their future life plans. These disagreements led to arguments, which led to a Joanie suffering from symptoms of a mental health breakdown.
Their relationship faced its challenge and eventually ended soon after. Triple H began dating Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of WWE chairman Vince McMahon, while he was still in a relationship with Chyna. Something which behind the scenes, Joanie has discussed as the straw that broke the camel’s back and a turning point for her mental wellbeing.
“They wouldn’t have lasted whether Stephanie came into the picture or not. I have no animosity toward Paul. He was very good to Joanie. He cared about her deeply, but she just had too many issues. “Still, I really do think Paul was the only man she ever truly loved. She was devastated.” Joanie’s sister, Kathy
This led to tension and conflict both personally and professionally. Chyna felt betrayed by Triple H and WWE and begun feeling uncomfortable coming into work and being surrounded by the drama.
Just a few months prior, Joanie Laurer had been on top of the wrestling world. But like so many occasions in her life, circumstances outside of her control, led to her making decisions which would lead to her downfall. Chyna's time with WWE came to an end under contentious circumstances. Her personal life and relationships, particularly her romantic involvement with Triple H who had become a prominent figure in WWF both on and off-screen, contributed to her departure. The exact reasons for her exit have not been fully disclosed, but reports indicate that Chyna's personal struggles, alleged substance abuse issues, and her tumultuous relationship with Triple H and WWE management played a significant role. This led to speculation that Chyna's departure was partly due to the complications arising from the love triangle and the company's desire to distance themselves from her.
However, Chyna was never released from her contract, or pushed out. She left because of how she felt about the way the company had sided with Triple H and the awkwardness of the entire situation, but she was never forced by the company. In fact, Jim Ross has since spoken of his desire to keep Chyna within the company at this time, offering her a large increase in her salary and a $400,000 per year contract, which she repeatedly refused to sign. Jim Ross added huge bonus clauses which would easily see Chyna double that contract down-side guarantee and earn life-changing amounts of money doing what she loved. But still, she refused to sign, stating that if she was going to have to deal with the mental stress of being around Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and the whole mess left in the wake of their relationship, then the company would have to reimburse her for the trouble.
“It was an outrageous demand that wasn’t even realistic” says Ross
She told Jim Ross that she wouldn’t sign for less than $1million per year guaranteed and the negotionations reached a stand still until Chyna’s contract ran out.
“Joanie told me a few years later that she regretted it. The WWE was the only place where she was ever accepted. Once she lost that, she fell into a hole. “And she never could climb out of it.” Chyna’s sister, Hamilton
In 2001 Chyna had reached her peak and her light was about to fade fast. She exited the WWE and would never return to the once place where she truly felt like home. She would go into a terrible downward spiral which would see her shunned by those within the company and abandoned by those who she had seen as her true family.
Tragically, Chyna's life ended prematurely in 2016, but her legacy continues to endure. Her impact on professional wrestling and popular culture remains profound. WWE recognized her contributions by inducting her into the WWE Hall of Fame posthumously in 2019, an honour well-deserved for her ground-breaking achievements.
Beyond wrestling, Chyna made strides in other areas of entertainment, venturing into acting, reality television, and even the world of adult entertainment. Though her journey was not without struggles, her resilience and determination in the face of adversity serve as an inspiration to countless individuals.
Chyna's career in WWE personified the glory of a trailblazing icon who shattered gender barriers, empowered women, and left an indelible mark on the wrestling world. Her undeniable presence, unmatched physicality, and trailblazing achievements continue to inspire generations of female athletes and fans alike. As the "Ninth Wonder of the World," Chyna's glory lies not just in her in-ring accomplishments but in the lasting impact she made, forever cementing her place as one of the most influential figures in the history of professional wrestling.
For a video on this topic and many other pro wrestling documentaries, check out my YouTube Channel: The 9th Wonder Of The World, Chyna