When I found out yesterday that Joanie “Chyna” Laurer passed away yesterday, I was about to go to bed. But upon hearing the news, I could not sleep. I was too heartbroken, too shocked, too confused.
In the back of my mind, I always believed that one day, I would see Chyna inducted int he WWE Hall of Fame, standing up on the stage the night before WrestleMania, thanking her fans and relishing in her legendary status.
She will never get that moment now. But perhaps she’ll get the recognition.
The word “pioneer” too often gets thrown around in tributes and obituaries, but if anyone in the entire wrestling industry deserves the word, it’s Chyna. From her debut assisting Triple H at In Your House to her entrance in both the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring to her two reigns with the Intercontinental Championship, Chyna changed what it meant to be a woman in WWE.
Chyna was nobody’s toy or puppet. She was no valet. She was an enforcer and bodyguard, the strong and silent muscle of DX. She was sexy because of the power she exuded both physically and mentally. She subverted every stereotype about women the then-WWF itself perpetuated.
I was too young to see her during her prime, to experience her career as it happened. But when I first started watching wrestling, she was the one who most stood out to me whenever I watched matches back from the Attitude Era. I would look at her and just be in total and utter awe of her brilliance. Watching her was, in as few words as possible, an empowering experience.
That’s her real legacy. WWE will induct her into the Hall of Fame, just as she always wanted. But the most lasting thing about her career will be her fearless and trailblazing career, and the way she made the fans she loved so much feel.
Thank you, Chyna. Rest in peace. Rest in power.
Don’t treat me like a woman
Don’t treat me like a man
Don’t treat me like you know me
Treat me for just who I am