I really hate adding wrestler names to my Dead Wrestler List post that I have updated the last few years. We have lost many in 2016 and we are only a few months into the year.
Chyna, whose real name was Joanie Laurer, was found unconscious last night and was pronounced dead. A friend couldn’t contact her and the police found her in her bed at her home in California.
She’s had her fair share of issues with both performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. It was documented in the reality television series ‘Celebrity Rehab’ a few years ago.
She seemed to have started to get her life together after spending a few years in Japan teaching English. She has been making more public appearances since returning to the States last year.
Her pro wrestling career is unrivaled. She was a Women’s Champion, the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble match and also the only woman to have held the Intercontinental Championship. She fell out of favor with the company after her relationship ended with Triple H. He went on to date and eventually marry Vince McMahon’s daughter, so it’s understandable that Chyna’s presence in the locker room was probably awkward at best.
If Chyna just fell out of the limelight at this point, she would have already been inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame based on the laundry list of accomplishments in the business, but she didn’t do that. She appeared in a various porno movies after she left the WWE. It put her possible induction into the PG-friendly WWE Hall of Fame in jeopardy.
Triple H explained the awkward situation Chyna has put the WWE in on the ‘Stone Cold Podcast’ on the WWE Network. He said that if younger people, he used his daughters as example, would Google Chyna’s name, a lot of unflattering pictures and information would be at the young WWE fan’s fingertips.
Chyna was an extremely flawed human being. If you read her book, you would realize that she suffered from body dysmorphia. She went through so many surgeries during her tenure in the WWE. By the time her time ended with the company, she was almost unrecognizable from the burly body builder that first appeared on television.
Once a pro wrestler retires, they usually go in either one of two very different directions. They either find God and become reborn, or they spiral out of control and abuse drugs. It’s a tough life and Chyna’s life continued down a dangerous path after the WWE.
Details of Chyna’s death haven’t been released yet and we probably won’t know the cause until toxicology reports are released in the coming weeks.
Chyna was a damaged person before she entered the wrestling business and the ups and downs of the business took a toll on her. Fame did not treat her well in the long run. I’m sure she spent many sleepless nights wondering what her life would have been if she hadn’t got into the wrestling business. I’m not saying she regretted all the amazing things she did, but fame can multiply issues when they are under the magnifying class.
I’m glad she entered the wrestling business because her legacy of being a bad ass in the ring and showing the world women can be sexy and powerful. It’s something that has continued to this day and I’m not sure if women’s wrestling would be as popular today if it were not for Chyna.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.