Thursday, April 21, 2016

RIP Chyna

Rest in peace
Photo Credit:
Wrestling lost an absolute icon last night. Joanie Laurer, better known as Chyna, passed away at age 46. She was found unresponsive in her room in Redondo Beach, CA. Chyna will forever be best known as the WWE's most popular and important female superstar, even if WWE hasn't acknowledged that status in the years since she was released from the company. She first was the enforcer and bodyguard for Triple H before becoming a wrestler on her own. She is the only woman to have held the Intercontinental Championship.

Chyna and Triple H had a real life relationship that ended when he started seeing Stephanie McMahon. Not coincidentally, Chyna left the company shortly thereafter, beginning a "cold war" period between her and the McMahon family. She moved onto other companies, including short stints in New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2002 and TNA in 2011. She also appeared in several reality television programs, but her most famous, or infamous, post-WWE career choice was in pornographic cinema. Triple H said that the porn movies were the reason why he couldn't induct Chyna in the WWE Hall of Fame. In a related note, Tammy "Sunny" Sytch has not been removed from the WWE Hall of Fame despite starring in a porno movie this past year. Nor should she, to be honest. Even though the porn industry is predatory towards its performers, in a perfect world, it wouldn't be this stigmatized. However, America's problems with sex and sex workers are fodder for another debate.

Chyna had a lot of problems in her life post-WWE, but everyone has problems in their lives. Her tumultuous life post-WWE should not overshadow her mammoth accomplishments in wrestling during her heyday. She was an icon for women fans to latch onto, and she showed that women didn't have to be "just" special attractions like Alundra Blayze and Bull Nakano, or supporting players on the sideline like Miss Elizabeth and Sensational Sherri. She was dynamic, and she deserved every lick of fame that she got. Hopefully now, she's found some semblance of peace.