Whited: To Recognize Chyna Only After Death Is Shameful, WWE

WWE is finally acknowledging that the Ninth Wonder of the World existed. It is a shame it took too long.

In a week where the world lost a Prince, too fell a Queen.

The pro wrestling world saw one of its most iconic figures, Chyna, pass away at the way-too-young age of 46. After news broke of her death, thousands took to Twitter to mourn—many sharing their memory-laden goodbyes on social media as media outlets flooded the Internet with the news that still seems unreal.

Joanie Marie Laurer—the female face of professional wrestling’s Mount Rushmore—is dead.

Among those recognizing the Ninth Wonder of the World was the company she helped keep afloat during its Attitude era, WWE. In the hours that followed, the industry leader shared stories of her historic career, giving birth to the Tenth Wonder of the World: why did it take her dying for WWE to recognize its single most important female wrestler?

From the point of vacating her WWF Women’s Championship in 2001 to the news that broke on April 20, 2016, very little was said from WWE officials regarding Chyna. In fact, all that comes to mind is a 2015 episode of the Stone Cold Podcast where Steve Austin asks guest Triple H about her uncertain WWE Hall of Fame status.

“Well, it is a little bit like a double-sided sword,” Triple H told Steve Austin. “It’s not just as easy as, ‘Should this person go into the [WWE] Hall of Fame?’ She completely, 100 percent transcended the business. Changed the business; paradigm shifter of the business. Did what no woman ever did before, and was awesome at it, and a phenomenal talent. All the other stuff that happened happened—and I don’t need to get into any of the other stuff—but there’s no beef on this side with anything, and I mean that 100 percent.

“From a career standpoint, should she be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely,” Triple H continued. “It’s a bit difficult, though, and this is the flipside of the coin— and this is the side nobody looks at—I’ve got an eight-year-old kid, and my eight-year-old kid sees Hall of Fame, and my eight-year-old kid goes on the Internet to look at Chyna. What comes up? And I’m not criticizing anybody. I’m not criticizing lifestyle choices. Everybody has their reasons. I don’t know what they were. I don’t care to know. It’s not a morality thing or anything else. It is just the fact of what it is. That’s a difficult choice.”

At the same time Triple H was crafting this PR-friendly response, WWE Hall of Famer Sunny was stripping down for paying fans on Skype. Look up Sunny. What comes up?

To those who have judged Chyna based on her past, lace up her boots. You’d be fucked up too.

The animosity WWE has towards Chyna has little to do with her image displayed on a porn video. Anyone who has life experience can plainly see that. It’s nothing more than Chyna being the victim of a home-wrecking situation—the role of “The Wrecker” being played by her boss’ daughter. Most can attest to having encountered someone who was the victim in this scenario, but it’s rare that the stakes will ever be as high.

For those who don’t know the story, Chyna dated Triple H. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of the WWF Chairman, got close. And then they got closer. And then they got so close, Joey Greco could have done an episode of Cheaters. Then Chyna found out.

Like any sane human being, Chyna didn’t like seeing her relationship snatched from her, especially under those circumstances. But when it came down to his daughter and the athlete pioneering his company’s Women’s division, Vince McMahon chose his own blood and parted ways with the former WWF Intercontinental Champion.

In her last match with the company, Chyna defeated Lita at Judgement Day to retain her WWF Women’s Championship. Soon after, a judgment was made on her and she had to vacate the title she brought so much prestige to.

She lost the loves of her life—her boyfriend and the WWF—almost overnight. To those who have judged Chyna based on her past, lace up her boots. You’d be fucked up too.

Now I must admit, I (of course) wasn’t there. I’m a betting man, and I’ll put some chips to the idea that Chyna may have been intolerable for the McMahons and Triple H during that fiasco. But can anyone really blame her? As time passes, and one reflects on his or her own actions, guilt rises to the surface where it was buried. I’m guessing Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and company are now beginning to look themselves in the mirror.

One could argue that Chyna’s post-WWF endeavors didn’t help her case for recognition or a WWE Hall of Fame induction. The drugs, the adult films, the YouTube tirades all paint a portrait of a person a publicly-traded powerhouse doesn’t want hanging when in a room with investors. But to approach the topic of Chyna in a similar light to that of Chris Benoit—practically not recognizing her existence—is shameful. It’s especially disgusting when you compare her lapses of judgment to that of a racist and a convicted rapist—both current WWE Hall of Famers—yet hold her transgressions seemingly as worse and a reason for not inducting her into the WWE Hall of Fame. Remember, Sunny is in.

What’s even more depressing about this whole situation is how much the WWE Hall of Fame and making amends with the company meant to Chyna.

It wasn’t until recently that Chyna came back into the mainstream. She spent time in Japan teaching English and later relocated back to the United States to become the focus of an upcoming documentary, “The Reconstruction of Chyna.”

The film’s director, Erik Angra, told Wrestledelphia in a 2015 interview that a WWE Hall of Fame induction was paramount to Chyna, the film, and those involved.

“I think she feels that she really deserves to be in the WWE Hall of Fame, as I do along with a lot of other people,” Angra said. “I think that’s really the big campaign. Along with just doing the film, were doing this “Chyna 2016″ campaign for a chance for her to be in the Hall of Fame. She was one of the greatest female wrestlers ever; one of the greatest wrestlers ever.

“She deserves to be in there,” he continued. “There’s been comments on why she shouldn’t be. But one could look at a lot of other wrestlers and at their pasts. Google them and you’ll see a lot of terrible things. So I’m not sure it’s a really valid argument to use her past as a reason that she shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame.”

The campaign seemingly failed, as Snoop Dogg was a more attractive Hall of Fame option to WWE apparently. And now Chyna is gone. She never got her moment to talk about the good times, reflect on the bad, and thank the fans as we applaud what she gave us.

The last decade-plus of Chyna’s life was spent recovering from the crash that WWE’s vehicle set her up for. Her story isn’t that different from other performers from that era. But its plot was much more personal. Its ending is familiar, yet feels more tragic. The response from WWE is predictable, but the timing and circumstances surrounding its relationship with Chyna should make the company feel ashamed that it didn’t acknowledge its Wonder Woman sooner.

Mark Whited
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Mark Whited

Founder / Editor-In-Chief at
An avid writer and fan of wrestling since he was eight years old, Mark Whited founded in May 2014. While hoping to one day step foot in a wrestling ring, he also writes for a number of outlets, including The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Mark Whited
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One Comment
  • Corrigan’s Corner: Chyna’s Death Adds To A Disturbing Statistic | Wrestledelphia
    22 April 2016 at 2:19 PM
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    […] you know all of this already. You’ve read the tributes and scrolled through the tweets honoring Chyna’s hushed contributions to […]

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