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Chyna (1970-2016)


Any fan of the Attitude Era would know of the woman they called the “Ninth Wonder of the World.” Dressed in black leather and with the stature of an Amazon warrior, Chyna broke through barriers in sports entertainment as much as she broke bodies in the ring. And, for better or for worse, wrestling fans all over the world have seen her break in so many places.


Chyna was born Joan Marie Laurer in 1970, starting off her career in fitness competitions before pro wrestling came calling in the mid-1990s. As part of the original D-Generation X, Chyna played the role of the group’s enforcer, often aiding Triple H in his cheating ways to victory. She was the first woman to ever compete in the Royal Rumble, the first woman to qualify for the King of the Ring Tournament, and the first and only woman to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship in 1999.



Through her brief but successful tenure in the WWF, Chyna stood on an entirely different plane compared to the other women of the Attitude Era, all the way to her 2000s career as the on-screen "Mamacita" of the late, great Eddie Guerrero. She was a dominating and domineering presence in the ring, who was not afraid to mix it up with some of the biggest names in the business during her 16-year in-ring career.

Chyna set a standard for women’s wrestling at a time when it was largely absent. She wrestled at a time when women's wrestlers were just "eye-candy," who wrestled the occasional Pudding Match or the notorious Bra-and-Panties matches of the time. Chyna frequently showed power and agility as an in-ring competitor, going toe-to-toe with championship-caliber wrestlers like Chris Jericho, Hardcore Holly. She even held her own against the legendary Masahiro Chono in NJPW in 2002. Chyna's in-ring success didn't just mean that women are just as good against men; she proved, in her own way, that women can even be better.

Over the next few years, Chyna has been at the center of so many controversies. Her successful career in pro wrestling spun off to on-off appearances in other promotions, Playboy appearances, adult entertainment, reality shows, and public breakdowns that earned her everything from sympathy to ridicule. Still, the former Women’s Champion and 2-time Intercontinental Champion made her mark early and in a big way; her personal tragedies and struggles only serve to frame the immense success and influence she has had as a pioneer of modern women’s wrestling.


Just this morning (PH time), Chyna’s Twitter account handlers informed the world of the passing of the ring legend. While she has passed on, her legacy lives on in the millions of fans who watch women’s wrestling on any promotion, from ladies largely inspired by her career: the championships she won, the barriers she has broken, and the stories she told in and out of the squared circle.

Rest in power, Chyna.

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