So these are my least favorite types of posts to write. Wrestler deaths, though much more infrequent than in years past, are still troubling, especially when they happen to someone not yet 50. And yet, this one in particular, is not the least bit surprising. Chyna’s problems with drug and alcohol abuse are well known. Many of her appearances are marked by slurred words and off-kilter behavior. To read that the cause of her death was in some way drug related is not news. Sad yes, worthy of commentary, no. Instead, I want to take a moment to look back at what the Ninth Wonder of the World accomplished in the ring and the impact she had on the sport overall. Her legacy is undeniable. She broke barriers and shattered glass ceilings for many women in the industry. Her career choices after wrestling, most notably her five porn films, may leave her out of the Hall of Fame which is unfortunate. What she did though, cannot be denied.
Chyna broke into wrestling after a short stint on the independent scene. Her physicality was such that when she was on screen, you couldn’t look away. Never before had there been a woman like her in a professional wrestling ring. The story goes that she met Triple H and Shawn Michaels after a show one night and they were so blown away by her that they immediately went to Vince McMahon to get her a job. Vince apparently was not convinced however, and it was only after she was reportedly offered a deal to be the first female member of the NWO that Vince, or in some stories Shane, offered her a deal. She made her debut attacking Marlena, Goldust’s wife, and became Triple H’s body guard. Her career really exploded though when DX was formed. She was given much more to do and in addition to being a threat to other female managers and valets, she beat up the guys too. Chyna was able to convincingly become the first and only woman to hold the Intercontinental championship, twice. She was also the first and only woman to enter the Royal Rumble. She wrestled men and beat them and it worked. Not in an indy way, but in a WWE way. She redefined what a woman’s role in professional wrestling could be. She was not just a pretty face or a bad ass, she was both. She was marketed as a legitimate champion and a playboy model. She was never the prettiest girl on the roster or the best wrestler on the roster. She was the complete package though and wrestling is a better place because of her.
There is not much more to say without this turning into a deep dive of personal tragedy and the perils of fame. There are plenty of those articles on the internet right now and if you want to, go read them. I would humbly suggest however you watch the clips below and remember Chyna as the most dominate female athlete ever to step inside the squared circle. Follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, and let me know what your favorite Chyna memories are. And check back here next week as I highlight one more reason why I love wrestling.