I was perusing Slam! Sports’ ‘News and Rumors’ section for wrestling (far less gossip and pop-ups than your run-of-the-mill dirt sheet site) when suddenly I came upon it. Just sitting there with all the other news, as if they were unaware of how awful it could potentially be.
Joanie Laurer, the former Chyna in the WWE, will debuting with TNA in the next few weeks.
Chyna is a spectacular example of the rise and fall of a wrestler fast forwarded. Her mainstream career in the WWE lasted just four years, going from 1997 to 2001. Beginning as the bodyguard of Triple H and gaining fame with D-Generation X, Chyna broke off on her own as Triple H began his rise to stardom. Chyna’s biggest attraction at the time was her ability to wrestle the men of the company and she became the first (
and only) woman to win a men’s title in the WWE when she captured the Intercontinental title. But eventually she would be phased out of that role and pushed into the women’s division before ultimately vanishing in mid-2001 before the WCW invasion began.
Since that point, Chyna has been a mess. She appeared on the reality series where she drank heavily had the world learned of her train wreck relationship with Sean Waltman (the former X-Pac), complete with a commercially released sex tape. Anything public from Chyna since that point has involved domestic abuse, drugs or alcohol. She appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which probably isn’t too good of a sign. Last year, she was hospitalized after ODing on sleeping meds. This year, she debuts for TNA.
The more I think about it, the more I believe that there simply is no benefit to TNA for bringing in Chyna. Her name recognition by this point holds about as much excitement as other notable gimmicks of the late ’90s (Gangrel, the Godfather, Val Venis, “Hole in One” Barry Darsow) and she won’t add any kind of anything to whatever storyline she goes into. She hasn’t wrestled in nearly a decade, has lost most of the muscletone that made her stand out to begin with, and honestly wasn’t that good to begin with. But she’s someone who was popular at one point, and by TNA logic, that’s all someone needs to secure at least some employment.
I wonder what Jay Lethal’s doing right now.
EDIT: Upon some research, I learned that Jacqueline captured the WWE Cruiserweight Title at one point, so Chyna wasn’t the ONLY one to do it. Of course, with a title history also featuring Hornswoggle, Oklahoma and Chavo Classic, you could see why I’d have forgotten. Jacqueline also won the Television title in WCW and Madusa won the Cruiserweight as well, just not in WWE.