Chyna's Brain To Be Donated For CTE Research

Sonny Go

After her recent death at the age of 45, there's now a plan for former WWE superstar Chyna to have her brain donated to science. If it pushes through, Chyna's brain will be examined for signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which is progressive degeneration of the brain mostly caused by repeated traumatic brain injury.

"We want to donate her brain. We want to know what made Chyna tick," said Chyna's manager and best friend, Anthony Anzaldo.

Concerns regarding the former professional wrestler having chronic brain trauma, which may have contributed to Chyna's erratic behavior in her final years, are not entirely unusual. The late WWE superstar Chris Benoit had been found with advanced CTE after his death, having hung himself after killing his wife and son in their Atlanta, Georgia, home in June, 2007. CTE and other forms of advanced chronic brain damage have been found to cause and/or exacerbate depression, substance abuse, and self-destructive behavior.

Finding signs of CTE in Chyna's brain may offer hints to how injuries accumulated over her pro wrestling career may have influenced her later struggles.

Chyna later made her professional pornographic debut in 2011 for Vivid Video in Backdoor to Chyna. She would go on to make three more adult films — one that parodied her pro wrestling career, and two more that had her assume the role of She-Hulk in adult film parodies of Marvel films. After 2013, Chyna had supposedly quit adult films and became an English tutor in Japan.

During this time, her potential induction into the WWE Hall of Fame had become a hot topic in the pro wrestling community. WWE superstar and executive — as well as Chyna's former boyfriend — Paul "Triple H" Levesque addressed the issue on February 9, 2015, in Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast, saying that she indeed deserves to be inducted, but Chyna's pornographic past posed a problem with younger viewers searching her name online.

"We were scheduled to meet this week to discuss [future films]," said Hirsch. "She was so popular and we wanted to work with her again."

Chyna's passing has reignited talks regarding her induction into the WWE Hall of Fame as a trailblazer in the industry, having transcended then-usual female roles in pro wrestling on American television by being the first and only female WWE Intercontinental Champion in history. Her muscular physique, in-ring talent, and charisma made Chyna a fan favorite during the company's Attitude Era, paving the way for future female performers to play more prominent roles in the WWE.

[Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]