Stephanie McMahon Mourns Wrestling ‘Pioneer’ Joanie “Chyna” Laurer

Stephanie McMahon joined millions of mourners last week in paying tribute to the memory of Joanie Laurer — a.k.a. Chyna — and took to Twitter to share her thoughts with fans.

McMahon said that Chyna was truly a pioneer in an industry that has been male-dominated for decades. Not only was she the first female wrestler to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship, she was also the first woman to participate in a Royal Rumble.

Chyna was just 45-years-old when she was found dead in her apartment last week. Foul play is not suspected, but authorities have not released a cause of death yet. After an autopsy is performed, her manager says, he wants to have her brain donated to be tested by the doctor who inspired the Will Smith movie, Concussion. Chyna had reportedly expressed interest in being tested for signs of CTE, which has affected many professional athletes.

“We want to donate her brain. We want to know what made Chyna tick,” manager Anthony Anzaldo said. “When she died, they called me again and asked, ‘Can we have her brain’. My hope is that we can do it. I’m in the process of getting the permission to speak on behalf of family to tell the coroner it’s okay to release it.”

The fact that Stephanie McMahon acknowledged Chyna’s role in the wrestling world has been talked about quite a bit on the web since Chyna left the WWF (now WWE) in 2001 and went on to parody the organization and the McMahon family in pornographic videos. Wrestler Triple H later said that Chyna’s involvement with the porn industry might be a reason to keep her from getting into the WWE Hall Of Fame, which sparked a firestorm of controversy.

“All the other stuff that happened happened and I don’t need to get into any of the other stuff but there is 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 said.

“It’s a bit difficult, though, and this is the flip side of the coin that nobody looks at… You have a, I’ve got an 8-year-old kid. My 8-year-old kid sees the Hall of Fame, and my 8-year-old kid goes on the internet to look at… ‘oh, this is Chyna, I’ve never heard of her, I’m 8-years-old, I’ve never heard of that.’ So I go type it in, I go punch it up, and 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 and 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. The Hall of Fame is a funny thing in that it is not as simple as ‘this guy had a really good career, a legendary career. He should go in the Hall of Fame.’ Yeah, but we can’t because of this reason, we can’t because of this legal instance, we can’t because of this… It’s different than any other Hall of Fame in the world and at the end of the day, it’s for our fans.”

Stephanie McMahon has been busy lately, jetting off to various events as one of the faces of the WWE. It was also announced recently that she’ll be the Grand Marshal for the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure event in May.

[Photo by WWE]