Over the past week, the biggest story in professional wrestling has been the unexpected death of former WWE Women’s and Intercontinental Champion Joanie “Chyna” Laurer, as she passed away last Wednesday at the age of 44.
While Chyna’s WWE run was short, there’s certainly no one who would argue that she didn’t make a huge impact during her time there. She was a one-of-a-kind performer, and if it weren’t for her, Triple H, who is now looked at as a WWE legend, may have never had the success that he ended up having.
Does Chyna deserve to be in the WWE Hall of Fame? Yes. Will she ever get in? Well, that answer isn’t quite as simple.
Prior to this past Monday night, WWE had ignored all of Chyna’s accomplishments, and they pretty much pretended that she never existed. But, her death was such a huge story, and she was such a memorable character, that WWE would’ve looked horrible if they didn’t pay tribute to her in some way following her passing.
Last year, WWE’s chief operating officer Paul Levesque, better known as Triple H, appeared on the Steve Austin Show, and he was asked if Chyna would ever be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and while “The Game” admitted that Chyna deserved to be in based on her WWE career, he also pretty much said that she wouldn’t ever get inducted because of her involvement with the adult film industry.
Triple H’s response was heavily criticized, mostly because WWE had brought back Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, who was involved in one of Chyna’s adult films. Of course, Waltman and Triple H are close friends, which is why WWE decided to look past his involvement in the film.
Chyna, on the other-hand, is Triple H’s ex-girlfriend, and they ended their relationship on bad terms. Prior to her passing, most believed that “The 9th Wonder of the World” was being kept out of the WWE Hall of Fame strictly because of her history with “The King of Kings.”
Triple H was asked about Chyna’s WWE Hall of Fame prospects following her passing, and “The Game” seemed to have a change of heart on the subject. He said that, when the time is right, Chyna will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Before her passing, Chyna attempted to get back in the good graces of Vince McMahon and Triple H, but both men weren’t willing to make amends with the former Intercontinental Champ.
Chyna’s broken relationship with WWE bothered her, according to people who were close with her. Apparently, she badly wanted to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and one of the people she spoke with about it was former WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and a member of the 2013 Hall of Fame class, Mick Foley.
On Tuesday, Foley posted a status on his Facebook page, which recounted his conversation about the WWE Hall of Fame with Chyna, and “The Hardcore Legend” said that he told Chyna that, while being inducted into the Hall of Fame was a great honor for him, it didn’t define him.
” ‘Joanie,’ I said. ‘Being inducted into the Hall of Fame was one of the greatest nights of my life – but it doesn’t define me. Don’t let it define you. You’re a legend in our business, no one can ever take away from you the things you’ve done. Don’t let anyone have the power to tell you whether or not your career was worthy of the Hall of Fame. It was! There will never be another Chyna.’
“So next year, when the announcements are made, if Chyna is not an inductee, don’t be sad. The real Hall of Fame is inside all of us. It’s a Hall of Fame based on the way superstars made us feel, the smiles they produced, the memories they created for us, the legacies they forged that will stand the test of time. By that standard, Joanie Laurer – Chyna; the 9th Wonder of the World was inducted into the Hall that really matters – our hall of memories – a long, long time ago.”
At this point, it’s almost a guarantee that Chyna will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. As for when that’ll be, well, who knows? It could be next year in Orlando, it could be the year after that. But, at least we know that she’ll be taking her rightful place in WWE’s Hall of Fame. It’s just sad that it never happened while she was alive.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, the biggest thing keeping her out of the Hall of Fame was the Tammy “Sunny” Sytch situation.
Sytch was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame back in 2011, and she was given the title of “WWE’s original diva.” But, she began to have a ton of very public personal issues following her induction, and it was just recently reported that she was trying to sell her Hall of Fame ring.
In January of this year, Sytch signed a deal with Vivid Entertainment, which is an adult film distributor. Her very first adult film was released shortly thereafter.
According to Meltzer, WWE was extremely embarrassed by Sytch’s post-Hall of Fame actions, and they regretted putting her in. So, they wanted to do everything they could to avoid that kind of situation, and, due to Chyna’s post-wrestling career choices, they put her in the same category as Sytch, which is why they refused to associate themselves with her.
[Image via WWE]