Over two weeks after the untimely passing of former professional wrestler Joanie “Chyna” Laurer, the WWE continues to assure fans that the late “Ninth Wonder of the World” will be enshrined in the company’s Hall of Fame.
TMZ Sports recently caught up with WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon in New York City. Speaking about Laurer’s legendary career, McMahon gave a resounding endorsement for her future.
“I’m sure that we will see Chyna in the Hall of Fame at some point in the future. I’m not sure exactly what year that will be, but there’s no denying her contributions to WWE.”
Laurer passed away on April 21 after reportedly overdosing on prescribed medication. She was found in her Redondo Beach, California, home by her manager after she had not been heard from for several days. McMahon was one of the first WWE executives to honor Laurer following her death.
I just heard the tragic news that @ChynaJoanLaurer has passed. She was truly a pioneer in our industry, and she will be missed. #RIPChyna
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) April 21, 2016
McMahon’s husband and Laurer’s former boyfriend, Paul “Triple H” Levesque, also honored Laurer on social media, referring to her as “a pioneer whose star shined bright.” That same day, Levesque spoke to the Mirror about Laurer’s career and WWE honoring her in the future.
“There was never anybody like her before her, and there will never be anybody like her after,” Levesque said about Laurer’s potential Hall of Fame candidacy. “It’s certainly warranted and I’m sure at some point when the time is right, hopefully, that could happen.”
— BlackSportsOnline (@BSO) May 6, 2016
It was a stark contrast from Levesque’s comments on a WWE Network exclusive podcast with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin a year prior. While Levesque did acknowledge that Laurer belonged in the Hall of Fame — calling her a trailblazer and somebody wh0 changed the wrestling business — he eluded to her adult film career as something that would make it hard to honor her.
Both McMahon and Levesque drew criticism for honoring Laurer after death and not helping her while she was alive. Laurer was reportedly upset after she wasn’t invited to the Hall of Fame ceremony this year. She also claimed on multiple occasions that it was her prior romantic relationship with Levesque that blackballed her from the company.
— ProWrestlingSheet (@WrestlingSheet) April 28, 2016
Speaking of Steve Austin, he gave his own candid opinion about Laurer’s premature demise on The Steve Austin Show. He had high praise for Laurer both as a performer and a person, saying she was one of the “funniest, sweetest people that I have known in the business of pro wrestling.”
However, Austin is not satisfied with Laurer being acknowledged after her death, much like “Macho Man” Randy Savage was just years prior.
“I don’t think it will ever be right because she didn’t go into the [WWE] Hall Of Fame while she was alive, living and breathing with us. And I thought she earned the right to be in the Hall Of Fame and to put her in there posthumously, if I’m saying that word correctly, man, it’s just not good enough. And so, I don’t know how you rectify that, how you deal with that, because things are just screwed up. And, man, her going into the Hall Of Fame is just so small in comparison to the fact that this young lady is no longer with us. I don’t know what to make of it.”
[Featured Image via WWE]