Next month, former WWE superstar Joanie “Chyna” Laurer will finally be inducted into the WWE Hall of fame as part of wrestling group D-Generation X, or DX. The honor comes three years after her death. Her mother told People that it is an honor long overdue.
“I honestly didn’t think it was gonna happen this year. It was just so totally awesome because she is so deserving of this,” mother Janet LaQue said. “I feel sad that it happened after her death, and she won’t be there to accept it herself, but hopefully she’ll be smiling down on me when I do for her.”
Laurer’s career began as one-sixth of the raucous DX, a wrestling faction whose brash and unpredictable behavior helped establish the WWE’s Attitude Era brand of the 1990s and early 2000s. Laurer instantly gained attention as the sole woman and leather-wearing, stone-faced enforcer of the group.
Her popularity eventually enabled her to break out on her own, and as “Chyna” became the first woman to win the Intercontinental Championship and enter the Royal Rumble. LaQue said Laurer was determined, and worked hard to break barriers for women everywhere.
Laurer left the WWE in 2001, and appeared on a few reality television shows following her departure. She worked for a couple of wrestling promotions overseas before pursuing a career in the adult film industry. On April 20, 2016, Laurer was found in her home, dead of an overdose. She was 46-years-old.
“Joanie and I were estranged for many years, for many reasons, but we had reconnected when she was in wrestling in Japan, and we were in contact with each other quite regularly for three years before she passed, and we had reconciled. We had a good relationship going. I can honestly tell you, I was shocked to hear that she had passed, but I wasn’t completely totally surprised by it. She was fighting a lot of demons.”
The Hall of Fame ceremony will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 6. LaQue said she hopes people remember Laurer’s difficult road to fame and her great resolve in getting there.
“I love her. I will always love her, and I hope to God that the day that she’s inducted and I can accept for her… that she will look down on me and say, ‘Mom, I’m happy for you to accept this for me.’ That’s what I hope.”