Chyna's Biggest Regret Is A Heartbreaking Reminder Of Her Downward Spiral

When people put together their Mount Rushmore's of women's wrestling, you would be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't include Chyna. "The Ninth Wonder of the World" was a pioneer during WWE's famed Attitude Era as she grew from the hulking muscle of D-Generation X to becoming one of the most celebrated female athletes of her generation. She was the first woman to hold a men's title in WWE after obtaining the Intercontinental Championship in 1999. She also captured the WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania 17 in 2001, only to part ways with the promotion soon after.

Sadly, Chyna's tragic story has arguably overshadowed some of her in-ring accomplishments. From her adult film career to her battles with mental illness, all the way to her substance abuse issues that led to her untimely passing at the age of 46 in April 2016, Chyna's legacy is complex. However, shortly before her death, the real-life Joan Laurer sought to make peace with WWE. With that in mind, let's take a look at her downfall and attempts to rebuild bridges with the sports entertainment promotion.

Chyna's WWE Exit Was a Messy One

In May 2001, Chyna wrestled her final WWE match against Lita for the WWE Women's Championship at that year's Judgment Day pay-per-view. She left company at the end of November that same year. There had been various reports on how WWE could let such a huge star go, with rumors and various accounts detailing personal, professional, and financial reasons.

Between 1996 and 2000, Laurer dated Paul "Triple H" Levesque, who was at the forefront of the company for much of her tenure. The pair initially kept their relationship a secret to prevent people from thinking that Laurer had slept her way to the top. However, the gloves came off after it was revealed that Levesque had entered into a relationship with Stephanie McMahon, the daughter of WWE's former Chairman Vince McMahon. Laurer claimed that Levesque and McMahon began dating while they were still a couple, and believed this was the reason for why she was taken off of WWE TV until her eventual departure.

However, that turned out to not be true. Laurer's sister, Kathy Hamilton, revealed that Levesque was very good to her, noting that her substance abuse issues and not wanting to have children ended their relationship. It's also been reported that she left WWE to pursue an acting career and her breakup with Levesque had nothing to do with her exit. Former WWE commentator Jim Ross claimed that Chyna wanted the same money as Steve Austin to re-sign at the end of 2001, which WWE wasn't willing to give her. All of these factors contributed to a long-standing rivalry between Laurer and WWE, which she eventually wanted to squash.

One Final Plea to Mend Fences

On January 29, 2016, Laurer uploaded a video to her YouTube channel, TOKYO CHYNA, in which the former WWE Superstar gave her fans an update on things were going in her life. Laurer explained that she had been having trouble communicating with WWE as she was ready to mend fences with her former employers, even stating that she was trying to convey her desire to rebuild her relationship with the company via the WWE Hall of Fame.

"I don't want to show up at all these places with all my brothers and sisters that I was in the trenches with, on the road with, that I love, that were a huge part of my life, to see them now and feel awkward because of the repercussions of the battle with the WWE. It's just something I would love to resolve, and I haven't been able to do that on television and radio and Howard Stern's and TMZ's...I'd like to just be able to do this privately where I can atone and say I'm sorry for the things that I've done. And I do — I feel bad about having said certain things under duress and pain and things that I haven't resolved privately, and that's all I want to do." 

Despite deserving a place in the WWE Hall of Fame, Paul Levesque stated in 2015 that Chyna's adult film career prohibited her from being included. However, that changed in 2019 when Chyna was inducted as part of D-Generation X, with the remaining members of the group dedicating a portion of their induction speech to a woman Shawn Michaels praised for being the ultimately trailblazer. Chyna's legacy deserves to be celebrated, and fans remember her contributions to the business.

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