Birthday: December 27, 1969
Died At Age: 46
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Also Known As: Joan Marie Laurer, Chyna Doll, Joanie Laurer, Joanie Lee, Just Joanie
Born Country: United States
Born in: Rochester, New York, United States
Famous as: Professional Wrestler
Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Females
Spouse/Ex-: Sean Waltman (2003–2005), Triple H (1996–2000)
father: Joe Laurer
mother: Janet Laurer
siblings: Janet Laurer, Kathy Laurer, Sonny Laurer
Died on: April 20, 2016
place of death: Redondo Beach, California
Cause of Death: Drug Overdose
U.S. State: New Yorkers
education: University of Tampa
Who was Chyna?
Chyna was a WWF professional wrestler who became known as ‘The First Lady of Sports Entertainment,’ with the nickname ‘The Ninth Wonder of the World.’ She broke across all gender barriers to establish herself in the male dominated sport, where she competed with the opposite sex. She made her debut on WWF as the bodyguard of D-Generation X during the ‘In Your House 13: Final Four’ event and went on to develop a trademark low blow on the groin. She was given the name ‘Chyna’ or ‘bone China’ which was in contrast to her actual character. She became the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble professional wrestling WWF show and the first female wrestler to qualify for the ‘King of the Ring’ tournament. She has appeared in a number of television shows, including ‘The Howard Stern Show,’ ‘Fear Factor,’ and ‘Hollywood Squares.’ She has also appeared on the cover of the Playboy magazine and some adult movies, including ‘1 Night in China’ and ‘Backdoor to Chyna.’ Her autobiography titled ‘If They Only Knew’ and Fashion book ‘Paper Doll’ became bestsellers. She had a strained relation with her family and also struggled with drug and alcohol abuse that took her life at the age of 46.
Childhood & Early Life
Chyna was born Joan Marie Laurer on December 27, 1969, in Rochester, New York, US, to Joseph and Janet Laurer. Her father was an alcoholic who often fought with her mother. Her parents divorced when she was four years old. She had three stepfathers, one stepmother, and two older siblings from her biological parents' marriage.
She learnt to play the violin and cello during her childhood. She attended Penfield High School and developed an eating disorder during this period. When her mother tried to send her to a drug rehabilitation facility, she left home to live with her biological father. In order to get over the miseries of her personal life, she started going to the gym which introduced her to the world of fitness.
She completed her high school from Spain and joined the University of Tampa in Florida, US, from where she graduated with a degree in Spanish Literature in 1992. She also learnt French and German. She broke all gender barriers with her continued interest in fitness training. She also became a staunch supporter of the National Animal Rescue charity programme.
She was a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps in college and wished to use her knowledge of the foreign languages to join the Drug Enforcement Administration or Federal Bureau of Investigation. However, she ended up joining the Peace Corps and was posted to Guatemala.
After her assignment with the Peace Corps she took up various jobs to make a living that included working as a cocktail waitress, a singer, and call centre chat worker. She took a short course to become a flight attendant but could not join the work due to an accident. She started working as a belly dancer and entered various fitness competitions to pave her way to professional wrestling.
She started training at Wladek ‘Killer’ Kowalski’s professional wrestling school in Malden, Massachusetts, where she was the only female trainee and took part in her first match in 1995. She started appearing in various independent promotional events under the name 'Joanie Lee.'
She was selected by World Championship Wrestling as the sole female member of the New World Order but she turned down the offer to join the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as a bodyguard.
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She made her debut on WWF in February 1997 as the bodyguard of D-Generation X during the event ‘In Your House 13: Final Four.’ She went on to develop a trademark low blow on the groin to help her teammates win. She was given the name ‘Chyna’ which was akin to ‘bone China’ that is delicate and fragile - something that was in contrast to her actual character.
She became the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble professional wrestling WWF show in January 1999, where she betrayed her partner 'Triple H' to take sides with Vince McMahon and Kane. She later returned to 'Triple H' and eventually left him at the end of the year.
She is the first female wrestler to qualify for the King of the Ring tournament and was also the number one contender for the WWF Championship. She became a fan favourite and the only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship in October 1999, defeating Jeff Jarrett. (Jarrett is believed to have received $ 300,000 for losing to a woman).
She had a long feud with Chris Jericho; she defeated him in the Survivor Series and lost the 'WWE Armageddon.' They again faced each other in the WWE SmackDown!, where they were declared joint winners. She later teamed up with Jericho.
During the summer of 2000, she played the on-screen girlfriend of Mexican-American professional wrestler, Eddie Guerrero. They were originally villains, but later became fan favourites. The couple fought Val Venis and Trish Stratus in an integrated tag team match at the Summer Slam, which they won. They split in November 2000, after Guerrero was caught in the shower with two other women.
She had a feud with Ivory over the Women’s Championship and ultimately won the championship from Ivory at WrestleMania X-Seven in 2001. She later left the WWF in November 2001, to pursue a career in acting. She broke-up with Triple H around the same time.
She joined New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2002 and appeared in their 'Thirtieth Anniversary Show' as a referee. She wrestled in several matches for the show during the year where she appeared in the ring with wrestlers like Masahiro Chono, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kenzo Suzuki.
She took a break from wrestling and made her debut in the adult movie ‘1 Night in China’ in 2004. She appeared in several adult films till 2013, including the film ‘Another Night in China.’ She has also appeared in a Playboy documentary.
She has appeared in a number of television shows, including ‘The Howard Stern Show’ (2000), ‘Fear Factor’ (2001), ‘Robot Grand Champions’ (2002), ‘Hollywood Squares’ (2003), ‘The Surreal Life’ (2005), and the film ‘Just Another Romantic Wrestling Comedy’ (2006).
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She appeared on the cover of Playboy and in adult movies, including ‘1 Night in China’ (2004), and ‘Backdoor to Chyna’ (2011).
She released her autobiography titled ‘If They Only Knew’ in 2001, which featured on 'The New York Times' bestsellers list.
In 2009, Chyna released a book titled ‘Paper Doll’ on fashion, which became a bestseller.
Awards & Achievements
She was awarded 'Rookie of the Year' in 1996 and 1998, by the 'Ladies International Wrestling Association' and ranked 106 out of the top 500 wrestlers by 'Pro Wrestling Illustrated.'
She was the 'WWF Intercontinental Champion' two times and 'WWF Women’s Champion' once. She was also an IWF Women’s Champion once.
She got the 'Best Selling Title of the Year' in 2006, and 'Best Celebrity Tape' in 2012 at the AVN Awards for her performance in ‘1 Night in China’ and ‘Backdoor to Chyna’ respectively.
She dated Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque from 1996 to 2000, and lived with him for some time. However, they broke of due to her drug related problems. She had a relationship with Sean Waltman in 2003, and made a tape together. This relationship too did not work after she was arrested for domestic violence in 2005.
She did not have a good relationship with her family and struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, which ultimately resulted into her death. She died at her house in Redondo Beach, California, on April 20, 2016. She was 46.
She was molested by a teacher in the seventh grade and raped by two men after a party when she was in college.
Chyna changed her name to 'Chynna Doll' after leaving the WWF due to patent rights and later legally changed her name to Chyna in 2007.