Of the numerous wrestling deaths that have occurred over the past few years Chyna’s isn’t the most surprising, but for for some unexpected reason, I’m pretty sad about it.
I’d always considered Chyna’s career downfall to be one of the more tragic since I began following wrestling in 1984. Just imagine how gut-wrenchingly painful it’d be to see your ex alongside the woman he left you for practically in charge of the industry leader. Sure, you could dabble in other promotions, but you could never return home.
Unlike guys like Bruno Sammartino, Randy Savage and the Ultimate Warrior, WWE redemption didn’t seem likely for Chyna. There was never going to be some great reconciliation, Legends deal and tribute honoring her career as the original women’s trailblazer for the modern WWE. Nope, she would forever be cast aside as an unwelcome outcast.
The life of a pro wrestler seems incredibly hard, but Chyna seemed disinterested in hiding her skeletons. It might be more shocking she survived until 45.
I’m almost hoping WWE doesn’t attempt some insincere make good tribute complete with posthumous Hall of Fame induction for her. If anything, hopefully Chyna’s death will remind the higher ups in WWE that life is way too short to hold on to petty grudges and that the men and women who gave so much of their lives to build this brand should be honored and celebrated while they’re still with us.
As usual, the wrestling community had some poignant and sweet tributes to their co-worker/peer/inspiration:
Crushed to hear that Chyna has passed away. In WWE she was over at the highest level. Very funny, sweet, and bad ass. She was awesome. @WWE
— Steve Austin (@steveaustinBSR) April 21, 2016
Shattered glass ceilings, kicked down doors, broke gender barriers, she was an anomaly & untouchable. Rest now-ur legacy lives on #RIPChyna
— Trish Stratus (@trishstratuscom) April 21, 2016
— Amy Dumas (@AmyDumas) April 21, 2016
I wish I could hear Joanie laugh again. She had the most most beautiful, dorky, fully committed laugh. pic.twitter.com/fKKNo7Ybe2
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) April 21, 2016
Very sad and tragic news about the passing of Chyna. A kind and funny lady. Her legacy will live forever. RIP Joanie pic.twitter.com/3D6EbP2myJ
— Shane McMahon (@shanemcmahon) April 21, 2016
Condolences to the family & friends of @ChynaJoanLaurer. Hopefully her troubled soul has found peace.
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) April 21, 2016
Still thinking of the sudden passing of @ChynaJoanLaurer Wednesday. A gentle
albeit troubled soul. What are your favorite
— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) April 21, 2016
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) April 21, 2016
My prayers go out to Joanie Laurer and her family. It's very sad to hear this news. Chyna was revolutionary for women in wrestling.
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 21, 2016
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) April 21, 2016
— Chavo Guerrero jr. (@mexwarrior) April 21, 2016
— #BROKEN Matt Hardy (@MATTHARDYBRAND) April 21, 2016
— Melina (@RealMelina) April 21, 2016
The epitome of the word pioneer. Godspeed my fellow Kowalski alum Chyna. You reinvented what a female wrestler is. May you be at peace.
— Frankie Kazarian (@FrankieKazarian) April 21, 2016
Rest in peace Joanie Lauer aka CHYNA. You were a kind, gentle and a misunderstood soul. Godspeed my friend. #RIPChyna
— Brian Heffron (@BlueMeanieBWO) April 21, 2016
Someone who wasn't afraid to blaze her own trail & create a path for those who would follow. A pioneer whose star shined bright. #RIPChyna
— Triple H (@TripleH) April 21, 2016
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) April 21, 2016
All I can say is that Chyna was always incredibly kind to me. I never forgot that. Life can be rough even to the strongest amongst us.
— Gregory Shane Helms (@ShaneHelmsCom) April 21, 2016
— Bubba Ray Dudley (@bullyray5150) April 21, 2016
— Gail Kim-Irvine (@gailkimITSME) April 21, 2016
— Brooke Adams (@RealBrookeAdams) April 21, 2016
Deeply saddened at the loss of someone who gave me so many happy childhood hugs and memories. Much love always, Ms. Big Joanie. #RIPChyna
— Dakota A Runnels (@DakotaRunnels22) April 21, 2016