Chyna Dies At Age 45: Farewell, 9th Wonder

by Becky Brown

On Wednesday, April 20th, 2016, Joanie Laurer, famously known as WWE wrestler “Chyna,” passed away in her home in Redondo Beach, CA.

While speculation over Chyna’s cause of death continues, she will forever be remembered as a WWE icon and revolutionized the role of women in wrestling.

In 1996, Chyna won Rookie of the Year in the Professional Girl Wrestling Association. After working as male wrestler Triple H’s body guard in the WWF, she later broke into the ring, becoming the first woman to qualify for King of the Ring, Royal Rumble, and was the first woman to win the Intercontinental Championship in 1999.

12919779 984342278318330 8783837618326400625 n

She later broke into entertainment, appearing in TV shows including Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Mad TV, 3rd Rock from The Sun, The Surreal Life, and VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

In an interview in 2001 with The Houston Chronicle, Chyna told the press, “It’d be a shame to waste my physique and desire. I think I can be the female Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

535105 980626855356539 8762737306804229369 n

Not only did Chyna break barriers in a male-dominated sport, she also graduated with a 3.9 gpa from University of Tampa in Spanish Literature in under two years with a double major in Spanish Literature, can speak German, French and Spanish, served in the Peace Corps in Central America, is a strong supporter of the National Animal Rescue Coalition, she was a member of the ROTC, and she modeled. 

Before her career began, Chyna had little interest in wrestling only to later bill herself as the “9th wonder of the world,” in her autobiography.

12360201 921919851227240 3570756129676490648 n

Chyna was an inspiration to many, and her fans continue to support her in the hopes that she will have a well deserved place in the Wrestling Hall of Fame. 

Images via Chyna/Facebook


More from BUST

Where Do All The Girls Go?

My Picture Perfect Wedding Day – With Ostomy Bags: BUST True Story

Teen’s ‘Love Yes’ Album Will Make You Want To Dance With Your Dog: BUST Review


You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.