After her days in the Peace Corps, Joanie Laurer undertook grueling days of training at Killer Kowalski’s Pro Wrestling School. At the time, no one thought they were witnessing the development of one of the most ground-breaking figures in professional wrestling history. As Chyna, she was first seen on WWE programming coming from the crowd to assist Hunter Hearst Helmsley and become the famous enforcer of D-Generation X.
As Chyna broke away from the notorious faction her character become more defined and her star grew brighter as she became the first-ever female competitor in the Royal Rumble. In the ring, Chyna became known as the “The 9th Wonder of The World.” She made history at No Mercy in 1999 when she beat Jeff Jarrett to be crowned the first female Intercontinental Champion in World Wrestling Entertainment history.
The spotlight on her grew as she was a presenter at MTV Movie Awards, released her own fitness video, and appeared on the NBC sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. In November of 2000, she made a splash as the cover girl of Playboy magazine with a nude pictorial and broke all sales records previously held by the publication. In January of 2001, her remarkable life story hit print as her autobiography, If They Only Knew, made The New York Times Best Seller list. Two months later, she fulfilled another conquest when she beat Ivory for the Women’s Championship at WrestleMania X-7. Shortly thereafter, she was the host of Robot Wars: Extreme Warriors.
Since parting ways with WWE in November of 2001, Chyna has remained in the public eye. Though she would resurface in May 2011 for TNA Wrestling as Kurt Angle’s associate, her days in the squared circle are largely behind her. However, the world will never forget her contributions to professional wrestling as a Superstar, pop-culture figure and a woman. In her prime, she was an unstoppable force who opened a new realm for WWE Divas.