Tragic rise and fall of WWE legend Chyna who went from ‘first female champion’ to sex tape, drugs and sudden death | The Sun

JOANIE Laurer was a trailblazer for women within the WWE, but a series of scandals and tragedies ultimately led her from championship victories to her sudden death.

Chyna, as she was commonly known, was dubbed the "Ninth Wonder of the World" when she first hit the pro wrestling scene in the late 1990s.

Laurer began her transition from college student to professional wrestler under the watchful eye of bodybuilding icon Killer Kowalski.

As she began to show potential, it wasn’t long before the two competing industry giants of the time, WWE and World Championship Wrestling (WCW) had their eyes on bringing Laurer into the business.

She was set to be part of two of the biggest factions in wrestling history, either D-Generation X or the New World Order.

Laurer chose to join the esteemed WWE, where she joined forces with wrestling legends Shawn Michaels and Triple H.



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From 1997 to 2001 Laurer smashed through several barriers and won multiple titles within the WWE.

She held the Women's Championship, was the first woman to participate in the Royal Rumble, and became the only woman to hold the Intercontinental Championship.

It was from here, that the champion began having to juggle her glittering career and her mounting personal struggles.

Laurer was in a relationship with co-WWE wrestler Triple H, who also went on to win several world championship titles.

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But she was left heartbroken after discovering that he was also dating Stephanie McMahon – the daughter of WWE chairman Vince McMahon.

The shocking discovery led to a dramatic fight that eventually led to her dismissal from WWE in 2001.

But the toxic relationships within her wrestling world did not end there.

Sean Waltman, another member of D-Generation X, was also in a romantic relationship with Laurer after her departure from WWE.

Waltman, also known as X-Pac, spoke to Stone Cold Steve Austin during an episode of "The Steve Austin Show" about their time together.

According to Waltman, Triple H tried to "warn" him about dating Laurer and he also divulged information about their controversial sex tape "leak."

Laurer and Waltman had released a sex tape together in 2004 called One Night In China, believed to have earned the pair £78,000 each.

After that "debut" into the adult entertainment world, she would go on to be featured in four other adult films, with the final coming in 2012.

She played a parody of She-Hulk in a film titled "Avengers XXX: A Porn Parody."

"This industry was kind of tarnished for me, [so] I just felt mentally that I wanted to experience it, to cross that barrier and see what it was like," Laurer later told the Baltimore Sun.

She also appeared in Playboy magazine twice.

In another interview with Steve Austin, Triple H spoke about Laurer's career in porn being a reason why she's not inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Following the initial sex tape scandal, Laurer struggled with alcohol addiction, and many of her personal struggles were splashed across the media.

In 2008, she was even part of Celebrity Rehab with Dr Drew, appearing as a member of the cast of season one where she spoke about what she had been through.

On December 27, 2008, Laurer attempted suicide following her birthday party.

She attempted again in September 2010 by overdosing on medication.

This appeared to become a turning point for Laurer who appeared to be making moves to improve her physical and mental health.

In 2012, Laurer moved to Japan where she taught English until she returned to the United States in 2015. 

In November of that year, it seemed as if Laurer's efforts to gain back control of her life were about to come crashing down as TMZ claimed she was booked for public intoxication after cops found her in a state outside her apartment.

At the same time, the documentary The Reconstruction of Chyna was in the process of being produced by Erik Angra.

Angra ultimately ended up becoming increasingly concerned for Laurer's well-being and reached out to her ex Waltman about seeking help for the fallen star.

Waltman allegedly spoke with Triple H who agreed to pay for Laurer's rehab.

But in a decision that has now left fans devastated, Laurer's manager Anthony Anzaldo allegedly turned down the offer on her behalf because "she was very paranoid about the WWE".

Then, just a year later, on April 20, 2016, Laurer was tragically found dead in her California home, aged 46.

She was found by Anzaldo, who stated she had died from an accidental overdose.

An autopsy revealed she had died three days before from a mixture of alcohol and prescribed anxiety medication, painkillers, and sleeping pills.

Anzaldo said at the time that he believed the star was self-medicating after becoming "emotionally strained" and added: "She was really confronting some demons and she may have been taking a little bit more than normal.

"Every couple of days she'd be a little bit off of her game, a little loopy, like maybe she had taken too much but she was still coherent.

"It looked like she died peacefully in her sleep, there were no illegal drugs, no alcohol, it wasn't like her home was a mess.

"At this time there's no thought of it being an intentional thing."

The last contact the ex-Intercontinental Champion and porn star had with the outside world is believed to have been a voicemail she left on Anzaldo's phone less than two days before she passed.

Laurer said: "I'm going to go into rehab right up the street in Malibu. They won't pick me up from the Trenton, New Jersey facility.

"I go for two weeks, drink cucumber juice and whatever. Swim around, walk, and get clearance.

"I can get therapy done the right way and get clearance to do the movies that are all set up."

The ashes of the former WWE superstar were scattered into the Pacific Ocean from a rhinestone urn in November 2016, according to the Bleacher Report.

A video of the dignified ceremony was posted on YouTube and shows the star’s manager dispensing her remains into the deep blue sea.

Following her sudden death, wrestling fans called for Laurer to take her place in the WWE Hall of Fame.

The issues surrounding her porn career were brought up but there was no doubt that Laurer had earned her place.

In 2019, WWE finally came up with a solution.

Laurer was inducted as part of the Degeneration-X stable along with Shawn Micheals, Triple H, X-Pac, and the New Age Outlaws.

Even after her death seven years ago, Laurer has continued to inspire women in wrestling, and many believe she paved the way for athletes like Beth Phoenix, who would become the second woman to enter the Royal Rumble in 2010.

But Laurer is not the only former WWE star to rise to fame before ultimately spiralling.

Tammy Sytch, better known as Sunny, is now facing up to 25 years in prison following her involvement in a deadly car crash – but a ludicrous career once saw her as one of the most idolised women within WWE.

A change of career to the porn industry then grew her popularity even further, as WWE fans and the majority of men swooned over her looks and glamour.

But years of trouble and crime would follow and now the once-loved diva is facing a lengthy jail sentence after pleading guilty to killing a pensioner in a car smash in Florida last year.

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