Joanie Laurer (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Joan Marie "Joanie" Laurer (born December 27 1969) is an American actress and retired professional wrestler. A former bodybuilder, she is best known for her career with the World Wrestling Federation between 1997 and 2001, where she was known as Chyna and nicknamed The Ninth Wonder of the World (with the eighth wonder being André the Giant).
As a child, Laurer learned to play both the violin and cello.
Joanie Laurer left home at age 16, and went to Spain under a scholarship with the United Nations. By 1987, she had graduated high school in Spain. She spent the next five years at the University of Tampa and graduated in 1992 with a degree in Spanish Literature. During college, she also studied French and German and can hold a conversation in either language. She originally wanted to use her knowledge of foreign languages to work for the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Drug Enforcement Administration. Subsequently, she joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to Costa Rica to teach literacy.
After college, Laurer began to regularly enter fitness competitions. In 1996, Laurer competed in the New York City regional of the Fitness America Pageant.
Professional wrestling career
Joanie Laurer trained at Wladek "Killer" Kowalski's wrestling school in Salem, Massachusetts. During this time, she briefly dated Perry "Saturn" Satullo. She debuted in the year 1995 and worked for various independent promotions as Just Joanie and Joanie Lee.
World Wrestling Federation (1997-2001)
Main article: D-Generation X
Laurer met World Wrestling Federation employees Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a bar in 1997. Struck by her appearance, they helped her get into the WWF. She made her WWF debut on February 16 at In Your House choking Marlena. Her original role in the company was as Chyna, the laconic bodyguard of Triple H and later D-Generation X. She often got physically involved in Triple H's matches during his feuds with Goldust, Mankind, Owen Hart, and The Rock by executing a low-blow (an uppercut to the crotch). At WWF No Way Out of Texas in 1998, she became the first woman to be stunned by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
In January 1999, Chyna was the #30 entrant in the Royal Rumble, becoming the first woman ever to enter the contest. The day after the Royal Rumble, Chyna turned heel by betraying Triple H and aligning herself with his enemy Vince McMahon and Kane, his future opponent at WrestleMania XV. Laurer teamed with Kane in her WWF in-ring debut at the St. Valentine's Day Massacre pay-per-view against former allies X-Pac and Triple H. The Corporate pair were successful, although a Triple H vs. Chyna encounter did not occur. At WrestleMania XV, Chyna turned on Kane in his match by helping Triple H defeat him, appearing to rejoin DX. However, Chyna and Triple H turned against DX later that evening when they helped Shane McMahon defeat DX member X-Pac. The duo became part of The Corporation, and later Shane McMahon's Corporate Ministry, feuding with faces such as Steve Austin, Kane, X-Pac, and The Rock. Following the dissolution of the Corporate Ministry, Chyna remained at Triple H's side, implying there was a romantic relationship, though the two were never affectionate to one another on-screen.
In late 1999, Laurer became a face again during her long feud with Jeff Jarrett. At Unforgiven 1999, she had a match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship against Jarrett, which she lost. The next night, Chyna and Debra took on Jeff and Tom Prichard, hoping to be rewarded a re-match at No Mercy 1999. She defeated Jarrett for the title in his last WWF match, a Good Housekeeping match, on October 17 at No Mercy 1999, in the process becoming the first and only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship. She also gained the services of his valet, Miss Kitty. According to her autobiography If They Only Knew, Laurer claims that Jarrett demanded (and received) $250,000 from Vince McMahon in order to lose the title cleanly to a woman. His contract had expired on October 16, 1999, and he was therefore not contractually obligated to appear on the pay-per-view. If he had not appeared, the WWF would have been criticized for false advertising, and the lineage of the title would have been broken.
Chyna then feuded with Chris Jericho over the belt, defeating him at the Survivor Series, but losing the title to him at Armageddon. The two faced off again in a match on the December 28th edition of SmackDown!, which ended controversially with both wrestlers pinning each other. As a result, then "head of authority" Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley declared them co-champions.
At the Royal Rumble, Jericho and Chyna defended the title against Hardcore Holly in a triple threat match to determine the Undisputed Champion, which Jericho won. Laurer briefly teamed with Jericho before becoming the on-screen girlfriend of then-heel, Eddie Guerrero, thus making her third heel run.
Guerrero and Laurer, originally heels, became very popular during the summer of 2000, with Guerrero dubbing her his "Mamacita". The couple both faced off against Val Venis and then-rookie Trish Stratus in an intergender tag team match at SummerSlam 2000 with the Intercontinental Championship on the line. Chyna won the match, but lost the belt two weeks later to Guerrero in a triple threat match with Kurt Angle, causing friction between the two. They officially split in the autumn of 2000 after Eddie was found cavorting in the shower with two of The Godfather's "hos", Mandy and Victoria.
At the same time, Laurer's appearance in the November 2000 issue of Playboy attracted the unwanted attention of Right to Censor, a strait-laced group of wrestlers who lampooned the Parents Television Council. Shortly after, Laurer was announced as injured after a double team piledriver at the hands of Ivory and Val Venis.
Laurer returned a few weeks later and began a feud with Ivory over the Women's Championship. This culminated in an angle at the Royal Rumble where Laurer appeared to re-injure her neck while performing a handspring back elbow. In order to sell the injury, color commentator Jerry Lawler left the commentators' booth and entered the ring to check on Laurer's condition, something he had not done since the in-ring accident that killed Owen Hart in 1999. The highly publicized return of Laurer from the (kayfabe) "injury" culminated in her winning the Women's Championship from Ivory at WrestleMania X-Seven in a squash match.
Laurer was an extremely dominant champion, defeating challengers Molly Holly and Trish Stratus with little problem. She also defeated Lita, arguably the WWF's second toughest female at that time, at Judgment Day 2001. She vacated the Women's Championship in the process, as this was Laurer's final WWF match. During her contract re-negotiations, it was said that Laurer was unhappy with the pay she was offered and the fact that she was expected to compete principally in the women's division rather than against men. It was also rumored that the relationship between Triple H, her former boyfriend, and Stephanie McMahon, with whom Laurer claims he had an affair and then left Laurer for, was a factor in her departure. She left the company on November 30 2001, several months after negotiations had broken down and she had been taken off television. Jim Ross later confirmed that she was not fired from the WWF, but rather chose to leave for personal reasons.
Independent circuit (2001-2002)
Laurer's in-ring career since then has been very limited. She sang and wrestled at an Ultimate Pro Wrestling event, and was scheduled to appear on a talk show hosted by Jonny Fairplay on a Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) pay-per-view. She did not appear.
New Japan Pro Wrestling (2002)
In 2002, Laurer joined the New Japan Pro Wrestling roster. She made her first appearance at the New Japan Thirtieth Anniversary Show, refereeing a bout between the Steiner Brothers and Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kensuke Sasaki. In September and October 2002, she wrestled four matches for the promotion. After losing to Masahiro Chono on October 14 2002, Laurer wrestled her final match on October 26 2002, teaming with the Fake Great Muta in a loss to Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kenzo Suzuki.
Vince McMahon's "No Chance in Hell" (beginning in January 1999)
Triple H's "Higher Brain Power" (which was later remixed by the DX Band into "My Time")
The WWE produced "Who I Am" (from her split with Triple H until her release)
Championships and accomplishments
International Wrestling Federation
IWF Women's Championship (1 time)
Pro Girls Wrestling Association
Rookie of the Year (1996)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated
PWI ranked her #235 of the 500 best wrestlers in 1999
PWI ranked her #106 of the 500 best wrestlers in 2000
World Wrestling Federation
WWF Intercontinental Championship (3 times)
WWF Women's Championship (1 time)
Modeling and acting career
In her best selling autobiography, If They Only Knew, Laurer revealed that her breast implants were custom made after she complained to her plastic surgeon that their largest implants didn't suit her frame in the way she desired. Laurer's custom implants became the model for the Chyna 2000s, a model of breast implant marketed to large framed women and female bodybuilders. Laurer claims to have paid $6,000 for them. Later in the book, Laurer revealed that the structural integrity of the Chyna 2000 prototypes was relatively weak, and that one of them ruptured during a wrestling match, necessitating surgery.
In 2001, Laurer was a guest on a special celebrity edition of Fear Factor. Each contestant played for a charity of his or her choice, and she received $25,000 for the Freedom Families Scholarship Fund. Her competition included Brooke Burke, David Hasselhoff, Kelly Preston, Donny Osmond, and the winner Coolio. She also appeared on the celebrity game show, Hollywood Squares, where she was introduced as 'Joanie Laurer' of New Japan Pro Wrestling. She also appeared on MTV Cribs showing off her home.
Laurer has modeled nude, notably for Playboy; the first issue which featured a pictorial of her was one of the ten best selling issues in the magazine's history. In 2002, following her departure from the WWF, Laurer also appeared in a Playboy adult documentary, entitled Joanie Laurer Nude: Wrestling Superstar to Warrior Princess, which followed Laurer on-set of her second Playboy nude pictorial.
Since 2003, Laurer has had a tumultuous relationship with wrestler Sean Waltman. They were engaged for a period in 2003, then broke up, then became engaged again, a pattern which continued for the next two years. In 2004, it was claimed that Laurer and Waltman made a sex tape during a vacation to China earlier that year, but Laurer did not go to China with Waltman. Eager for a repeat success, the company that released Paris Hilton's celebrity sex tape obtained the footage, edited it, and released it under the name 1 Night in China. The video sold over 100,000 copies, with both Laurer and Waltman earning a share of the profits, and boosted both their careers.
In January 2005, Laurer was arrested for domestic assault after allegedly beating Waltman.
In early 2005, Laurer appeared on The Surreal Life, with house mates Da Brat, Jane Wiedlin, Adrianne Curry, Christopher Knight, Marcus Schenkenberg, and Verne Troyer. She remains good friends with Adrianne Curry, and made a brief cameo on her reality show My Fair Brady. On a February 2007 edition of the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show, Sean Waltman claimed that Laurer also previously dated Ed "Brutus Beefcake" Leslie. In March 2005, Laurer re-appeared on The Howard Stern Show, where Stern noted that not only did Laurer look better than she did during her previous visit, but her entire general appearance and attitude were much better.
In late 2005, Laurer signed to star in a new movie entitled Illegal Aliens, Anna Nicole Smith's last movie before her death. She did a lot of promotional work for the movie, including appearances on talk shows and radio shows. On August 31 2006, she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live as a singing barber singing with three other veterans. Laurer also appeared on The Howard Stern Show, Queer Edge, and Opie and Anthony. In November 2006, Laurer claimed on the Dr. Keith Ablow show that she did not leave the WWF because of money issues, but left because of the aforementioned issues between herself, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. Also in November 2006, Joanie announced a new musical project with the band "Plastic Jones".
In January 2007, Laurer conducted an interview with "Lifted Magazine" where she talked about finding religion, overcoming a past full of drugs and violence, and promoted her new movies and TV series, The Surreal Life: Fame Games, which began to air on VH1 in January 2007. The filming took place in April 2006, during which she formed a close friendship with Brigitte Nielsen. Her elimination from the show, which occurred in the seventh episode, was controversial. Andrea Lowell had accumulated the lowest score in the "Celebrity Call-Back-A-Thon" challenge, but she manipulated Kennedy, the judge, to increase her score and got Laurer eliminated in the process.
On February 8 2007 (the date of Anna Nicole Smith's death), a visibly upset Laurer appeared on Larry King Live to speak about her late friend. On the program, Laurer claimed that she "knew it was coming" because of the way the media had ridiculed Smith, and she drew parallels between the plight of Anna and herself. However, the wife of the CEO of Trim Spa, Monique Goen, claimed that Smith did not consider Laurer a friend.
On February 14 2007, Laurer and Shane and Sia Barbi led an animal rights protest at UCLA. The trio led other protesters to the door of the Neuropsychiatric Institute, a scientific lab where they perform tests on monkeys. The group had to be split up by the police, but not before a violent protester, who was nowhere near Laurer or the Barbi twins, shouted obscenities and attempted to harm the workers.