If you are a Gen-Xer like me, you will recall the television show that spurred more social change than any other- Xena: Warrior Princess. The show, which starred a raven-haired, blue-eyed Amazonian badass trashing fools like a semi-mythical version of Wonder Woman, only set against far more ridiculous and cartoonish enemies. Though the show was unabashedly low budget, it became a lightning rod for chicks, who saw it as a call to arms to be badasses (and it was the first widely popular female fronted actioner* giving rise to everything from the Resident Evil flicks to Alias), and to queer chicks, as the show’s hinted-at lesbian romance spurred a greater interest in and tolerance of lesbian relationships.
As the protagonist, Lucy Lawless was perfect for the role- at 5’10”, the tomboy drama nerd was hyper athletic and believable enough in Xena’s ridiculous fight scenes just due to her size. As such, she served as the perfect basis for a woman who has no peer in the history of professional wrestling- the stereotype-slaughtering, expectation-shattering, gender barrier-annihilating Ninth Wonder of the World, Joanie “Chyna” Laurer.
For those of you who are too young to know her name or of the awesomeness of the Attitude Era of the WWE, I present to you the first broad to go toe to toe with dudes in the WWE and believably win. Chyna was a phenomenon the world never expected, nor did we deserve her. Stronger than most of the guys in your gym, believably tough, and sexy enough to spawn a mixed bag of regular boners, fear boners, and murder boners (because she absolutely trashed people in the ring) Before you start in with the whole tired “looks like a man” bit that dudes with limp dicks and low T cannot help but to drop into comments about Chyna, don’t bother- she didn’t bang dudes who were smaller, weaker, and less awesome than she was, so you wouldn’t even have been a blip on her radar. And before you start with the “huge clit” comments, if you’re worried that her’s is bigger than yours, that is perhaps not a comment you want to make to the general public- it’s best not to advertise your micropenis and subsequent feelings of inferiority. At the end of the day, whether you’re sexually attracted to Chyna is completely immaterial to the matter at hand- she was the first chick wrestler to throw down with the men and hold her own. The first female enforcer, only female Intercontinental Champion, and first chick Royal Rumble entrant, Chyna was so jacked she made her WWE debut as Triple H’s enforcer. As her insanely inadequate posthumous WWE profile puts it,
“THE NINTH WONDER OF THE WORLD,” AS SHE WAS KNOWN,” BROKE AS MANY GENDER BARRIERS AS SHE DID BODIES.”
For those of you who have never met the man, Mark Henry is not human sized- his head was literally the size of my torso when I met him weighing around 180. He’s selling the shit out of this, but to move the man at all you must be insanely strong- it’s like trying to move a stubborn buffalo. He’s literally that big.
CHYNA VITAL STATISTICS
Lived: December 27, 1969 – April 17, 2016 Height: 5’10” Weight: 180lbs Bench Press: 315 x 5; 365 x 1 Deadlift: 420lbs (early on in her career- no idea what it was after a few years of training)Squat: 405 x 12; 465 x 5 To give you a bit of perspective, this is a woman who competed as a bodybuilder and didn’t lift for strength but who would be firmly in the top ten all time 181lbers had she competed, with an estimated 1348 total, and in the conversation for fifth all time. And I’m aware of the “gym lifts don’t count” bullshit everyone loves bandying about, but the fun thing about bodybuilder maxes is that they’re extremely repeatable. As in, they do those maxes on a regular basis. Hell, in her first workout with Triple H, she out-benched him. In an interview, Triple H said,
“WE’RE IN THE GYM AND JOANIE (CHYNA) AND I ARE READY TO START. I BEGIN BY PUTTING 135 POUNDS ON THE BAR, DO A FEW REPS TO WARM UP. JOANIE PUTS 135 POUNDS UP, DOES THE SAME THING, AND RIGHT OFF, I’M THINKING, WOW. MOST WOMEN TOP OFF AT 135 POUNDS. WHEN SHE’S DONE WITH HER SET OF 135, JOANIE GRABS ANOTHER NINETY, THROWS IT ON. SHE’S 225 NOW. I’M THINKING, JESUS CHRIST, SHE’S GONNA DO THAT? UH-HUH, SURE, SHE’S TRYING TO GET A JOB, TRYING TO IMPRESS ME. SHE’LL DO A FEW REPS AND PETER OUT. WE BOTH DO THE 225. AND SHE JUST SMACKS IT OUT, TEN REPS, JUST LIKE THAT, NO STRAIN. BEFORE I CAN CATCH MY BREATH, SHE CRANKS IT UP TO 315. NOW, I’M THINKING, NO FUCKING WAY! THIS IS GONNA CUT HER IN HALF. BUT SHE GRABS IT, BOOM, BOOM, TWO REPS. NO SWEAT, LIKE SHE’S PUMPING SPONGE CAKE HERE. IN MY HEAD? I’M THINKING, GOD, I HAVEN’T EVEN HIT THAT!”
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NINTH WONDER OF THE WORLD
Like any other jacked, professional weirdo, Chyna had a rough childhood. Her parents were true blue, white trash from the disgusting hovel town of Rochester, NY, a town famous for little other than gang violence, an astonishing crime rate for a backwater town, and having remarkably low wages compared to the cost of housing. Chyna’s parents were the type of red-blooded Muricans who only shopped at Sears (Walmart hadn’t made it to New York by that point, so imagine a far more disgusting version of Wally World and you get the picture), beat the dog crap out of each other to country music while drunk, and who begged for money from their parents and neighbors for groceries because drinking Steel Reserve apparently is not a paying gig. After kicking Chyna out of the house at 16 over a bit of weed discovered in Chyna’s room, her dirty water garbage mom never saw her again, though she maintains to this day she was mother of the year every year Chyna was alive these days on Facebook.
Inb4 some bitch ass Gen Z spunk trumpet claims she’s intersex, because if there’s one thing virginal shut-ins know about, it’s chicks.
Her home life wasn’t the only misfortune in her life, however- like Dave Chappelle did when growing up, Chyna only owned three outfits per year and had a jawline that made Jay Leno look weak chinned as hell by comparison. As such, she was constantly messed with by her peers, and developed an awesome eating disorder trying to starve away her face. Fun fact, Redditors- not only do steroids do nothing whatsoever for your jawline (that’s GH), but bigass jawlines are often the reason chicks compete in sports anyway, not the result of gear use- their bodies produce more GH and testosterone naturally than the femme chicks. In any event, she had it insanely rough from every conceivable angle, yet she still managed not to shoot up her high school or commit suicide. After moving in with her biological father, she finished high school basically friendless, finished her undergrad in two years at the University of Tampa, and started working as a waitress in a Tampa strip club after a short stint in the Peace Corps. After ditching Florida for a state not solely populated by felons and meth-addicted mutants, Chyna ended up in Londonderry, NH to lift with her sister at a gym with the hilariously uninspired name The Workout Club. Bouncing around other gigs ranging from delivering singing telegrams to selling cars to selling beepers to teaching aerobics, Chyna trained like a utter maniac.
In spite of the fact that her life is essentially a national tour of the least desirable trailer parks on the planet, Chyna found a home in Londonderry and started dating her personal trainer, Gerry Blais, which put her lifetime decision making skills rating at around the rating for Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star– not just bad enough to justify suicide, but possibly bad enough to justify genocide. Not just because she started dating her trainer- she started dating a trainer in a backwater shithole who looks like a Jersey Shore reject with a serious love of Synthol. Irrespective of his own inability or unwillingness to train hard, Blais did set Chyna onto a path to greatness, however, so whenever he commits seppuku that single saving grace might keep people from pissing on his grave.
It was around this time that Chyna and her sister Kathy started training at wrestling god Killer Kowalski’s wrestling school, and in 1995 they began working the indie circuit together. Previously, they’d tried their hand at figure competition, though likely due in part to the jawline fellow competitors suggested they hit the wrestling circuit instead. Whoever those people were making the suggestions were on the money, though, because shortly after they started in the indies, Chyna met Triple H and Shawn Michaels, who then watched tapes of her matches and pushed Vince to bring her on in the WWE as Triple H’s bodyguard.
Because she was physically imposing and had serious strength to back it up, the ancient dickheads in the locker room whining about a chick fighting guys got shouted down within the WWE. None of the big names of the time, like Eddie Guerrero, Stone Cold, Jeff Jarrett, or Mick Foley had a problem with Chyna taking them out in matches. In their minds, there was nothing to sell, because she was legit as hell and one of the hardest workers in the business. When everyone else went out for beer, Chyna was in the gym chugging shakes and getting in a second or third lift for the day. When they were taking time off, she was practicing her craft- wrestling had finally given her something she loved that loved her back, and she was all in.
Before I get into the horrifying end to what should have been the most prolific and groundbreaking career in the history of sports, I might as well cover what little we know about Chyna’s diet and training, since they built one of the most impressive female athletic physiques of all time.
Chyna trained relentlessly from the time she met the Jersey Shore Synthol assbag through the end of her WWE run. She approached the gym year-round with the type of dedication that Tara Reid has for finding speedballs and professional bodybuilders display pre-contest- her entire day was structured around training and eating. When wrestling, her sessions were wedged in around performing and travel, but she was consistently in the gym six days a week. Following the typical bodybuilding body part split of that era, Chyna hit everything twice a week, then added an additional half hour of abject misery on the Stair mill with an 80lb backpack on days she didn’t wrestle. Like Goldberg, Chyna also used boxing for conditioning, throwing in an afternoon session of boxing work when she could. Those two were cut from the same cloth in that their work ethic in the gym translated to immense physicality in the ring, though Chyna was arguably a far better in ring worker than Goldberg.
Up next, Chyna’s diet and the depressing conclusion to Chyna’s story.