Chyna of WWF
Joanie Laurer is a former professional wrestler who is best known for performances under her stage persona Chyna. During her tenure with WWF from 1997 to 2001, she made a name for herself as the first woman ever to enter the Royal Rumble in 1999 and became the first and only woman to win the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship, where she defeated Jeff Jarrett in his last WWF match in 1999. She easily defeated Ivory for the WWF Women's Championship in 2001. Her in-ring career after WWF has been considered minor. Laurer now maintains a presence in the public eye as an actress. She has appeared as a guest star in a number of TV shows and in several movies. In 2007, she starred in two movies, “Illegal Aliens” and “Cougar Club.” Laurer is also known as the writer of the autobiography “If They Only Knew” (2001).
As for her private life, Laurer has been linked to several men. Shee briefly dated Perry “Saturn” Satullo while training at Wladek “Killer” Kowalski's wrestling school and later had a much-published romance with fellow wrestler and friend Triple H. Her relationship with Triple H ended when he began dating Stephanie McMahon. From 2003 to 2005, Laurer had an on-and-off again relationship with wrestler Sean Waltman. In 2004, Laurer and Waltman made a sex tape. The video was later released under the name “1 Night in China” by a company that previously released Paris Hilton's celebrity sex tape. The video sold more than 100,000 copies with both Laurer and Waltman receiving a share of the profits. In early 2005, Laurer was arrested for home assault after allegedly striking Waltman.
On February 14, 2007, Laurer joined Shane and Sia Barbi to lead an animal rights protest at UCLA. The trio led other protesters to the door of a scientific laboratory in which they perform tests on monkeys.
Childhood and Family:
Joanie Marie Laurer was born on December 27, 1969, in Rochester, New York, to parents Joe and Janet who divorced when Joanie was still a little girl. Her father was an alcoholic, while her mother married several times after they separated. Joanie describes her childhood and family life as “very dysfunctional” and says her parents were very brutal and abusive to her. She was primarily raised by her sister Kathy.
Joanie studied how to play the violin and cello when she was a child. At age 16, she left her home and went to Spain under a scholarship with the United Nations. She graduated high school in Spain two years later. Joanie next attended the University of Tampa and earned a degree in Spanish Literature in 1992. During college, she also learned German and French. With her knowledge of foreign languages, Joanie intended to work at the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the Drug Enforcement Administration. Later on, she joined the Peace Corps and taught literacy in Costa Rica.
The Ninth Wonder of the World
An intelligent and athletic student in high school and college, Joanie Laurer tried her hand at physical fitness upon returning to the Unites States from Costa Rica where she served in the Peace Corps. She started to regularly enter fitness competitions and finally found her way into a wresting school operated by wrestling legend Killer Kowalski in Salem, Massachusetts. Laurer made her professional debut in 1995 and worked for a number of independent promotions under the stage names Joanie Lee and Just Joanie.
Laurer's luck started to change when she met World Wrestling Federation employees Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Shawn Michaels in a bar in 1997. Attracted by her appearance, the two helped Laurer get into the WWF. Openly referred to as “The Ninth Wonder of the World” thanks to her size and strength, Laurer made her debut in WWF on February 16. Her original role in the company was as Chyna, the awe-inspiring bodyguard of Triple H and later D-Generation X. She frequently was physically involved in Triple H's matches during his feuds with Goldust, Mankind, Owen Hart, and The Rock.
By January 1999, Chyna had entered the Royal Rumble in which she made a distinction for being the first woman ever to enter the contest. The day after the Royal Rumble, Chyna deceived Triple H and aligned herself with his enemy Vince McMohon and Kane, his future enemy at WrestleMania XV. Teaming up with Kane, she fought against ex-allies X-Pac and Triple H in her WWF in-ring debut at the “St. Valentine's Day Massacre” pay-per-view show, and the corporate pair were victorious, though a Chyna vs.Triple H fight did not happen. At WrestleMania XV, Chyna helped Triple H defeat Kane and the two joined up again to help Shane McMahon defeat DX member X-Pac. Chyna and Triple H became part of The Corporation and later Shane McMahon's Corporate Ministry, attacking such rebels as Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kane, X-Pac and The Rock. After the break up of the Corporate Ministry, Chyna stayed at the side of Triple H.
Laurer again gained the attention of the public in late 1999 when she had a long feud with Jeff Jarrett. She lost to Jarrett in a match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship at “Unforgiven 1999.” On October 17 at “No Marcy 1999,” she defeated Jarret for the title in Jarrett's last WWF match, a victory that made Chyna the first and only woman to win the Intercontinental Championship. In her autobiography “If They Only Knew,” Laurer wrote that Jarrett requested (and received) $250,000 from Vince McMahon in order to lose the title flawlessly to a woman. She later continued to hold the title two more times.
Entering the new millennium, Laurer joined forces with Chris Jericho for a time before she became the on-screen girlfriend of Eddie Guerrero. They parted ways in autumn of 2000 after Guerrero was spotted in the shower with Mandy and Victoria, two of the Godfather's “Hos.” Meanwhile, on November 2000, Laurer drew controversy with her appearance in Playboy magazine. Right to Censor, a group of wrestlers who spoofed the Parents Television Council, was not happy with the appearance and shortly after Laurer was injured at the hands of Ivory and Val Venis.
A few weeks later, Laurer made her return and started a conflict against Ivory over the Women's Championship. This climaxed into a bout at the Royal Rumble in which Laurer seemed to re-injure her neck. With the intention of selling the injury, commentator Jerry Lawler left the commentators' booth and entered the ring to check on Laurer, a thing he had not done since the tragic accident that led to Owen Hart's death in 1999. The published return of Laurer ended with success by Laurer taking the Women's Championship title from Ivory in WrestleMania X-Seven in a squash match. Laurer went on to easily defeat challengers Molly Holly and Trish Stratus. She also defeated Lita, arguably the WWF's second toughest female, in “Judgment Day” 2001.However, during her contract re-negotiations she became unhappy with the salary she was offered and the concept that she would compete primarily in the women's division. She left WWF on November 30, 2001. Jim Ross later confirmed that she left the company for personal reasons, not being fired by WWF.
Currently known as a professional actress, Laurer made a guest appearance at a special edition of “Fear Factor” in 2001, among other competitors like Brooke Burke, David Hasselhoff, Kelly Preston, Donny Osmond and Coolio, whom eventually emerged as the episode's winner. Two years later, she appeared on the celebrity game show “Hollywood Squares,” in which she was introduced as 'Joanie Laurer' of “New Japan Pro Wrestling.” She has also been seen on “The Howard Stern Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and the “Dr. Keith Ablow Show.” In early 2005, Laurer appeared on the reality series “The Surreal Life,” with house mates Da Brat, Jane Wiedlin, Adrianne Curry, Christopher Knight, Marcus Schenkenberg, and Verne Troyer. The following year, she announced a new musical project with the band “Plastic Jones” and portrayed Roxanne in the cult comedy “Just Another Romantic Wrestling Comedy.”
More recently, in 2007, Laurer participated in VH1's “The Surreal Life: Fame Games,” in which she was eliminated in a controversial seventh episode. “Illegal Aliens,” her film opposite the late Anna Nicole Smith, was also released in 2007. She also portrayed Teddy Archibald in the comedy film “Cougar Club,” starring Jason Jurman and Warren Kole and directed by Christopher Duddy. It premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2007.