Tag Archives: RIP

Joanie ‘Chyna’ Laurer Dead at 45

She was a pioneer in a choreographed world, a woman who empowered female athletes in a predominantly male industry. So what led to the demise of Joanie Laurer, better known as Chyna, and why was she whitewashed from the professional wrestling history books by the industry’s head honchos?

She stood alone at ringside, a looming figure of square jawed, jacked up peril. It was clear that Chyna wasn’t the usual spectator during her inaugural appearance on WWF(WWE) television.

So it proved, as the 26-year old titan aligned herself with real life beau, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque at the 1997 In Your House 13 Pay-Per-View, when choking out the rather daintier figure of Marlena, a diminutive female valet with pendulous, surgically enhanced bosoms; Chyna stood prominent as the antithesis to the titillation embodied by her victim and the women’s division in general, flying in the face of pillow fights and gravy bowl contests.

Initially mute, Chyna was officially installed as a bodyguard shortly after the PPV, and later attached herself to the federation’s counter culture collective, D Generation X, a fraternity style faction spawned in response to rival wrestling conglomerate WCW’s hugely successful New World Order.

Chyna and Eddie

Over the next four years Chyna’s influence grew; she was the first female to enter the prestigious Royal Rumble event in 1999, the only woman ever to win the fed’s secondary strap, the Intercontinental title, and was allegedly offered the World Title if she turned down a Playboy shoot in late 2000.

Ultimately, the now heavily ‘beautified’ grappler, who despite her previous claims of beauty coming from within had resorted to extensive procedures in order to soften her jaw, augment her breasts and straighten her nose, chose to bare all.

Despite her integral role within DX and trailblazing run, Chyna never fully recovered from her real-life break-up with Levesque, who from late 1999 was dating company owner Vince McMahon’s daughter Stephanie, and whose influence within WWE was ever-increasing.

With her star dimming, Chyna was released from her contract in 2001, and effectively blackballed from company events, spiralling into drug and alcohol dependence, and starring in half a dozen adult movies from 2004-2013.

She did, briefly, return to the squared circle with Total Non-stop Action wrestling (TNA) in the Spring of 2011, cutting a bloated caricature of the once imposing figure as she entered and exited the company to little fanfare.

Chyna before after

Her absence from the WWE’s Hall of Fame remains one of wrestling’s most damning indictments. A glorified popularity contest, unlike other high profile hall of fames, induction often has less to do with in-ring merit, and more with nuzzling the bosom of the company’s upper echelon.

Why else would Triple H have stated that Chyna’s absence is due to her pornography career and yet induct Tammy ‘Sunny’ Sytch, an individual with an extensive blue movie back catalogue, who fingers herself on Skype for a small fee and who put her Hall of Fame ring up for auction on eBay?

Transparently, although WWE can never admit it, the reason why they refuse to induct the woman they once labelled ‘the ninth wonder of the world‘, is purely personal.

Tragically, it may have taken her death and the expected subsequent swell of fan reaction to force Vince McMahon and co’s hands. Chyna is surely destined for a 2017 induction in the wake of this tragedy.

A demise by suspected overdose does highlight the question of why a company that repeatedly assisted struggling ex-pro’s such as Scott Hall, Jake Roberts and Sytch could not find the compassion to do the same for a woman clearly struggling with her identity and craving validation for her endeavours.

Like so much in wrestling, the truth may be far less palatable than any of the scripts that unfolded during Chyna’s career.

Her final desperate pleas for a reconciliation ignored, it appears that the helplessness she felt was the final cause of the once proud warrior’s death.

In truth, and tragically, this is a fate that has been on the cards for 15 years, and could probably have been avoided with a simple extension of an olive branch, an offer of hope for the hopeless.

R.I.P Chyna.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

R.I.P Richie Benaud

His distinctive tones set the scene for many of the most memorable cricket matches of my childhood, and few people in the sport have ever been more beloved than Richie Benaud, a legendary Australian leg spin bowler and captain, who became the voice of cricket for more than three decades.

So it was with great sadness that I awoke in Byron Bay on Friday morning to a news report about the passing of one of a genuine sporting icon, a man who loved the game, and always insisted that it should be played in an exciting, progressive manner.

He had fought a long battle with skin cancer, and his overall health took a tumble after a car accident in 2013, although he continued to be active on the broadcast scene in Australia until earlier this year.

Richie Benaud

A commentating style based on a subtle, understated and dry delivery – something that could be said for his bowling as well – never threatened to over embellish the footage, or self promote the man who was speaking; Benaud was the master of sprinking a dash of garnish when the moment called for it.

In 2005 he called his final Test matches for English television, fittingly the Ashes that year is considered one of the greatest series of all time, and the commentary team that Channel Five assembled was akin to a who’s who of the good and great living orators in the booth.

An absolute surge of well-wishes and tributes have poured in from the cricketing world since news of Richie Benaud’s demise became widespread. His voice, sparkling personality and quick wit will be sorely missed in the game.

R.I.P Richie.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Phillip Joel Hughes RIP

South Australia cricketer Phillip Hughes was pronounced dead during the early hours of Thursday, 27 November, 2014; a full two days after he had been struck on the the neck by a fierce bouncer from New South Wales seamer Sean Abbott during a domestic match in Sydney.

Phillip Hughes

Hughes, who was set to earn his 27th Test cap the following week, was widely regarded as a player with his best years in front of him for the ‘Baggie Greens’, departing for the final time a few days prior to what would have been his 26th birthday.

The video footage is unsettling, albeit grainy, as the seemingly initially coherent Hughes appears to shake off the blow before collapsing head first into the turf, as opposition players rapidly wave medics towards the stricken batsman, who had hitherto been imperious on his way to an unbeaten 63.

Hughes made a memorable start to his international career as a fresh faced 20 year-old, terrorising an exceptional South African bowling attack with a series of outstanding performances that belied his novice status, to conclude the series with a couple of hundreds and an average in excess of 75.

As his star grew he was increasingly scrutinised and a flaw against the short ball meant that he received plenty of sweet chin music for the rest of his top level tenure, with England in particular using the half-trackers to dismiss him cheaply on numerous occasions.

Unfortunately he never fully conquered this glitch and was routinely peppered with short stuff, even in his final innings, with the conclusive delivery he faced sending shudders through the foundations of the cricketing and sporting landscape.
The official cause of death is vertebral artery dissection and is plainly a freak occurrence, with only 100 other cases reported, and only one previously relating to a cricket ball.


Phillip Hughes 3

Phillip Joel Hughes’ demise will leave a dark cloud over the cricketing panorama for the foreseeable future. Widely regarded as one of the most engaging characters on the scene, he passed away when on the cusp of truly fulfilling the immense talent he was blessed with.

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.