Tag Archives: WWE

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.

Hulk Hogan’s “N” Word Tirade

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) severed ties with the legendary Hulk Hogan late last week, removing his profile from their website in the process.

Hogan Rock

These moves arrived hot on the heels of the disclosure of a 2008 recording where the fallen icon delivered a racist tirade against a black rapper who was dating his daughter Brooke.

The audio leaked as part of a $100m law suit brought upon by Hogan himself, with the 61 year-old suing American blog site “Gawker” for publishing a sex tape involving him and a former friend’s wife (That pal being DJ Bubba the Love Sponge, whose idea it was for his best friend and better half to get jiggy in the first place.)

 

That quote

 

“I guess we’re all a little racist,

She is making some real bad decisions now. My daughter Brooke jumped sides on me. I spent $2-3m on her music career, I’ve done everything like a jackass for her,

“I don’t know if Brooke was f*cking the black guy’s son. I mean, I don’t have double standards. I mean, I am racist to a point; f*cking n*ggers,

But then when it comes to nice people and sh*t, and whatever. I mean, I’d rather if she was going to f*ck some n*gger, I’d rather have her marry an 8-foot tall n*gger worth a hundred million dollars like a basketball player!

“I guess we’re all a little racist. F*cking n*gger.”

 

WWE Hypocrisy?

The majority of hardcore professional wrestling fans have cited the hypocrisy of WWE’s decision to ditch their most illustrious performer of all-time, with a handful of the company’s past segments coming under fire (click the link below to see one such example.)

Whether WWE has wiped its hands of Hogan permanently, or can resolve the issue after a cooling off period remains to be seen. The wrestler’s grovelling apology in recent days seemed heartfelt enough, although falling woefully short of excusing the poisonous words of the past.

The 61-year old, whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea, began his wrestling career in the late 1970’s, becoming the face of American pro-wrestling in the 1980’s and 90’s with the WWF (now WWE) and WCW. He had only made peace with the former 18 months ago after a sabbatical that lasted several years.

What do you make of Hulk Hogan’s words? Is WWE being hypocritical considering their past indiscretions and the fact that the comments were made privately several years ago, or can a leopard never change his spots? Comments welcome.

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.

CM Punk: Pioneer or cry baby?

CM Punk’s words have divided fans of ‘sports entertainment’ and pissed off numerous former colleagues in the past week; Dom Kureen takes a look at the straight-edge 36 year-old’s departure from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and belated subsequent revelations.

CM Punk with Vince Mcmahon

CM Punk, aka Phil Brooks, walked out on World Wrestling Entertainment after the 2014 Royal Rumble event took place in Pittsburgh in late January, only breaking his silence last week as the subject of a podcast interview with good friend Colt Cobana.

Having walked out a full six months before his contract was due to expire, Punk cited the fact that he was officially an independent contractor with no obligation to stay put, later suing Vince McMahon’s company for not honouring royalty cheques.

 

Some points of note made by Punk during the near 2-hour podcast were;

 

He had worked his final dates in poor health, dry heaving and with broken ribs.

 

He suffered a concussion in his final match at the Royal Rumble, but continued working the match, referring to WWE’s concussion tests as “bullshit” after they tried to make him run the ropes to prove that he had in fact been concussed.

 

The WWE chief doctor continually misdiagnosed an expanding growth on his lower back, feeding him so many antibiotics that he actually defecated into his trunks during a match.

 

He was placed in a feud with ‘Steroid guy’ Ryback, who was so clumsy and useless in the ring that he caused Punk to suffer the afore mentioned broken ribs and messed up a spot where he was supposed to drop him onto a table, missing it and dumping him face first into the floor.

 

He was sent his official termination papers on the morning of his wedding day, having received a peculiar text message from the company’s executive vice-president ‘Triple H’ a couple of days previously.

 

He hired a vicious lawyer after the termination/wedding incident and won a case against WWE, refusing to disclose the details of the settlement, Punk revealed that he got ‘everything he wanted’.

All in all it was a fascinating listen for fans of CM Punk or wrestling in general. There didn’t appear to be any punches pulled, and the man who held the WWE heavyweight title for an astonishing (in the modern era) 434 days was both articulate and engaging.

Still, his comments left a sour taste in the palettes of a clutch of those who received dishonourable mentions during the piece.

Ryan ‘Ryback’ Reeves took to Twitter with a series of tirades, the muscle bound former Tough Enough contestant was consequently told to remove some of these by the powers that be in WWE.

Company owner Vince McMahon was himself the subject of a podcast only days after the initial dialogue had been divulged by his former employee, with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin posing the questions this time.

Going out live on the WWE Network, Vince was relatively candid and apologised to his besmirched former standard bearer, insisting, amongst other things, that the timing of his release was merely a coincidence.

Ryback: CM Punk suggests the zits on his back are more than oily skin.
Ryback: CM Punk suggests the zits on his back are more than oily skin.

Meanwhile, Punk himself gave a follow up interview on Cabana’s Art of Wrestling show, suggesting that it would be his final word on the subject. The second stanza was inevitably less insightful than the first, but did seem to suggest that he wouldn’t be stepping back into the ring any time soon, albeit his wife AJ Lee remains an active member of the WWE roster.

Above all, Punk made a good case for WWE talent forming a union, with their current scenario void of basic medical insurance and guaranteed contracts.

Unfortunately that change is unlikely to occur for the foreseeable future, with the English speaking wrestling circuit monopolised since McMahon acquired his two main rivals World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling back in 2001.

As for the man born Phillip Jack Brooks, writing as a fan I would love for him remain in the public eye in some manner. Such is his charisma and flair for storytelling that it would be somewhat lamentable not to witness those traits flourish on a widely visible stage of some description.

More likely the self-proclaimed ‘best in the world’ will disappear from public conciousness, with circa $20m in the bank and a thrifty lifestyle he has no need to work again, a self confessed loner, it would be more of a shock at this point if another sabbatical from the spotlight wasn’t forthcoming.

…And for a man whose views during a podcast temporarily broke the internet when all the servers went down on relevant websites due to overwhelming traffic, that’s no mean feat.

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.