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The Tragic Life and Career Of Joanie “Chyna” Laurer

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It’s very sad reading the news that former WWE star Joanie Laurer, better know to fans as Chyna, passed away yesterday at her home in California. While the official cause of death has yet to be announced, early reports suggest a possible overdose. It’s a tragic end to a mostly tragic life, as trauma seemed to follow Laurer throughout her career.

During her early years, Laurer experienced a very turbulent home life and the lack of stability may have been a factor in some of her more erratic choices later. She was also the victim of an assault during her college years before she found solace in fitness training.

Eventually, she began training at Killer Kowalski’s school and made her debut in pro wrestling in 1995. She was quickly noticed by both WCW and the WWF, and within a year of her start in the business was offered a WWF deal. She debuted on TV in early 1997 and her presence was a game changer in many aspects. She was a pioneer in redefining the role of females in the industry and her physique made her one of the most unique commodities in wrestling at a time when the business was generating record numbers. Initially cast as the body-guard for Triple H, Chyna did extremely well in her revolutionary role and that soon opened the door for her to develop her own persona. In 1999, Chyna would wrestle more regularly with men and did so in a convincing fashion, which hadn’t been done previously on WWF TV, as she went toe-to-toe with the opposite gender instead of the traditionally booked inter gender matches. Dubbed “The Ninth Wonder of the World,” Laurer alternated between divisions and became the first woman to win the IC title in October of that year. As one of the most popular performers on the roster, Chyna feuded with Chris Jericho for the belt and was paired with Eddie Guerrero the following year for the memorable “Latino Heat” storyline. Also in 2000, Laurer posed for Playboy magazine in one of the best-selling editions. In 2001, Chyna won the women’s title, but abruptly disappeared from WWF TV in May.

Behind the scenes, a real life situation began to have an effect on Chyna’s on-screen role. Triple H, who Laurer lived with for a few years previously, began a relationship with Stephanie McMahon. Depending on what side of the story you believe, Triple H and Chyna either had or hadn’t actually ended their relationship before he became involved with Stephanie McMahon. Regardless of the details, a very personal situation had become public and again, it depends on who you believe as to the extent that it effected Laurer’s status in the WWE. However, it certainly seems like it played at least some role in her dismissal because she was rarely mentioned after her departure and she became somewhat of a taboo topic in the WWE.

Sadly, it seems like Joanie Laurer never recovered from the problems that she had after her departure from the company and it became a very public, and disturbing downfall. Still extremely popular from her time on WWE TV, Laurer worked briefly for New Japan Pro Wrestling in 2002, but that was during a decline in Japanese business and she didn’t make many follow up appearances there. In 2004, she and Sean Waltman released their own sex tape, which was distributed by the Red Light District company. The details of the distribution of the tape are also debated, as it was reported that both Laurer and Waltman were paid for the rights to the footage, but she claimed that she didn’t receive money from the sales. The following year didn’t do much to help her public image either, as she appear on the VH1 reality show, “The Surreal life.” During the show, Laurer was shown drinking often and she displayed very erratic behavior. Shortly after that, she was arrested for a domestic violence incident with Waltman. Just weeks later, she made an appearance on the Howard Stern show, where she appeared to be intoxicated and incoherent. Reportedly, Howard offered to get her help after it was obvious that she was using substances, but she continued to struggle with addiction.

In 2008, she appeared on “Celebrity Rehab” and detailed some of her childhood trauma, and her drug use. Unfortunately, the treatment didn’t stop her drug use and she was rushed to the hospital later that year after a suspected suicide attempt. In 2009, she began working in the adult film industry again and released five films during the next few years before quitting the industry in 2013. Her substance abuse persisted during her filming career when she was hospitalized for an overdose of prescription medication in 2010.

After her exit from the adult industry, Laurer relocated to Japan to teach English for a few years before she moved back to the United States. In recent years, Laurer had been known for some bizarre messages on social media and alarming videos posted on YouTube that had many genuinely concerned for her mental health.

Ultimately, it’s a very tragic end for someone who clearly suffered from many problems during her life. Chyna had a revolutionary career and she probably doesn’t get the credit she deserves for her pioneering role for women in sports entertainment. An important lesson that can be taken from this is that anyone that is suffering from mental health problems or any other serious problem should seek help because it’s always better to try to seek help for a problem than avoid it.

Sincere condolences to Joanie Laurer’s friends and family at this difficult time.

-Jim LaMotta

@jimlamotta

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Sasha Banks versus Charlotte confirmed to take place inside Hell in a Cell

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The first ever women’s Hell in a Cell match has been confirmed for the WWE Network special of the same name.

Women’s Champion Sasha Banks challenged Charlotte to a rematch inside of the structure to kick off tonight’s episode of RAW. Charlotte would accept after being so rudely interrupted by Rusev and Lana as you can see in the video below.

It was also announced by general manager Mick Foley tonight that Kevin Owens will defend his Universal Championship against Seth Rollins inside of Hell in a Cell making this year’s event the first one to feature three matches inside of the dreaded cell.

Here’s your updated card for WWE Hell in a Cell 2016 as it stands tonight:

WWE RAW Women’s Championship (Hell in a Cell Match)
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Charlotte

WWE Universal Championship (Hell in a Cell Match)
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Seth Rollins

WWE United States Championship (Hell in a Cell Match)
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Rusev w/ Lana

WWE RAW Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus

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Facelock Feministas Episode 34: Gimmicked

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The Lady J talks herself into some of the gimmicks of Season 3 while also discussing drug use, Taya being industrious, where is Ivelisse and more from Episode 3, Season 3 of Lucha Underground!

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Bellator and The Bad Guy – Endless opportunities

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While most of America watched the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills play football, a story began to grow on twitter.  Soon it was confirmed, Chael P. Sonnen, The West Linn Gangster had signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator. Imagine the possibilities.  Seriously, right now…with me.

It’s nice to see Chael Sonnen out of USADA jail and free to do his thing again. Whether you love him, or simply love to hate him, it’s impossible to ignore what he brings to the table. He’s a breath of maybe not so fresh air, but needed air all the same.  Here’s a quick look at the match-ups we could be treated to, and yes, I’m a bit giddy.

Chael Sonnen vs. Tito Ortiz

This is the one I want to see. These guys can both sell fights, and Bellator would benefit from pairing these two up and watching the ratings pour in.  The match-up itself, lends itself to two quality wrestlers on the mat, and it is a compelling fight for both parties. I’m all in on this one.

Chael Sonnen vs. Stephan Bonnar

Hey let’s be honest, both of these guys have been flagged for prior steroid offenses, and that alone would make the trash talk entertaining.  Bonnar signed with Bellator and has basically collecting dust since his fight with Ortiz.  This could be a solid farewell fight for Bonnar, and the fans would certainly take interest and both guys can talk and sell a fight.

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva

C’mon if you don’t want to see these two go at it, maybe MMA isn’t your thing.  The two have feuded, had an epic scuffle while coaching TUF and genuinely dislike each other.  Fans would love this fight, and to be honest, it would be near the top of my guilty pleasure lists.  Make it happen Coker…make the dreams come true.

Chael Sonnen vs. Fedor

Fedor doesn’t need a last name, he’s like Madonna, or Cher or….Pink, only he’s a man who doesn’t sing.  Ok, this one, I’m not so interested in.  After watching Fedor battle with Fabio Maldonado, I’m ok not seeing the Russian compete again.  He’s a legend, the goat, and this fight simply doesn’t need to happen.  That being said, it could be a big money fight in Japan and why not line the Bad Guys’ pockets right?

Chael Sonnen vs. Rampage Jackson

The press for this fight would be amazing. These two can work a crowd like few others, and the buildup would be that of legend.  Imagine if Anderson Silva had been able to match Sonnen’s ire and lip in their feud, it would have been amazing.  Rampage can, and Rampage will. Book it Coker!  Please!

Chael Sonnen vs. Bobby Lashley

I don’t know, I just think this would be fun.  Wrestling 101 and Sonnen would either expose what Lashley is lacking, or….would help build a star.  I want to see it.  I’d tune in.

What we don’t want/or need to see.  

I don’t want to see Chael in there with King Mo, Phil Davis or Liam McGeary.  King Mo and Chael would have a solid war of words, but I don’t think the fight makes much sense for Sonnen, and for King Mo, I think he has World Title aspirations at this point.

Phil Davis beating Chael at this point, doesn’t do much for his career. He’d be an obvious favorite of Sonnen, and really, I don’t want to see Sonnen go up the ladder, I want him to be in entertaining fights, so we can skip this one.

Liam McGeary chokes out Sonnen with relative ease.  Who needs that? Not me!  Not on my watch, move it along McGeary!

Ultimate Guilty Pleasure Fight – Chael Sonnen vs. Royce Gracie

Hey, calm down, Royce is still on the active Bellator roster.  It’s not me who won’t let him retire, it’s him who wants to stick around.  Who better to send Royce off into the sunset than the Bad Guy.  It makes perfect heel sense….the hated Sonnen ends the career of the MMA legend and pioneer Royce Gracie.  Not saying Chael needs to murder him, but it would be something I’d watch…and probably not admit to.  You want to get over as a bad guy, beat up Royce.  Worked for Matt Hughes, although now that I think about it, people have always hated Hughes.

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