The Legacy of Chyna

“In 1999, I was fighting guys and winning my first male championship. People laughed at me and workers beat me up because I was ‘The girl trying too hard.’ Well. There was someone like me was on TV. I had a model. A strong woman who wasn’t afraid to fight anybody. That was Chyna.” – LuFisto

“Chyna was the reason I started wrestling…. Horrible news to wake up to.” – Kimber Lee

At the height of her wrestling career, Joanie “Chyna” Laurer was hailed as the Ninth Wonder of the World. She was a Women’s World Champion in a time before “Divas.” She was a founding member of Degeneration-X. She was the first women to enter the Royal Rumble and the first woman to lay claim to the prestigious WWF Intercontinental Champion. She wasn’t the first woman to wrestle men, but her feuds with Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, and others paved the way for shows like Gender Wars, the men vs. women events now being promoted by Mad Man Pondo. Chyna blazed a trail for many women who now regularly wrestle with and against men including Heidi Lovelace, Candice LeRae, LuFisto, and CHIKARA Grand Champion Kimber Lee.

Many fans today don’t know Chyna’s true legacy. Corporate politics and her own personal demons have excluded her from the WWE Hall of Fame and multiple D-X reunions. Chyna was a pioneer worthy of recognition with legends like Mildred Burke and the Fabulous Moolah.

https://youtu.be/buj8adryms4

Post #200: Watching Wrestling with Baby Lydia

Was going to share a fun story/correction tonight regarding Louisville wrestling history and Bluegrass Brawlers, but then I noticed that this is blog post #200. I’ll save the Louisville story for tomorrow and share a story I told to a friend who is a fellow dad and wrestling fan tonight.

When my daughter Lydia was around six months old, she wasn’t the best overnight sleeper. We spent many nights walking the floor with her. (Okay, I confess – Jessica did most of the walking while I slept. I could have done a lot more of my share at that time!)

One night when I was a good dad and took my turn, Lydia just wasn’t responding to walking the floor. She kept fussing and refused to go to sleep. Truth be told, at age 8, she’s still pretty stubborn about staying up late.

I was exhausted and frustrated, so I headed down to the basement – the man cave – and I put an old WWF pay-per-view VHS tape. I laid down on the couch with Lydia on my chest to watch some wrestling.

I wish I could remember which pay-per-view it was that I put in. I tried to look it up through Wikipedia, but no luck. My memory’s likely off on this, but I want to say the first match we watched (which may not have been first on the card) was Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero. It might have been Jericho vs. Regal, or Eddie vs. someone else, but I’m certain one of those two was in the match. It was a darn good match either way, and my six month old daughter, who had no idea what she was watching, lifted herself up with her tiny hands on my chest and watched the whole darn match!

The match ended, and Howard Finkel began introducing the next match. Test’s music hit, and Test made his way from the stage to the ring. I don’t remember the opponent in that match, but I’ll never forget it was Test who came out first because it was at that very moment Lydia laid her head down and went to sleep.

I almost feel bad sharing the story with a laugh knowing that Test (God rest his soul) is gone, and I don’t mean to disparage him or his legacy. But it’s a memory I will never forget with my little girl. She knew a good match when she saw it, and she knew when to go out and get some more popcorn.

Indy Flashback: CM Punk vs. Eddie Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio

Almost 14 years ago, on March 1, 2002, this happened at one of those “crappy indy shows” in Indianapolis.

Odds are there’s another one of these happening on another “crappy indy show” some place this week.

Sure, you can wait until they’re polished enough for WWE. But take note: everyone in that audience is still bragging that they were there.