Remembering Chyna’s Best Moments as Wrestling’s Indispensable Heroine

The WWE legend was found dead Wednesday at 46.

Joan Laurer, aka Chyna, in 2006. (Photo: Getty Images)

Of all the women who’ve ever stepped in to the squared circle, there have been none as singularly unique as Joan Laurer, the wrestler known as Chyna. They called her the Ninth Wonder of the World for a reason. She was a specimen. 

She was also a contradiction. Chyna was a woman who could beat up men. She wore make up and sexy clothes but had bulging muscles where we rarely see them on women. Even her name was ironic: Chyna had little in common with those delicate dishes that lent her their nom de plume

On Wednesday night, Los Angeles police confirmed that Chyna was found dead in her apartment. The 46-year-old had battled addiction and anxiety and fought desperately to get back in good graces with the WWE, which exiled her in 2001 after a dispute with Stephanie McMahon over Chyna’s then-fiancé and McMahon’s husband Triple H.

Fifteen years later, Chyna’s brief but important stint as a professional wrestler, highlighted by her time as a key member of D-Generation X, has left us with some highly memorable moments.

Chyna makes her debut in the role of bodyguard
Stone-faced and iron-bodied, Chyna debuted in the WWE as Triple H’s muscle. Her first appearance came at a PPV event in early 1997 with an attack on Goldust’s manager Marlene that suggested she was just a crazed fan. 

Chyna speaks
One of Chyna’s greatest moments as a member of DX came when she grabbed the mic and showed that she, as Jerry Lawler says in the video below, not a mute. And then she mooned the crowd as DX tricked the world into thinking it was splitting up. Classic DX.

Chyna become the first women in the Royal Rumble
And tosses mountain of man Mark Henry over the top rope. 

And the first woman to win the Intercontinental Championship
At No Mercy in 1999, Chyna made history when she smashed a guitar on Jeff Jarrett’s head and walked out of the ring as the first, and still only, woman to ever hold with the Intercontinental Championship.

Chyna takes on Eddie Guerrero
During her stint as Guerrero’s “Mamacita,” Chyna took on the legendary wrestler during a June 2000 episode of Raw. There was nothing particularly special about this fight, but there’s a reason it’s getting passed around so much today—it showed two wrestling greats, both now deceased, at the top of their game.

Chyna’s final match with the WWE
This victory of Lita at Judgement Day, a defense of the women’s championship, was Chyna’s last with WWE.