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August 11, 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the most influential group in WWE history. As Shawn Michaels took on Mankind in that Monday’s main event two decades ago, Triple H and Chyna would interfere on behalf on The Heartbreak Kid, along with Rick Rude revealing himself as Michael’s new bodyguard. Twenty years and a whole lot of crotch chops later, one of those degenerates is in line to take control of the entire company, the other retired and happily hunting all sorts of critters in Texas. The others are no longer here. One of those is arguably the greatest female talent in the history of the industry.Steve Austin said it best on the day of her passing in 2016, that “in WWE, she was over at the highest level” and it would be hard to argue against it.
Chyna, AKA Joanie Laurer, was the backbone of the degenerate faction. She was just as popular as her male counterparts in the group, an equal though she rarely spoke a single word. During her time with DX, she became the first woman to ever compete in a Royal Rumble match in 1999. Even becoming the #1 contender for the Heavyweight title, though she would never see the match as she lost the chance to Mick Foley. After her time with the group, she only became more popular and decorated as she won the Intercontinental Championship twice and became the Women’s Champion in less than 3 minutes at Wrestlemania Xy by beating Ivory, a reign that would last over 200 days. She was such a noticed talent outside the industry that she posed for Playboy in 2000. She had memorable feuds with Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Eddie Guerrero and Jeff Jarrett during her tenure, alongside being involved in main event storylines with DX and The Corporation for the bulk of her time there. Her accomplishments are undeniable, her legacy is well cemented as one of the most popular women and standout talents of WWE’s Attitude Era. So why is it that Laurer has never been inducted into the Hall of Fame? A good question. Let’s for lack of a better term….break it down.
Any long time fan knows that Laurer’s exit from the company was, let’s say, less than stellar. Rumors of an affair between real life boyfriend Triple H and Stephanie McMahon have been floating around for years and are generally accepted as true, though the accusations only came from Laurer herself while WWE, as a whole, has denied it. Her exit from the company was actually a quiet one. She vacated the Women’s Championship and after a few months off of television was let go in what was described by both sides as a mutual parting so that she could pursue an acting career. That career would never come to fruition. She essentially vanished from the public eye instead, appearing in a string of porno films, including an infamous one with fellow DX member Sean Waltman. She also appeared on the reality series, The Surreal Life and Celebrity Rehab, in general appearing to be nude and drunk a lot of the time. Her only brief return to wrestling was a short stint with Kurt Angle in TNA. None of this was what any of her fans had in mind for one of their former wrestling heroes. It was all quite sad.
Since the WWE, has become more family friendly, many have assumed that her life choices in her post WWE career, along with the fact that her ex boyfriend has a powerful stroke with the company, are the reasons she has not yet been inducted. While those might be true to some extent, no one outside the company will ever truly know, I’d offer a far less conspiracy oriented and realistic reason why.
Since the “reboot” of the WWE Hall of Fame in 2004, after 8 years with no new inductees, WWE had a heck of a job in front of it to catch up. Inducting the likes of Hogan, Piper, Hart, Rhodes, Flair and Austin were no brainers as headliners, along with a wide variety of other midcard and lower talents, announcers and celebrity inductees along the way. They still took a lot of heat from fans over the likes of Bruno Sammartino and Randy Savage being neglected as inductees (both would be enshrined in more recent years) as well as having a fair amount of wrestlers either decide to retire (Shawn Michaels and Edge) or pass away (Eddie Guerrero) in which case they would usually be inducted the next year. Now that they have caught up, and in fact may be facing a shortage of new inductees at the pace they are going, I’d say that Laurer not getting a space in the HOF may actually just be due to the fact that there were so many people in front of her who deserved it more. Wrestlers of the popular 1980’s era like Rick Rude, The Big Boss Man, and Jake Roberts have only in the last few years found themselves inducted. Lower level talents like Koko B. Ware and The Bushwhackers have as well. Why is it this way? I don’t think there is a real reason other than unlike the pro sports, there are no deadlines or numbers that must be met to qualify you for election. This is after all, just entertainment and a Hall of Fame that in reality means nothing other than the acknowledgment of the fans and peers that you meant something. WWE is free to include or exclude anyone and it honestly doesn’t mean a whole lot. So why not Chyna? I think it’s as simple as they just never got around to it before she died.
I also think that will change this coming year. Michaels is already a Hall of Famer and Triple H is a guarantee. The New Age Outlaws will find their way in due time, and more than likely Sean “X-Pac” Waltman due to his friends in high places. In fact, I could see all of them but Triple H, since he is still technically active, go in this coming year with Chyna right beside them. Firstly, it makes sense to induct most of DX in the same year. 2018 being the year The Undertaker enters is pretty much as close to a guarantee as you can get and the class needs a bit more comedy and levity with the focus being on the retirement of the industry’s biggest ever icon. A few dick jokes and some sexual innuendo will serve to lighten to mood. Secondly, and I think the more important fact, is that WWE is most quickly running out of females to induct. The current crop of female performers are years away and there simply aren’t many well known females left to put in. Chyna and Sable are the two that stick out and as the current Mrs. Lesnar has showed in the past, she really doesn’t want anything to do with the business anymore. That leaves the door wide open for her fellow attitude era vixen to finally get her shot, presumably alongside her fellow degenerates.
Honestly, I think that any lingering doubt the company has should be quelled do to her passing. A memorial tribute and induction by Triple H at the ceremony is something that seems long overdue and would give her many fans a far better closing chapter than the mess of a woman they remember crying and drinking from reality TV and social media posts. It would also give her family, who maintain her social media, a chance to speak about her as a person. Whatever reasons may have existed in the past need to be put to bed by all sides. In 2018, in the shadow of retired undead greatness, it makes complete sense to honor Chyna as the female inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame and to close the book on the career of The Ninth Wonder of the World in a way we can all remember positively.