Former WWE Women’s and Intercontinental champion Joanie “Chyna” Laurer was found dead in her home in Redondo Beach, California yesterday. She was 46 years old.
Police received a 911 call at around 7:30PM last night and were on the scene immediately. The call came from a friend who went to her place and found her unresponsive. According to TMZ they are treating this as a possible overdose although the cause of death is not known at this point. It’s being reported that she was taking medication for anxiety and sleep deprivation.
A statement on her Twitter account read, “It is with deep sadness to inform you today that we lost a true icon, a real life superhero. She will live forever in the memories of her millions of fans and all of us that loved her.”
Trained by WWE Hall of Famer Killer Kawolski, Chyna met Triple H and Shawn Michaels in 1996 who pushed for Vince McMahon to sign her to the company. In 1997, Chyna made her debut at the In Your House: Final Four pay-per-view and went on to become Triple H’s bodyguard. Just two years later she made history by becoming the first woman entrant in the Royal Rumble and even qualified for the King of the Ring tournament that year. Later in 1999 she once again made history by defeating Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental title in his last match.
During her time in WWE, her relationship with Triple H grew closer and the two eventually started dating in real life. That caused problems however when Triple H started his angle with Stephanie McMahon which led to their real life relationship. Chyna claimed that Triple H cheated on her with Steph while the two were still together and the tensions and drama led to her release from the company in 2001.
Her personal life and professional career pretty much went on a landslide after that and after posing for Playboy in 2000 under the WWE umbrella, she decided to get into porn four years later. The release of her 1 Night In Chyna sex tape with fellow DX member Sean Waltman led to future releases and in 2009 she signed with Vivid, the world’s leading adult movie website. She went on to release five more porno movies under Vivid and won two AVN Awards – in 2006 and 2012 – for her work.
After a stint in Japan teaching English, Chyna returned to the United States with hopes of getting re-signed by WWE. That pretty much ended when Steve Austin asked Triple H on the Stone Cold Podcast if Chyna will ever be in the Hall of Fame. Triple H responded in the negative, mainly due to her porn career, which led to Chyna to slam Triple H in an interview with Vince Russo, claiming that he was abusive and hit her several times during their relationship.