Posts Tagged ‘Chyna’

One performer from WWF’s Attitude Era who Shawn Michaels believes would have been “phenomenal” in today’s WWE is Chyna.

A founding member of D-Generation X, alongside Michaels and Triple H, Chyna was a former WWF Women’s Champion and two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion. She died in 2016 at 46 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of DX three years later.

In 1999, Chyna became the first woman to appear in the Royal Rumble match, a groundbreaking moment. The WWE did not introduce a Royal Rumble match for the women’s division until its 2018 Royal Rumble event.

In a recent interview with The New York Post, Michaels said he believes the Chyna would have fit in great with WWE’s current roster.

“From a performer standpoint, she would clearly fit in and be phenomenal,” Michaels, 57, said. “I think what makes her the awe-inspiring, innovative and transforming woman that she was was that she did it earlier than all of them.”

Michaels said her style and character “would be a bit more commonplace today.” “She would certainly have an incredible career — but I don’t know that she’d be the trailblazer today that she is if she were currently doing it today,” he added, pointing out her status as a pioneer in wrestling world by competing for titles in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

Michaels’ interview comes as D-Generation X celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The group is scheduled to make an appearance on the October 10 episode of “Monday Night Raw” at the Barclays Center in New York City.

Billy Gunn and Chyna were part of WWE’s iconic D-Generation X faction during the Attitude Era. While Gunn stuck mostly to tag team wrestling alongside Road Dogg, Chyna acted as a singles star, winning the WWE Women’s Championship and the Intercontinental Championship, becoming the only woman to accomplish the feat. Chyna, unfortunately, passed away on April 17th, 2016, due to an accidental drug overdose. However, Billy Gunn has fond memories of working with her.

“My best friend, she was amazing, she really was in all aspects of life,” Gunn said on “The Sessions with Renee Paquette.” “To this day it will still get me a little rocked up because she was that special to me, like she really was. When she first passed, I was so mad at her, like, it’s just a, like that’s just life … My wife is one of the most special people on the planet, so she is awesome. And she knew [my relationship with Chyna] and never had a problem with it. It was more of a brother-sister thing.”

Gunn also discussed Chyna’s long-term impact on professional wrestling. “I think towards the end of her run up there she kind of knew, ‘Hey, I’m doing something special. I’m empowering the… know where I don’t just have to have a match where somebody rips my clothes off.’ I think what women’s wrestling has become… I mean for God’s sakes, they’re main eventing everything … I don’t think she knew the total impact of what she did but she was definitely the main one to do it.”

Jade Cargill is an undefeated and imposing woman’s wrestler in AEW with an impressive physique, and both her look and her streak have drawn comparisons to wrestling legends from the past — most notably Goldberg, whose undefeated streak in WCW was the stuff of legend, and Chyna, who revolutionized the role of women in WWE, and who Cargill has cited as an inspiration.

“I love what these two phenomenal, phenomenal people represent: beauty, posture, dominance, just running through people,” Cargill said while on The Game 92.9. “I’m my own person, however. I can take these attributes from these amazing wrestlers, but I’m myself. I’m Jade Cargill. I have a different path than both of these phenomenal people.”

Cargill, like Goldberg, has started out her career on TV with a very impressive undefeated streak which currently sits at 35-0. Cargill made her in-ring debut teaming with NBA Star Shaquille O’Neal on the March 3rd, 2021 edition of “AEW Dynamite,” defeating Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet. Cargill has since become the inaugural TBS Champion, a title she has now held for 211 days as of writing and has successfully defended nine times. Goldberg began his televised in-ring career in September 1997 and remained undefeated until December 1998, when Kevin Nash beat him for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Prior to his loss to Nash, Goldberg had been 173-0.

Chyna found success in WWE in both the women’s and the men’s division, winning both the WWE Women’s Championship and the Intercontinental Championship. She was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Road Dogg, and X-Pac as D-Generation X in 2019, but many — including Cargill — believe Chyna does not receive the acclaim she deserves for her one-of-a-kind wrestling career.

“Chyna was a force to reckon with,” Cargill said. “She’s a role model. I don’t think she gets as much appreciation as she should. I believe she should get way more flowers than what she has right now, but, this is just an extension of her legacy that has been passed down, and that’s what I want to do.”

Chyna wrestled her last match at TNA Sacrifice 2011, when she teamed with Kurt Angle to take on, and defeat, the husband-and-wife team of Jeff and Karen Jarrett. She tragically passed away in 2016.

Chris Jericho remembered the “terrible” time he had working with Chyna during a recent appearance on the Geordie podcast.

The AEW star recalled matches against the ex-WWE favourite at both Survivor Series and Armageddon 1999, and said that he “never got any credit” for “carrying” Chyna to passable bouts on either pay-per-view. In fact, after being encouraged to treat her like he would any other wrestler, Jericho was reprimanded by Vince McMahon for accidentally giving Chyna a black eye in-ring.

Jericho was a company newcomer at the time, so he kept his head down and tried to make the best of a bad situation, but he could see that hauling Chyna to good matches was going to be an uphill struggle; “She wasn’t good, but she thought she was. She also was in a position where they were pushing her really big that she could beat up guys. She couldn’t”.

The then-Y2J was glad when creative moved him onto something else after a follow-up three way that also included Hardcore Holly at the 2000 Royal Rumble show.

He said there were “a lot of issues” when the pair worked together.

On the latest episode of The Kurt Angle Podcast, the former Olympic Gold Medalist spoke about working with Chyna during his time with the WWE and how he felt working with a woman in the ring. Angle said he really enjoyed it and talked about the current evolution of women’s wrestling.

“I worked with Chyna and I actually loved it,” Angle said. “She was great, she was basic and very effective. I really enjoyed working with her.

“Women now, they’re actually just as good, if not better than the guys. Back then they were treated as sex objects and they would have bikini matches, wet t-shirt contests.”

On a recent episode of Grilling JR, Jim Ross explained why Chyna left the WWE and how her contract talks broke down after she wanted to be paid the same amount of money as Stone Cold Steve Austin at the time. When asked if he would ever do a job for a female, the former Olympic Gold Medalist named two women that he would be okay losing too.

“Yes, I would, especially someone like Chyna or even Charlotte Flair,” Angle said. “She’s got so much success, you could pin her up against any male today. She’s somebody that I would probably do a job for.

“Ric was a great athlete but not nearly as athletic as Charlotte. She is incredible, especially for her height. She’s not a stocky girl, she’s pretty tall.”

When asked who started the women’s revolution, Angle named his three former WWE Attitude Era superstars.

“They were the start of it,” Angle said. “Jackie, Trish and Lita, they spearheaded women’s wrestling. They were the very start of women’s wrestling and they did an amazing job.”

Nikki Bella has today taken to Twitter to apologise after an old video surfaced over the weekend where her and her sister Brie were shown mocking Chyna.

This video dates back to 2013 when the Bella Twins appeared on an episode of Fashion Police alongside Joan Rivers. There, Nikki shows a picture of Chyna and questions whether the Ninth Wonder of the World was a man or a woman, before the two WWE Hall of Fame Bellas then laugh at Rivers joking about Chyna’s vagina having a penis.

All classless, all crude, all in the poorest of tastes, and all utterly disrespectful to a genuine trailblazer of the pro wrestling business.

In a since-deleted tweet, the official Twitter account for the late Joanie ‘Chyna’ Laurer commented how hurt the former Intercontinental Champion would have been from seeing such footage.

Nikki has now taken to Twitter to apologise for how her 29-year-old self acted eight years ago, while then proclaiming Chyna as an icon and a pioneer.

Joanie Laurer tragically passed away in 2016 at the age of just 46. During her time in the then-WWF, Chyna was the first woman to compete in the King of the Ring tournament, to compete in the men’s Royal Rumble match, and to win the Intercontinental Championship – in addition to being a one-time Women’s Champion.

Since her passing, Laurer was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019 as part of D-Generation X.

On the latest episode of the My World Podcast, Jeff Jarrett spoke about creating TNA with his father and who they wanted to start the company with. Jarrett said he and his father, Jerry Jarrett, who was an American professional wrestling promoter in the late 70s through the 90s, were recruiting former big name wrestlers who worked for WWE.

“He was putting out his feelers and I was doing the same,” Jarrett said. “Who’s available, who wants to be a part of this, who believes in it. Who’s out there available, who can we sell tickets with and who are we going to go after.

“Sean [Waltman] has always had a relationship with my father dating back to him being a part of the creative team in 1993-94 and of course Mick [Foley] came to the territory in [1988]. He always had an eye for talent and scouted it, you don’t always bat a thousand, but you miss every shot you don’t take and you miss every talent that you never look at. Back to Mick and Sean, my dad had personal relationships with both those guys.”

In 2002 when TNA launched, Brian “Road Dogg” James was one of the first big name wrestlers the company signed. Road Dogg and Jarrett were great friends through their time together in WWE and Jarrett said James’ time as a singles star in WWE proved to him that he could be a big draw for TNA. Jarrett also named Sid Vicious, Ken Shamrock and Randy Savage as starts that they thought about bringing to TNA for the start of the company.

“Road Dogg is this simple, Brian going single and the merchandise sales, he was the Attitude Era in so many ways personified,” Jarrett said. “A mega singles star at the time and one of my best friends. He was a no brainer. Sid, I was in the ring with when his leg broke. He had told me, ‘I’m going to make a comeback.’ He had been a big box office attraction, Sid was going to get back in the game and I was excited about that.

“The mindset of UFC and [Ken Shamrock], Kenny being led can have great matches but I really like Ken as a talent to represent the brand coming out of the gate. Huge box office attraction, huge pay per view box office attraction. So as much as I wanted to put the anchor in the ground about the kind of wrestling we were going to have, Ken checked all the boxes, Ken was up there. Randy [Savage], him and my dad had a unique relationship, I never saw Randy coming and being a part of a start-up [wrestling company].

On a previous podcast, Jarrett broke down what happened when he left WWE before a match with Chyna at No Mercy 1999. Jarrett spoke about wanting Chyna to come to TNA at the start, saying she was a box office draw and he saw that during his time with WWE.

“Hell yes,” Jarrett said when asked if he wanted Chyna in TNA. “I’m going to go back to me being a witness night in and night out on live event after live event and knowing the reaction she got walking to the ring, the aura she presented. Obviously my matches and my storyline with her, but even outside of that. When DX, the New Age Outlaws, X-Pac and Hunter and Chyna. Chyna was box office, so of course I wanted her a part of the roster.”

AEW’s Jade Cargill was the run in on this week’s Wrestling With the Week podcast, hosted by James Willems and AEW wrestler Scorpio Sky. Cargill recounted how growing up she was a fighter, often taking on guys and proving how tough she was.

“Believe it or not, I know probably come off as a girlie girl or something like that, but I was one of the guys,” Cargill said. “I used to fight all the time, because none of the guys wanted to wrestle me because I was a girl. And they were like ‘oh girls don’t wrestle and it’s a bunch of rough neck guys.’ And I was like ‘whatever, let’s do this.’

“And I would have to, no joke, I would have to punch these guys in the face or do something for them to even want to get rough with me or something like that. Cause I was like ‘I’m just as tough as you guys. If anything  I’m bigger and stronger.’”

Willems asked Cargill if she grew up a wrestling fan. Cargill described her family as half being into football, half being into wrestling, with her on the wrestling end. She also noted that one particular WWE women’s wrestler inspired her.

“I watched it growing up,” Cargill said. “Watching Chyna really put a lot of confidence in myself. Because when she walked on the stage she had a presence about herself that was so assured. And I was bigger than all the guys, muscular, and she was very muscular and very fit. And she looked damn good; she looked good. And it was undeniable. Her talent was undeniable, her look was undeniable. That’s what drew me in.

“I came in maybe around the Attitude Era. I came from more of a football background. My mother and father loved football and I was the one, my brother and I loved wrestling growing up. Got away from it and then the opportunity came up with Mark Henry. He set me up with a (WWE) tryout. It went well, I was asked to come, turned it down and here I am in AEW. And I’m enjoying it.”

Cargill, who made her AEW debut teaming with Shaquille O’Neal to take on Cody Rhodes and Red Velvet back in March, noted she still had a ton to learn. She’s confident she will learn it however and believes she can be a top star in the business.

“I think, as far as wrestling, I’m 28 years old,” Cargill said. ” It showed me that there’s so much things that I don’t know. There’s nothing but room to get better and be the best at this. That’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to elevate the women’s division, but I’m (also) here to best. I wouldn’t even step foot into this if I didn’t think I was going to be good or benefit this company or wrestling in general. It’s just I’m learning on TV as I go.

“I know that wrestling fans have an instant gratification. And a lot of people have been working on the indies and a lot of people have been going to wrestling schools that have developed them before they were on TV. Anthony Ogogo and I are probably the first people who are developing as we go on TV. I’m enjoying it. The sky’s the limit, I just started and hell, I think I’m going to be damn good at this.”

Sky brought up the difference between learning to be just a plain old wrestler, whereas Cargill has learned on the fly to be a TV ready wrestler. Cargill credited that to one of AEW’s other stars, as well as knowing where the hard camera is at all times.

“Coming down to TV and working with Dustin Rhodes has helped me tremendously,” Cargill said. “People probably think I pose too much and do all of this too much. One, I’m getting your attention. Two, Mr. Perfect and all them used to do it in the 90’s and 80’s so whatever.

“I love it. I know where the money came is. I don’t necessarily understand the floor cameras yet but I’m getting used to it. I am making friends with the production crew, just asking them ‘what looks good? What doesn’t look good?’ But I know the money came is always there and I know to look ahead and look confident.”

One thing that’s for certain about Cargill is she knows her own worth. That’s why, while she appreciate the wrestling fan base as a whole, she’s not going to be concerned with what some people say about her online as she continues to grow as a performer.

“This is going to come off so horrible,” Cargill said. “Other than my coaches and people around me who want to see me do great, I don’t care what other people think. It’s because as wrestlers, even on this podcast, half the people who do comment and say these things couldn’t do anything that we do. They couldn’t get up on live TV and do half the things we do. They probably can’t even take a bump, they’d probably throw their back out if they take a bump.

“I appreciate the fan base. I love them, because we need our fans, AEW has an amazing fan base. But I knew myself prior to wrestling. And there’s nobody out there that’s going to make me feel any type of a way because of something, this small of a window they see. I could care less.

Cargill then turned her attention back to learning to wrestle on TV. She believes a big part in helping her development is working AEW Dynamite in front of limited fans, thus giving her preparation for shows in front of sold out crowds when the time comes.

“As far as TV, I’m learning,” Cargill said. “I think it’s best that right now, with the whole pandemic going on, we don’t have fans. So it makes that transition that much easier for me. Even though now I have to think of all these catchphrases to say in between things. When if I had a fan telling me to shut up, I can turn around and say something then and it’s that much easier.

“I’m ready for the fans. Being on camera is probably easy for me because I do love social media. So it’s not that hard. The transition isn’t that hard for me. The hardest part is just that in between spots like I said.”

Cargill is scheduled to appear on AEW Dynamite next Wednesday in an interview with Tony Schiavone. In recent weeks, Matt Hardy and Vickie Guerrero have both offered their services to Cargill as a manager, with Cargill hinting at declining them both.

Jeff Jarrett’s pro wrestling career took him to over a dozen promotions where he enjoyed main event feuds, championship reigns, and behind-the-scenes influence in just about every single one.

Jarrett’s career began in WWF, and while he briefly departed for WCW in 1996, he returned to the company for a lengthier and more spotlighted run in 1997. Despite winning both tag team and Intercontinental gold, Jarrett was ready to move on come fall 1999.

Speaking with Inside the Ropes, Jarrett recapped what was a wild transition from the WWF to WCW.

“It’s surreal, personally and publicly,” Jarrett said. “There’s no way to duplicate that timeframe. I had a one-way ticket to Cleveland bought by the WWF, and I had a flight that was purchased by the Turner organization, WCW, from Cleveland to Philly. That’s bizarre. I’m packing my bags, thinking I got a house show, No Mercy, then this thing called Nitro, and then I’ll be back home.”

Jarrett cited contract frustrations as the reason for leaving WWF in 1999. Despite no longer being employed by Vince McMahon, Double J was still able to have stake in his former company.

“Obviously I was not happy with the offer they had gave me,” Jarrett said. “The business was red hot, the company was going public. As it was going public, there were stock options that were offered to me.

“I was standing there on the cell phone, at a Nitro, had that shirt on, but I can remember talking to the office at the WWF. Did all the finish, got my check, and did all this, but talking to them about stock options. I said, ‘Look, let me get a pen and paper right now. I got my financial guy’s number.’ Even after all that, I still got my stock options and went on. Today WWE’s stock is at $85, and we got it at $17. The first day it went public, it went to $35 and sold a chunk of it, doubled my money.”

On a recent episode of Excuse Me: The Vickie Guerrero Show, former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion Layla was where she reflected on her career and her big accomplishments in WWE. Vickie Guerrero asked Layla what advice she would give to her younger self knowing what she knows now.

“Save your money because it comes in, and you thinking it’s never going to stop. It really is hard sometimes once you get to the point where you’re like, oh, it’s never going to stop,” Layla admitted. “Save you money. Stay humble. Walk in every day as the same person you walked in the first day you walked in that door because it is so hard to stay humble. I’m not the only one that can testify to that.

“Stay humble. Also, be kind to everybody. Whether you like them or don’t like them, you have to just be kind and always have empathy for somebody or mind your business. That’s what I would tell myself. Mind your own business. Stay out of any drama or anything like that. The last thing, enjoy it because you don’t get to stop and just sit back and enjoy the moment. You don’t get to be like, wow.

“You don’t even have the time to really accept that, and it’s gone now. For me, that’s it, and it’s like, did I really enjoy my time there. Did I really savor it, and remember it and really take it in? I would advise anybody going into any kind of wrestling company, those are the four points.”

Layla took questions from fans later in the podcast, and one fan asked Layla if she enjoyed her time in Extreme Exposé with Brooke and Kelly Kelly. They also asked Layla beating Beth Phoenix for the Women’s Title, and Layla recalled the crowd reaction and the moment she shared with a former WWE Champion.

“I really did enjoy it. Not at first because I was the one trying to get everything done,” Layla recalled. “There was anxiety and stuff like that, but I think we all enjoyed it. We all did enjoy it in the end. The Women’s Championship, I got told that day. It wasn’t planned. I didn’t have a clue. I was told that day. What happened was I guess Beth was injured, and they needed to get a new Women’s Champion. And I happened to be the only one that was on the road. I want to say 100% Fit Finlay, because he’d been working with me, training me [and] giving me everything, knowledge, love guidance, support and gave me the confidence to kind of believe in myself because I was the underdog at that time. I really was the underdog out of all the girls in our locker rooms.

“I came from the Diva Search. I didn’t even train, and so I was the underdog and I was training with him. And I will always love him, just want to put out there. Basically, when he told me, I was completely in shock, and I was like, oh my God. We went out there, won the title and the crowd, because it was in Beth Phoenix’s hometown, and the audience (Layla shows dramatic silence). Nothing. All you could hear was me (Layla imitates her reaction). There was nothing. When I look back now, that was Beth Phoenix because I was the underdog. I was the heel. I was the girl that you would not put the title on. So I knew okay, now I’m gonna win them over. That was the best way to start because if you start as a hero, who cares?

“I started right at the bottom and took it and was like, I’m gonna enjoy this moment. I don’t care if you guys want to enjoy it. I’m enjoying it. So it was actually awesome. I’m so happy that I won it that night, and the way that it went down and Michelle was next to me. Vickie was next to me. We worked so hard. What could I have asked for? It was one of the best nights for me. I went backstage, and Kofi [Kingston] was standing there. Kofi and I have always been close. And I just looked at him, and I was like, Kofi, me? I can’t believe it. A year ago, I thought I was going to leave WWE, and now, I’m winning the title.”

Layla was also asked about her dream opponents from the past and the present. Layla named one of her favorite wrestlers for a past choice, and for her present choice, she named a current champion who “works really good with everybody.”

“One of the from the past, Chyna because I was such a fan. I was a huge fan, and of course she’s going to kill me within two seconds, but I would totally love to do that,” Layla said. “I would love to work Chyna and have one match with her, and in the present, man, there’s so many good girls right now. They’re all amazing. I mean Sasha [Banks] is amazing, but I feel that’s so predictable. I think Asuka. I really, really love her work. I just think she’s just so clean and everything. She works really good with everybody.”