by BROCK KOLLER
Joanie Laurer was the right woman at the right time.
In WWE in the late 90s - known as the Attitude Era - there was one rule- anything goes. Laurer, better known as Chyna to her legion of fans, represented that mantra.
While Lita, Trish Stratus, Victoria, Molly Holly, Ivory, Jacqueline, and others were revolutionizing the women's division, Chyna was a woman revolutionizing the men's decision.
Chyna was such a fixture in the main event men's roster that when she defeated Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental Championship it was an historic moment for sure, but it was also the much predicted outcome. Fans knew Chyna could hold her own against any of the male WWE Superstars.
Whether it was battling Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Jarrett or any other guy, Chyna was as formidable an opponent as any of the men. She was given a well-deserved nickname as the 9th Wonder of the World, a take on Andre the Giant's 8th Wonder of the World label. What a tag team that would have been!
I was there live for WrestleMania XV in Philadelphia in 1999 as she along with Triple H turned on Degeneration X to join Vince McMahon's evil Corporation. That was just one of the countless memorable moments in Chyna's storied career which included: her manhandling of Marlena during her surprise debut, her hysterical Mamacita run with Eddie Guerrero, winning the Corporate Royal Rumble on Raw for the #30 spot, earning the #1 contendership to fight Stone Cold Steve Austin for the Heavyweight Title at Summerslam, to her easy win over Ivory at WrestleMania X-Seven to claim the Women's Championship.
It is somewhat comforting to know that Chyna - a female Superstar who inspired so many women to enter the so-called man's sport of pro wrestling- lived to see the return of the WWE Women's Championship at WrestleMania 32 a few weeks ago.
Unfortunately, after Chyna left the WWE, her career was seen as controversial to the powers that be and she was never brought back into the company.
One of her tweets around WrestleMania time was she'd hope for one more moment in that WWE spotlight to thank the fans.
Though now that will not happen, fans of the character Chyna will never forget the entertainment she brought to our TVs for all those years.
Her WWE entrance music used to begin, "Don't treat me like a woman/ Don't treat me like a man/ Don't treat me like you know/ Treat me for just who I am."
We will Chyna. We'll treat you for just who you are. A wrestling legend who changed the game for men and women. A true wonder of the world.