By Michael Weaver, Jr. [E-Mail | Facebook | Instagram | Website | X]

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This exclusive interview was originally published on January 3, 2003.)

Joanie Laurer's autobiography, "CHYNA: If They Only Knew" was released in 2001. (Photo Credit: HarperEntertainment)
Joanie Laurer’s autobiography, CHYNA: If They Only Knew, was released in 2001. (Photo Credit: HarperEntertainment)

WU ONLINE: You mentioned in your book, CHYNA: If They Only Knew, that you speak several foreign languages and that you once were eligible to work for the CIA. With being such an intelligent woman and having so many open doors for you, why did you turn them down and decide to go after a sports-entertainment career?

JOANIE LAURER: Actually, I was a Spanish/Literature at the University of Tampa. I took all my classes in Spanish so I would be forced to read and write in Spanish. It was my ambition to become a Secret Service Agent, or possibly work for the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, a foreign spy like Agent 99???????? Maybe an athletic trainer for one of them?????? That’s where I was going with that. I lived in the Florida Keys and I used to drive up to Miami to test every few months. It is a grueling process and after a while, while visiting my sister in NH I interviewed for a sales position with her company…just for interviewing experience and I ended up getting the job. I knew there was a Secret Service branch out of Boston so I moved and took the sales job.

I ended up in wrestling because I wanted to be an actress. I was not a wrestling fan at that time. I was attracted to it however because I am an athlete, I am an actress, I love costume and performing in front of large crowds of people. If I had the body….Vegas would have been a top choice for me. I ended up finding my niche in wrestling however and fell in love with it. Yes, my book explains a lot, but the book albeit most of my story was tailored by the WWF as well. I can’t wait to get my second book out there with my words exactly!!!!!! I am however grateful that that book reached so many people.

I have always been an entertainer….always!

WU ONLINE: When you applied for the WWE, you stated it was very tough to get a foot in the door and then with the help of Triple H, you finally got in. During that period did you ever think being in the WWE wasn’t worth it and you were done chasing after them?

JOANIE LAURER: I have chased after everything in my life. Nothing has come to me on its own…until now finally!!!!!!!!!!!! I chose a very difficult path and I’ve always known it. My father told me when I was a little girl that I would have a difficult life!!!!!!!!! I wondered from my very first day how I would ever survive in that environment. I guess I just did it…like everything else. When you believe in something it lights a fire under your butt!!!!!! At that time I was really trying to believe in me!!!! It was perseverance, a natural ability, drive, sacrifice, aggression, help from many people, HHH and Shawn Michaels, timing, years of dedication to my body, and anger that got me that job. I wasn’t taking no for an answer.

WU ONLINE: During your entire career in the WWE, while WCW was still a company, did you ever get an offer or did you ever think about moving to the WCW?

JOANIE LAURER: Yes, I had that “intuition” that my time was running thin near the end of my WWF run. I contemplated the WCW, but then Vince (McMahon) bought it. I had never taken the step to talk to anybody. It wasn’t a serious thought really….I was just starting to think about “back up” options in my mind.

WU ONLINE: Many people know that you and Triple H were a couple on and off screen. How did your relationship become romantic and did you ever have hesitations about having a relationship with a fellow sports-entertainer?

JOANIE LAURER: I was very nervous about starting a relationship with Paul (Levesque; AKA: Triple H). I had already been working there and Paul and I were just friends. I was there to work and I never gave any of the guys any reason to believe that I was there for anything else. This was business for me. Paul and I were never romantic on the wrestling show. I always had a personal line between what I considered to be reality and my personal life regardless of what anybody else wanted or thought about it. It makes sense that you would meet and find a mate at he place that you spend 300 days a year at!!! Everyone travels together, eats together, works together…everything. I was a single woman and there are many single, beautiful wrestlers that I might have been interested in I suppose. It would have had to have been a serious relationship though. I always knew I could be adult about a break up if it should happen, even though it would hurt. However, I never would have thought it would happen with Stephanie (McMahon), and that it would put many people in some pretty uncomfortable situations. That really sucked all the way around and they handled it WRONG. I can forgive though……..even though that does not take away the disappointment.

I will not use my personal life as an angle for TV intentionally.

WU ONLINE: In 2001, you captured the WWE Women’s Championship and then after May you were off television. Why did you decide to leave the company and have you regretted that decision since?

At WrestleMania X-Seven, Chyna pinned Ivory to win the WWF Women's Championship. (Photo Credit: WWF)
At WrestleMania X-Seven, Chyna pinned Ivory to win the WWF Women’s Championship. (Photo Credit: WWF)

JOANIE LAURER: Firstly, I did not want the women’s title. I think it is great to have a women’s division. I am all for more women who can handle that opportunity and appreciate it. However, with the women’s roster, it is very difficult to give that title the value it should have. I had worked for 5 years for credibility in working with men. I felt that I was a special attraction and different from both the men, and the women!!!! I believe in my heart that people wanted Chyna to break barriers and kick ass, or at least try to!!!!!!! I could never have gotten there fighting the women. I wanted the World Title, and I would have waited for it for as long as it took. I wasn’t expecting it immediately. I actually knew it would never happen. I knew I’d be sitting at home now or not on TV. Anyway, I was told it wouldn’t happen, and that after Playboy it was difficult for people to picture me fighting men. UUmmmmmmmm, OK, whatever!!!!! So basically, I was going to be the women’s champion, like it or not, and I didn’t like it. I know there was a rumor out there that I made trouble and didn’t want to drop that title to Lita. That made me so mad too because I couldn’t care less at that time. My character had already gone backwards so it didn’t really matter to me at that point what happened to the belt, and i had no problem with Lita at all. I just did what they told me to do, and for the first woman to fight Chyna, I thought I gave a lot????????? I don’t know, I guess people didn’t look at that like they do when some of the bigger “male” names are considered. I felt a little disrespected at that point. They had me keep the belt, but shortly after that I got a fax saying that I would not be needed at TV anymore and that they were not renewing my contract ending in November. That by the way happened in May, so I was still technically under contract, I just couldn’t do anything. I don’t regret a single thing I did at that time, I am so proud of the way I handled myself at that time. That was a huge test of life for me. I wouldn’t have done anything different. I have no shame or nothing to hide, albeit very personal if I should choose no to talk about it.

WU ONLINE: As a woman, you have broken so many barriers in sports-entertainment. To this day you are the only woman to be in the Royal Rumble, King of the Ring, and the only woman to be a two-time WWE Intercontinental Championship. How does it feel to know you have done so much for other women in the industry. What I mean is that because of you, women know that they can be very successful in the male-dominated sport. They owe it all to you. How does that make you feel?

JOANIE LAURER: I never realized the can of worms I opened. My best title ever won was the WWF World Champion Title given to me this Christmas by a group of fans. It was given to me so I won it!!!! I always wanted to be the World Champ!!!!! Of course it was the very personal sentiment which makes that belt special. I also had somebody slip a Queen of Sports T-shirt in my bag after my last Japanese match. I couldn’t believe it! I don’t think I realized the magnitude of what really happened. Had I known then or really thought about it, I think I would have been scared and wouldn’t have done it!!!!!!!!! It is the reaction now that I am getting that makes it all worth it. I feel truly happy. I feel my value, I have confidence, and I realize that I have made an impact on certain people on many different levels. I am very fortunate to use wrestling as a platform (not a stepping stone!!!!) to send my message.

WU ONLINE: Rena Mero (FKA: Sable) stated that while she worked in the WWE she was threatened by many other individuals in the company and even at one time she had human feces in her bag. I’m not going to ask if you did anything like that to her but I am going to ask if you had any problems like Rena stated that she had.

JOANIE LAURER: First of all, I wouldn’t ever do that, and quite frankly….most women can’t do that “on command” (hee-hee)…that’s a joke!!!! I never saw this with my own eyes, although I did hear about it. I hope that fans realize that things happen and people say things that aren’t always as they seem. Whether I liked Rena or not, I always feel there is enough to go around for everybody and the better everybody does, the better the business gets. I have had altercations with her, but looking back it was all so stupid and there are ALWAYS two sides to the story. Especially in the wrestling industry. I am learning slowly but surely to talk to the horses mouth….not the ass!!!!!!!!

I had my own set of problems before and after the WWF. I handled them the best I could and will continue to do so. I also had many wonderful friends, experiences, accomplishments, opportunities and personal and professional growth.

D-Generation X consisted of Triple H, Chyna, X-Pac and The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & The Road Dogg). (Photo Credit: WWF)
D-Generation X consisted of Triple H, Chyna, X-Pac and The New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn & The Road Dogg). (Photo Credit: WWF)

WU ONLINE: You were part of one of the most popular factions in WWE history, D-Generation X. What was it like to be apart of that group?

JOANIE LAURER: That was one of the most fun things I ever did in wrestling. I loved it.

WU ONLINE: How did you feel when they told you that D-Generation X was going to be disbanded?

JOANIE LAURER: I felt like it was going to be ruined and I wanted them to SUCK IT!!!!!

WU ONLINE: You are now engaged to Sean Waltman (FKA: The Lightening Kid, The 1-2-3 Kid, X-Pac, and Syxx). How long have you guys been dating and was it you or he that proposed?

JOANIE LAURER: We were friends for many years. We saw each other in September to train and go eat. Something happened when I saw him. I never felt that before. He came over and never left. He proposed on November 1st. He was already separated from his soon to be ex-wife and he was in California for a few months already. He proposed to me quite unexpectedly in the alley of the Firehouse restaurant in Venice. When we went in to the restaurant. The Rock was there eating. He was the first person we told.

WU ONLINE: Have you two named a date for your wedding?

JOANIE LAURER: No date yet. I am not sure what I want as far as a wedding. I want to wear a crown and a beautiful cape though. It will be a wedding for a Queen.

WU ONLINE: Since you left the WWE, you have been busy in Hollywood. Even though most of the Hollywood people are ignorant on looks and feel that you don’t fit in because you’re not a “Barbie doll” how do you feel when you hear your fans be so vocal about the Wonder Woman movie and Terminator 3 movie and your involvement in them? They really wish you would’ve been part of both.

JOANIE LAURER: I really wish for that too. It is just starting to happen now that my fans are really becoming vocal. When it is unsolicited it throws you for a loop. I don’t even care about the Hollywood people anymore… fans already made me feel like Wonder Woman!!!!!!!!!!

WU ONLINE: You suffered a broken heart when you and Triple H broke up and he started dating Stephanie McMahon. You could obviously kick Stephanie’s butt. Did you ever think about doing that?

JOANIE LAURER: Yes, to be honest I did think about kicking her butt!!!!! I was so pissed at her. However, I was in a relationship with Paul and it was his decision to do what he did. I can’t blame Stephanie for that. I did however, lose respect for Stephanie as a woman in a powerful business with an opportunity to make “the ladies” proud. She failed miserably in that department. If you can’t hang with the “Big Dawgs” then get off the porch!!!!!!! I think she’s a brat and I think she is quite selfish and immature. I was really disappointed. Vince was in a tough spot, wouldn’t you say?????? I wanted to stay there, but I think ultimately it wouldn’t have worked. Oh well……….Thank God it all happened, right!!!!!!!!!!

At this point I would never intentionally hurt anybody at all including Stephanie. I will always be a professional in the ring and if I can’t I won’t go there. At this point though, they would have to pay me some bou-coup bucks to ever have that match!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WU ONLINE: Have you watched any WWE programming since you left the company?

JOANIE LAURER: I have occasionally watched Former WWF programming, although 1) I was working like a hound dog and couldn’t watch any TV at all mostly, and 2) when I did turn it on..all I saw was HHH which drove a steak through my heart, and the show started to suck!!!!!!!!! I felt….and feel really bad for my close friends who are sitting at home or who are not being used to the best of their incredible ability. It’s a shame…and….why does everybody get so mad when somebody leaves?????? That always puzzled me. Money shouldn’t be an issue. Everybody in every job bargains for money right? Most of the time people don’t even know why their favorite stars are gone, although the stories that circulate around always seem to make them look super bad I notice. I also always thought that somebody who could move on to movies or politics or book writing or something really special shows what a talented group of individuals most wrestlers really are…….HHHHHmmmmmmmmmmm.

WU ONLINE: Even if you haven’t watched any, I’m sure you’ve heard about some of their shows. What are your thoughts about the current product and their angles such as Kane murdering and having sex with a deceased Katie Vic?

JOANIE LAURER: I have a funny feeling that Kane wasn’t too thrilled with that story either??????? Just a sneaky suspicion. I don’t think that company knows where to draw the line anymore. There are so many excuses according to convenience. “It’s a Soap Opera”….”It’s not a Soap Opera”, “It’s entertainment”, “It’s wrestling”………..What a crock!!!!!!!!! It’s whatever Vince wants it to be at that time.

For me…I can’t control what others will and will not do, but I do have my own limits, and the problem starts to occur when somebody else tries to make your limits for you.

WU ONLINE: You are now participating in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). What is the difference in wrestling in Japan versus America?

JOANIE LAURER: Everything. The biggest thing I have ever done in my career, and by far the toughest both mentally and physically.

WU ONLINE: How much longer do you feel you will work with New Japan?

JOANIE LAURER: Right now I am a free agent and I am signed per show. I have promoted myself with New Japan to help create an awareness of an incredible company here, and because of my respect and love for Mr. Antonio Inoki. There are many great wrestling companies in Japan. New Japan is #1 there. As of right now I am not scheduled for a match in Japan.


Chyna made history as she was the first female to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. (Photo Credit: WWE)
Chyna made history as she was the first female to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship. (Photo Credit: WWE)

A) World Wrestling Entertainment – WWF
B) Vince McMahon – Ego
C) Triple H – The Game
D) Shawn Michaels – costumes
E) Jim Ross – accent
F) women’s wrestling – Japan
G) Sean Waltman – love
H) New Japan Pro Wrestling – Mr. Inoki
I) wrestling websites – negative
J) American wrestling – Fun
K) Stephanie McMahon – No identity
L) true love – sacrifice
M) your happiness – 8 (out of 10)
N) Owen Hart – grief
O) Bret Hart – Discarded

WU ONLINE: Your fans are very passionate and vocal about your treatment in the media. What would you like to say to them?

JOANIE LAURER: I always try to take the media with a grain of salt. You can’t believe and revel in the good if you don’t expect the bad. I just hope they use good pictures now. It is however sad that the media often preys on people’s vulnerability be it in entertainment or politics or…whatever. LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think the vocal fans are great and I think they have “balls” and I like that!!!!!!!!!!! Barry Manilow is one of my favorites…and when I went with my friend to his sold out concert, he said “Thank you everybody…I know it’s tough out there to be a Barry Manilow fan!!!!!!” (HAAA-HAAA!!!) Funny!!!!!!

WU ONLINE: What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment either personally or professionally?

JOANIE LAURER: I feel my greatest accomplishment is my ability to make better choices for myself based upon my own happiness. I feel like a different person now. I feel happy and that took along time (To feel happy). Everything around me has changed. “Fixing” yourself is the greatest accomplishment of all. Being honest…completely honest with yourself is one of the hardest things you can ever do!!!!!!!!

This is Chyna's promotional picture from 1997. She states her reasons for getting plastic surgery was "...for reconstructive reasons and to get a little cleavage." (Photo Credit: WWE)
This is Chyna’s promotional picture from 1997. She states her reasons for getting plastic surgery was “…for reconstructive reasons and to get a little cleavage.” (Photo Credit: WWE)

WU ONLINE: You look very much different than when wrestling fans saw you for the first time in 1997. What surgeries have you had and why did you have them?

JOANIE LAURER: I had surgery for reconstructive reasons and to get a little cleavage. I am willing to change a little to get people to look and listen to the other parts. The changes have made me feel better about myself and have given me the ability to be so much more on the inside. I look better than ever before….but I feel better than ever before. I came to the realization the other day, that in the land of plastic surgery where I live, some people can have tons of surgery….and still never be beautiful.

WU ONLINE: If you could do one thing over, what would it be?

JOANIE LAURER: I couldn’t even answer that. History can’t ever be changed even though it is often repeated. Which came first…the chicken or the egg?

WU ONLINE: What are your 2003 resolutions?

JOANIE LAURER: I want to write more for my body of works that I’m writing. I want to learn more…about everything!!!!!!!!!!! I want to find that niche that hasn’t come to me yet?????? I want to go on a vacation and cut loose and be ridiculous. I want to become more aware of the world around me.

I want world peace……………for real, (and I’m not winning any beauty pageants either).

WU ONLINE: Any final comments?

JOANIE LAURER: Thank you to all of my beautiful supporters who have pushed me forward when I was at my wits end. I couldn’t even let you know how much you all mean to me. Faith is a difficult word to learn in English and even more difficult to acquire.

Peace, Love, and Comfort.
I do love you all.

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