Whenever there has been interviews with industry insiders, most agree that on the topic of the current WWE Women’s Revolution, there is no sole person responsible for it.
The following is the first part in a 3 part series that will attempt to piece together a coherent narrative that accurately reflects the milestones and turning points that lead to WWE Evolution.
Ahead of WWE’s inaugural Evolution event – the company’s first ever live, cross-brand all women’s show – it is important to spotlight the unheralded figures and external factors that helped shape the current WWE Women’s Revolution.
This series is not going to dive deep into the history of women’s Pro Wrestling as a whole, dating back to the 1890’s and the first recognised World Champion in ‘Minerva’ Josephine Blatt. Such a topic could fill several books but would definitely be worth a read.
Instead the focus of this series will be on the relatively modern WWE Women’s history and those who were directly and indirectly a part of it.
The 9th Wonder
Although originally promoted as a monstrous bodyguard to the villainous Hunter Hearst Helmsley (better known today as Triple H), Joanie Laurer’s “Chyna” was so much more than what could easily have just been a novelty side-show act.
Chyna was just as much a founding member of the infamous WWE stable D-Generation X as co-founders Triple H and Shawn Michaels were, and importantly she was given a significant run in WWE as a ‘Face’ – the common term for a Hero character in Pro Wrestling.
During this run WWE actually pushed the message of defying typical gender roles and in Chyna showcased how a strong, powerful woman could still have a feminine edge. Somewhat reminiscent of Mildred Burke in her day, Chyna was booked as a credible challenge to many men on WWE’s roster, and audiences for the most part embraced it.
Chyna’s WWE run paved the way for other powerful women who were against type to be given a chance at a hero’s journey, and not merely be written off as a one-note villain for the smaller, more typical WWE women to thwart.
Unfortunately Chyna’s post-WWE history is filled with explicit scandal and tragedy, a history that has caused the industry leader to be minimally selective in its memory of the woman it once called “The 9th Wonder of the World”.
Still, the significance and impact of Joanie Laurer in WWE and women’s pro wrestling is undeniable.