One of the most intriguing, and for many fans the most deserving, people entering the WWE Hall of Fame in 2019 is Chyna. For years, while no one could deny the pioneering role she played during the Attitude Era, controversies from her life outside wrestling provided the company with plausible reasons to not include her.
The announcement Chyna (real name Joanie Laurer) would go into the Hall as part of the D-Generation X stable was seen by some as an artful compromise and by others as a cop-out. That debate will likely continue, and may only be fueled by Triple H’s remarks on the subject during a recent interview with CBS Sports’ Brian Campbell.
Haitch (aka WWE EVP Paul Levesque) will, of course, enter the Hall of Fame himself as part of D-X. He also had a personal relationship with Laurer which was central to much of the drama between her and WWE after she left the company, and is now a member of the McMahon family and a WWE executive. His remarks about Chyna being inducted into the Hall of Fame during an interview with Steve Austin on WWE Network raised the profile of the debate surrounding her legacy.
On the State of Combat podcast, The Game talked about Chyna’s Hall nod, what he thinks of it happening this year, and as part of their group:
“It’s awesome. I’m thrilled for her as the human being that I knew, for her family and for her sister, who I knew. There is probably not a woman who has ever made as big of an impact as she did. Somebody that transcended the business on her own and I’m sure will be in the Hall of Fame sometime on her own. I think it’s fitting she is in there with DX in the beginning because it’s how she started, and I think it’s what it should be.
After she left the business and everything else prevented [her Hall of Fame induction] for a period of time, it’s funny because people look at it and go, ‘Finally, they are putting her in.’ But she’s going into a class with Honky Tonk Man. Like, he’s just getting in there and is a generation before. It’s not a time-limit type thing.
I’m thrilled that it’s this year, partly because finally the time has passed where everything can just happen and it can be right for her where the moment of putting her in the Hall of Fame for this manner is about her accomplishments and not about anything else. That was always my bigger point of this. You can’t do it when [the negative] becomes the conversation. The conversation needs to be about her accomplishments and what she did here.
If you could go back and say it [that she’d be inducted during a year when three women will main event WrestleMania 35] to her, it’s something that in that point of time you would be like, ‘No way, that would have been inconceivable.’ She probably inspired a lot of the women that are doing what they are doing right now, and it couldn’t have been any more of the right time and the right spot, and it all happened for a reason that way.”
It’s a political answer to what’s still a thorny personal and business issue for Levesque, and won’t satisfy everyone on either side of the debate about how Chyna’s been treated by WWE over the years. But if he’s right when he says the company will someday put Laurer in the Hall on her own, that debate will become even more secondary to the celebration of her legacy as a performer.