In 2016, we have witnessed the passing of many trailblazers and visionaries; actors, singers and athletes have all been mourned.
Professional wrestler and adult entertainer, Chyna passed away in April this year and this is why she will be sadly missed by everyone in the industry.
A nickname like ‘The 9th Wonder Of The World’ comes with great expectation, and throughout her wrestling career Chyna never failed to disappoint.
Not only did she become the first women ever to win the Intercontinental Championship, Chyna also made WWE history as the first women ever to enter the Royal Rumble match.
As a young girl watching wrestling with my big brother I remember observing, agape, the moment she stormed into the ring and held her own against Mark Henry – one of the biggest men in the business.
I remember feeling like I was watching someone unique: A woman with extraordinary athletic prowess, earning respect in a man’s world.
Chyna paved the way for other female wrestlers who went onto take centre ring – and not just during pillow fights, novelty acts or sordid narratives, but as athletes in their own right.
She is yet to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in light of her career in porn and as a consequence of the WWE’s family-friendly stance. However, Stephanie McMahon says it is likely she will now be honoured posthumously.
Joanie ‘Chyna’ Laurer retired from wrestling, after cementing her place as a trailblazer and key component in the sport’s most successful era.
The 45-year-old had battled drug addiction valiantly and was seeking help at the point of her untimely death.
Tragically, Chyna was booked to appear on a documentary-style television programme called Intervention.
The likes of Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin were going to participate in the intervention that would have seen Chyna check into rehab for three months.
— Amy Dumas (@AmyDumas) April 21, 2016
— The Queen. (@ActualALove) April 21, 2016
My prayers go out to Joanie Laurer and her family. It's very sad to hear this news. Chyna was revolutionary for women in wrestling.
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) April 21, 2016
When she passed away on 20 April at 45-years-old, the media chose to remember Chyna in the context of adult entertainment and addiction, after she took an accidental but fatal overdose of Valium and Ambien.
Chyna should be remembered for the great strides she made, through hard work and determination, for gender equality and women’s wrestling.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.