So, Who Should Induct Chyna?
Last month, the WWE universe was rocked by the sudden passing of former WWE Intercontinental Champion and Attitude Era icon, Chyna. Chyna arguably did more for women in professional wrestling than anyone since the legendary Fabulous Moolah and her name belongs alongside Billie Jean King, Ronda Rousy and Kristi Yamaguchi as trailblazers for women in sports.
Unfortunately, Chyna lived her life as a clouded and troubled soul. A victim of circumstance and politicking, Chyna's relationship with Triple H and any hopes of attaining the WWE World Heavyweight Championship ended in a very public and prolific way. Turning to the world of adult entertainment, her history is marred by a string of questionable business decisions and a sincere quest of redemption.
Chyna's attempts to reconcile with WWE fell on deaf ears as her attempts to contact WWE brass were well documented. Her hand forced, Chyna's way of life depended on the generosity of the fans that supported her these some 20 years. Alongside the accolades and adoration of fans, behind the scenes, Chyna faced a very deep and dangerous battle with depression. Unfortunately, it's believed that very ailment would lead to her demise.
Let me not mince words; Chyna is bar none, one of the greatest female wrestler of the past 20 years. Her accomplishments in the ring cannot be understated and can never be duplicated. On a personal level, she was a role model growing up and as a journalist, it pains me that I will never have the honor to interview her. In fact, the draft of an interview proposal sits in my draft folder. Sadly, I could never find the right combination of words to pay homage to her legacy and the send button was never clicked.
If there is any irony to take away from this scenario, its the idea that in death she will be granted the one prize she so vehemently pursued in life; an induction into the WWE Hall of Fame. For years it seemed nearly impossible that Chyna would ever receive her ring. An appearance by Triple H on an edition of the Stone Cold Podcast seemed to all but confirm as much, but if tweets and recent statements by Mr. and Mrs. Helmsley are any barometer, the once frigid relationship between WWE and Chyna seems to have thawed.
For those not in the know, a summary of the events leading to the falling out between Chyna and WWE are the things all good Soap Operas are made of. Chyna and Triple H were in a real life relationship while appearing together on screen. While Triple H was out with an injury, he befriended one Stephanie McMahon, soon entering into a romantic relationship with the daughter of billionaire, Vince McMahon.
While Chyna's push was still in tact post split, Chyna continued to wrestle with the company. Rumor has it that she had expressed interest in acting in adult films while Vince stated doing so would disqualify her from ever winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Of course, post WWE she would indeed perform in adult films, outperforming even some of the most famous celebrity sex tapes. WWE would claim for years that her decision to act in pornography is the sole basis for the refusal to induct her into the Hall of Fame.
It is true, even if WWE were still operating as it did twenty years ago, putting a porn star into a sports hall of fame isn't exactly the smartest PR move. Although nude images of Seth Rollins, Maryse, Bubba Ray Dudley, Lana, Gail Kim (Thank goodness.) Shawn Michales, Mickey James, Sable, X-Pac, Torrie Wilson and Sunny, Chyna's imagery stands in a league it's own due to the public break up between Hunter and Chyna. It can be argued that his current position he and Stephanie hold in the company may have something to do with Chyna's repeated snubbing.
Fast forward to today and Chyna's inclusion in a future Hall of Fame class seems all but assured. However a very important question remains: Just who should do it? Who should stand on that stage and say, “We're sorry... Chyna, you're finally home.”?
After suffering a defeat at the hands of Chris Jericho, Chyna would lose her Intercontinental Championship, but gain a formidable ally. Their rivalry is the stuff of legend and their partnership is just as fondly remembered. Jericho standing on stage serenading her is a very safe option given Jericho's loyalty to WWE. If WWE decides to take a safe, non apologetic route, Jericho is someone who will play ball for the brass, but still give Chyna the induction she deserves.
While not entirely likely due to his recent foray into the world of federation ownership, The Chosen One does play a very important role in the history of Chyna. Chyna would defeat Jarret at No Mercy 1999, becoming the first female to hold the Intercontinental Championship. While this victory is somewhat tainted by the stipulation of the “Good Housekeeping Match,” her victory is a feat that can never be duplicated in the WWE.
Whether she'd like to admit it or not, Charlotte wouldn't be anywhere near as successful as she is without the barriers broken by Chyna. Despite a coordinated and somewhat successful attempt by John Laurinaitis to discredit and destroy the Women's Division, Charlotte and her “horsewomen” seek to return women's wrestling to the glory and prominence it once held in the WWE. For the record, you can slot in Sasha Banks, Bayley or Becky Lynch on this list and the result would be the same.
Perhaps Chyna's most prolific and famous living manager, although had Eddie Guerrero not passed away, he'd likely fill this role. The Kat's time in WWE is somewhat overshadowed by her constant displays of nudity, but nonetheless, The Kat remains an integral role in Chyna's WWE history.
Triple H/Stephanie McMahon/Vice McMahon/All three
It's a very sad fact that sometimes in life, we don't make the right decisions. As your typical cynical liberal, I find the structure and general operations of the corporate machine to be deplorable. Decisions such as the one to bar Chyna from entry into the Hall of Fame are calculated choices made in boardrooms with only corporate appearance and stock price at the forefront. These three individuals made the decision to go with this course of action, a decision that was proven to be incorrect.
At the end of the day, we are talking about human beings. In the most non religious sense, we are flawed, dangerous and selfish creatures capable of inflicting untold amounts of physical and mental torment on each other. Our reasons for doing so are rarely complex, but more often devolve into such simplistic reasoning such as doing what's best for business. Sometimes this means doing what makes us feel better out of spite.
If WWE truly wants to make thing right and fix their image in the eyes of the wrestling community at large, one of these individuals or a combination of the three should take it upon themselves to induct Chyna into the realm of immortality. It's not too late for this group of individuals to correct this error, regardless of the reasoning or the business behind it as frankly it doesn't matter.
Likewise, we as a community can move forward from this injustice. I believe in WWE and I believe in the McMahons to do the right thing in this situation. The ivory tower may repeatedly say that acknowledging her past in sports is tantamount to acceptance of her past in pornography. However, with her death, it has become apparent that the wrong road was taken. It's unfortunate that at times, it takes a grand tragedy to illuminate the error of our ways. Despite the circumstance surrounding this volatile issue and the seeming finality of Chyna's passing, it's not too late to set things right.
It's not too late for these three to admit their mistake and say they're sorry.