Fallen hero

I remember the first time I saw her.

I can still feel the excitement in my heart. The way it fluttered like a hummingbird’s wings inside my chest.

I was 30 years old but had never seen anyone like her.

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Chyna in the squared circle with the Road Dog.

Her name was Joanie Laurer, but she wrestled under the name “Chyna.” Tall and muscular, she was billed as the 9th Wonder of the World.

Chyna wasn’t the first woman to wrestle, but she was the first I had seen square off against the guys. 

In  a small way, she reminded me of my tomboy past — me in my blue jeans and baseball cap playing ball with the guys.

But she busted open gender boundaries on a grand scale with the world watching.

It was validation, but it was something else, too.

Even at 30, I needed to be reminded that I could be anyone and do anything.

* * *

Laurer passed away today at the age of 46. A few months ago, I read that she was attending a convention in nearby New Jersey. I thought about going and getting an autograph and telling her that she is one of my heroes. I guess she already knows.

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13 responses to “Fallen hero

  1. That is sad news. I’m sorry for your loss. I didn’t know of her but I can imagine that if I had she might be someone I would’ve admired as well.

    • You have to give it up for strong, powerful women. She was an icon in wrestling — not women’s wrestling, but wrestling. I regret not having made the trek to see her.

      • Definitely! I am always a fan of strong women and particularly ones that challenge gender roles.

  2. I remember Chyna. She was seriously badass. I’m so sorry.

  3. I’m in NYC and already seeing pics, posters etc in memory of Chyna. Also hearing the music of Prince playing in every other boutique I enter. New York remembers and so do you. So sorry about the loss of your hero.

  4. butchcountry67

    sorry about the loss of your hero, she was just amazing , man i don’t know if it was admiration, envy , or outright love, I hated wrestling but I was glued to the tv every time she was fighting , she shattered pretty much every barrier on the planet , and she took no crap from anyone that’s for sure .

    • Thanks, BC. She was special, that’s for sure. And I felt like you did … didn’t really know what I was feeling. Admiration, envy and love … all of it bundled up in one. I could see a bit of myself in her. Who I was and who I wanted to be.

  5. Thank you for your blog. 🌺

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