On April 20, 2016, one of the most iconic female Superstars in wrestling history tragically passed away at the age of 46. Joanie Laurer, better known to the public as "Chyna, The Ninth Wonder of the World", sadly lost her battle with addiction.
At the time of her passing a documentary called 'The Reconstruction of Chyna' was being worked on by a gentleman named Erik Angra and her manager Anthony Anzaldo, however, things seemingly went awry as we highlighted in our in-depth look at the life and final days of Chyna back in 2016.
Anzaldo had a falling out with Chyna, her friend Rob and Erik, and reportedly became hostile and verbally abusive towards Chyna, according to sources. The documentary was originally set to be released in the spring of 2017, but is currently in a state of what is known as "development hell" (when a film has been in production for a long time but has yet to be completed and released for various reasons).
Sources close to the situation recently contacted us to share an update with the public. Although a large sum of money was raised for the production of the documentary, nothing is being done to complete the film and share it with the world. The documentary was meant to be a fitting tribute to the life and legacy of Chyna, but now it appears as though it might not even be released.
One of the sources we spoke to was Chyna's mother and sole beneficiary, Jan LaQue. According to Ms. LaQue, the total sum of money that was raised for the documentary was nearly $200,000. Erik Angra claimed to have invested $100,000 of his own money into the project, while the other $100,000 came from other investors, as well as fan donations that were collected in the earliest stages of the project.
Jan informed us that she and Erik had a falling out after the film's trailer was released in the spring of 2017. Since then, Jan claims that she has made multiple attempts to ask Erik about the status of the film and what has happened to the funds that were raised for it by the investors and fans, but Erik has not given her any clear answers about the money or given her any updates on the status of the film.
One of the biggest concerns that Jan has about the documentary itself is how exactly it will portray Chyna. Although Chyna's personal demons have been well-documented and made very public over the years, Jan does not wish for her daughter's final days and untimely passing to be the primary focus of the film, as she feels that it would overshadow Chyna's accomplishments in her wrestling career, and more importantly, who she was as a person in real life.
Another issue that Jan had with the film's trailer was the fact that Erik reportedly assured her that Mr. Anzaldo would not be featured in the film in any way after his falling out with Chyna and the rest of the group (including Erik), but Anzaldo did make an appearance in the trailer. The trailer was then released without Jan's knowledge or approval, which prompted her to contact Erik about it. Since then, Jan has not been able to get answers from Erik about the status of the film, or what happened to the money that had been donated by fans and investors. Jan has told us she is even prepared to take legal action to protect her Daughters legacy.
Although Chyna is certainly remembered by a large portion of the wrestling fans who watched her during WWE's legendary Attitude Era, there are many younger fans who may not know how important Chyna was in the progression of women's wrestling. Not only was she a former WWE Women's Champion, but she was also the first female to hold a major WWE championship, as she became a multiple-time WWE Intercontinental Champion throughout 1999 and 2000. Chyna was a revolutionary character in the annals of WWE history, but her legacy is at risk of being overlooked and possibly even downright forgotten.
Although WWE did acknowledge Chyna's passing with a statement on their website and even a tribute video, it's currently uncertain as to whether or not they'll ever honor her with a Hall of Fame induction, despite the fact that many fans have asked for it for years now, even before she passed away. The Reconstruction of Chyna was meant to be a way to preserve her legacy and make sure that her incredible life, as well as the struggles she went through, would not be overlooked or forgotten.
And so now, we are looking for answers as to why this important documentary seems to be stuck in development hell. The money was raised to produce the documentary and a lot of footage was filmed, so why has it not been completed and released? Why has the project seemingly been abandoned? Does Erik Angra and/or Anthony Anzaldo still have the money that was raised for the film?
Chyna's life story was a remarkable journey. Those that were close to Chyna will all agree that she was a truly unique and fascinating human being with an amazing story to tell. It's a story that needs to be shared with the world.
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