This past Sunday, former Raw Women's Champion Nia Jax became the fourth woman in history to enter the Men's Royal Rumble Match. In a surprising turn of events, she attacked the Number 30 entrant R-Truth as he was making his way to the ring and took his spot in the Rumble after already previously competing in the Women's Royal Rumble Match! Nia fearlessly stepped foot into the ring with some of WWE's top male Superstars such as Randy Orton, Dolph Ziggler, Andrade "Cien" Almas and Rey Mysterio. "The Irresistible Force" was actually able to cause quite a bit of damage to the male competitors before finally being eliminated after a group effort from the male Superstars. It was a cool highlight moment for Nia Jax and the Women's Evolution in WWE.
As we approach WrestleMania 35, there is quite a bit of speculation as to who we might see get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year. One major name that's been rumored is the legendary Undertaker, a seven-time WWE World Champion, who is quite possibly the greatest WWE Superstar of all time. However, another legendary Superstar who fans have been wanting to see take their rightful place in the Hall of Fame for many years now is the late Joanie Laurer, better known to WWE fans as Chyna: The Ninth Wonder of the World.
As many fans will recall, Chyna was the very first woman to compete in the Men's Royal Rumble Match, and really the first female Superstar in history to be a viable opponent for the male Superstars on a regular basis. Before Chyna, you didn't see very many intergender wrestling situations, with the exception of Andy Kaufman claiming himself to be "the Intergender Wrestling Champion of the World." Nowadays, intergender wrestling is actually quite common, although you'll mostly find it outside of WWE. On the popular Lucha Underground program on El Rey Network, Sexy Star was a former Lucha Underground Champion. Ivelisse Velez has also been one of the top stars on the program, regularly mixing things up with the male competitors. Kobra Moon has made her mark as well as the leader of the Reptile Tribe and one-third of the Trios Champions along with Daga and Jeremiah Snake (Sami Callihan).
It's unfortunate that Chyna passed away before she was ever honored with a Hall of Fame induction, but if WWE is ever going to induct her into the Hall of Fame, 2019 would be a very appropriate year.
It was 20 years ago in 1999 that Chyna really started to become a breakout star in WWE. As a member of the popular D-Generation X faction, Chyna started to become a major player in the company right from the very beginning of the year in 1999, as she became the very first female to ever compete in the Royal Rumble Match. The following night, she left D-Generation X to join Vince McMahon's Corporation stable, which would eventually merge with The Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness to form the Corporate Ministry. In the summer of 1999, she became the first female to compete in the King of the Ring tournament, as well as the first female to become the Number One Contender to challenge for the WWE Championship.
In October of 1999, Chyna defeated Jeff Jarrett at the No Mercy pay-per-view to win the prestigious WWE Intercontinental Championship, one of the most coveted titles in all of professional wrestling. This victory forever cemented Chyna's legacy as a pioneer for women's wrestling, as no woman had ever held a WWE championship before except for the Women's Championship.
By the end of 1999, Chyna had gone her separate ways from Triple H, as he would go on to become WWE Champion. This did not have a negative impact on Chyna's career at the time though, as her career continued to skyrocket throughout 2000 and into 2001. She had a memorable storyline with the legendary Eddie Guerrero throughout much of 2000. In November of that year, Chyna posed for Playboy, which drew a considerable amount of attention to both Chyna herself and WWE as a whole. In 2001, she captured the WWE Women's Championship by defeating Ivory at WrestleMania 17. She held the championship for seven months until parting ways from the company in November of 2001.
Unfortunately, Chyna never made a return to WWE after leaving the company in 2001. But the success that she achieved in her career made her one of the most unique talents in wrestling history, as no other female competitors had ever been featured in a spot like she had. During the Attitude Era, WWE's booking of their female talents was less than flattering. But Chyna stood out as a strong, fearless, and physically dominant female, who could conceivably compete against the male Superstars. Looking back at it now, Chyna was actually a very inspirational character. A unique persona like that would have fit in quite nicely with the modern Women's Evolution that's taking place in WWE.
The Women's Evolution has been refreshing for WWE. The female Superstars of today are being given a chance to showcase their abilities as athletes and fierce competitors. Women like Charlotte Flair, "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch, Asuka, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Ember Moon, Nia Jax, Carmella, Natalya Neidhart, Mickie James, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Shayna Baszler, Kairi Sane, Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm, and all of the other female Superstars, have really become major focal points of the programming in recent years. The overall quality of the in-ring product from the female performers has improved considerably as well. Quite frankly, the women have stolen the show and put on Match of the Year candidates at many WWE pay-per-views over the past few years.
Rumor has it that WWE officials are considering having the female Superstars in the main event of WrestleMania this year. If this happens, it would be the pinnacle of the Women's Evolution. Imagine how fitting it would be if WWE were to honor Chyna's legacy with a Hall of Fame induction during WrestleMania Weekend this year. October 17, 2019 will mark the 20-year anniversary of Chyna's first Intercontinental Championship victory. Her 50th birthday would have been on December 27th, 2019 as well. Combine that with a possible all-female main event match at WrestleMania, it would seem like a perfect time to honor the legacy of a woman who broke down barriers forALL of the female Superstars who would emerge later on.
Chyna may not have gotten the opportunity to accept a Hall of Fame induction in her lifetime, but to finally see her get the recognition she deserves from WWE would be more than satisfying for the millions of fans who remember her from the Attitude Era, as well as her family and friends who knew what kind of an exceptional human being she was. 2019 is the perfect year to induct Chyna into the WWE Hall of Fame.
- By Caylon Knox
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