Ringbelles Retro: Before Chyna, there was Joanie Lee

ChynaLast week, rumours started concerning Chyna‘s status with WWE and that there may be a dialogue between the two sides for the first time in a long time, with the end goal being her being inducted into the Hall Of Fame alongside her stablemates in D-Generation X. That’s a pretty big thing when you think about it as she has been persona non grata in WWE since leaving in 2001 – compounded when she entered the world of hardcore pornography.

In June, we presented a match of hers from her WWF days where she defended the Intercontinental Championship against Chris Jericho but this week, we’ve gone a little deeper into her archives and stumbled across a contest from her days on the indie circuit before she became the bodyguard of Hunter Hearst Helmsley, debuting in In Your House: Final Four in February 1997, acting as a fan to choke Goldust‘s then-wife/director Terri “Marlena” Runnels before being dragged away by security.

In her early days, Joanie Laurer was known as Joanie Lee, and was taking on men as well as women – the norm these days but a little less commonplace in the mid-1990s. Her opponent in this match from December 1996 is a guy by the name of Bad Brad, who Chyna credited in her autobiography for helping her to come up with the Chyna character. He also points out that this match was designed to be a showcase of what she was capable of so she could use it for a promo tape for the WWF. Evidently, it worked…


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