Chyna spoke with me last month about her time in WWE, her Vivid release Back Door To Chyna, her TNA stint and much more. We had published the interview in two parts, you can check out the full interview below:
WrestlingINC.com: You were in wrestling during a very hot peak. It was kind of the modern glory years in a way from 1997- 2001. Can you describe what it was like being a wrestler during that time?
Chyna: Oh yeah, that's a good question. I was, you know, in cafeterias with the people and we fought. Like I remember me and Hunter would go from like 50 folding chairs then it's like 10,000 people then it's like 15,000 people. Then I remember me and all the boys - we'd look out the curtain and say, "Oh my God, there's 20,000 people out there." It was such an exciting experience. It was crazy. I was there when we went public. It was crazy. What an experience.
WrestlingINC.com: You obviously got a very big push. You were one of the most popular women's wrestlers of all time, winning the Intercontinental Title and everything. Do you think any of that was happening too fast? Were you ready for it when it happened?
Chyna: First of all, I didn't know anything about wrestling. My brother would actually have his buddies over and we had this dog kennel in the backyard. He used to have cage matches with his buddies. I would get tin foil and cover a belt with sparkles and bling-bling, and I made the belt. That was cool stuff. I didn't really think about wrestling. I thought it was just a goal for guys. I just wanted to be on TV like in fitness pageants. I had a love for movies and television. I didn't know anything about wrestling. Shawn Michaels called me and I guess you would say I was discovered, really.
WrestlingINC.com: You were there until 2001. I think there was that Pay-Per-View where you beat Lita, and then after that, you were gone.
Chyna: Well, that was awkward because that's the time when I knew Hunter was having the affair with Stephanie McMahon and it was so uncomfortable. At that time I was still working so they were like, "Let's give the push to Lita and work with her." I think they just didn't know what to do with me at that point. I worked with Lita. I was going to get the belt to her and everything was… It didn't work; it was awkward. I go home and I get the fax, "We don't need you anymore." The whole belt thing never happened but that's where they were going with that.
WrestlingINC.com: How did you find out about Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's relationship?
Chyna: Well, I had my doubts. Like people always say, "Is it real? It's television. Is the storyline real?" I was like, "Is there something going on? If there is, I can take it." This was my love, this was my career. I need to know because I didn't want to lose my career. He just kept saying, "It wasn't, wasn't wasn't," but his attitude had changed. I actually did the snoop. I found a love letter from Stephanie McMahon that had been dated from the previous year so I knew that there was a year affair going on.
WrestlingINC.com: What did you do when you found out?
Chyna: Within five minutes I called Vince McMahon and he was basically like, "Okay, well, the jig is up."
WrestlingINC.com: So he obviously knew.
Chyna: Oh, of course he knew. It had been going on for a year. But nobody told me.
WrestlingINC.com: Did you ever approach Stephanie after you found out?
Chyna: I did. After I found the letter I called Vince. He said, "Okay, I'll see you on Monday," and when I walked into the building it was like the parting of the Red Sea. It was like everybody was against Paulie. Bob Holly was standing around me, Billy was standing around me - it was just crazy. Then I actually was going into the bathroom stall of the ladies room because I couldn't stop crying and Vince was going to talk to me. He said, "Are you ready to talk Chyna?"
Then Stephanie stepped up. She took me into the room, we talked, and she goes, "Well, I love him. He's my man. I'm sorry if you feel that way…" and I shut her up. I said, "Shut up. Call your dad in here because I'm going to choke you out." "If you really feel that way, take control of yourself," then Vince came in and said, "Let's do a new contract. I know this is tough for you but it's going to be okay." Then I went home and I got a fax saying they didn't need me anymore.
WrestlingINC.com: Now with "Back Door to Chyna" - that's pretty much your debut movie with Vivid. It is getting a lot of pub. A lot of people are talking about it. Did you have any second thoughts
about doing the movie when you first did it?
Chyna: Not one with Vivid. They're an amazing company. They made me feel beautiful, strong, stand on my own two feet, getting out there. [It was] amazing. I didn't know it was going to be so well received. If you would have asked me 10 years ago if I would be doing porn… It's an amazing experience; I'm so lucky.
WrestlingINC.com: You legally changed your name to Chyna, right?
Chyna: Yes, in 2007. It took me seven years.
WrestlingINC.com: That's incredible. It's not often that someone can get to use their old WWE name so congratulations for that.
Chyna: To me, my name was Chyna. What bothered me was Joanie Laurer. There was no mom Laurer, there was no dad Laurer. I was totally abandoned so what bothered me was my given name. There was sort of that confusion like, "Okay, Chyna's a fake name." That was already a confusing issue. To me, I'm Chyna. It was more of a business thing. Vince gave me a hard time. I didn't get a lot of work. It was hard to do radio interviews because they would then call in and say, "You better not use Chyna because I own that." I was like, "Okay." So I went for it. It took me seven years. As soon as I got the name, I was like, "Okay, I'm hot on the pavement again. Let's go," because there were no legal issues or no bullying issue. I'm glad I didn't quit.
WrestlingINC.com: You were on Howard Stern the other day and you said that you had sent a letter recently to WWE. Was that fairly recent or was that a little while ago?
Chyna: Maybe like a month now.
WrestlingINC.com: And they just said that they weren't interested?
Chyna: They said they're not interested. For so long I didn't even think about writing a letter but all my fans were like, "I miss you Chyna. I love you. When are you going back? When are you going back?" for like 11 years, right? My friend, he's a lawyer, and he said, "Chyna, you need to reach out to Vince McMahon." I was like, "Nobody reached out to me," and whatever. He was like, "Do you want to reach out to Vince McMahon?" I said, "Yeah, I would like an explanation, some closure, come back, do business." I did that and really felt good that I reached out because when the fans say, "What's going on?" I can honestly say, "He's not interested."
WrestlingINC.com: You were with TNA for a brief time earlier this year.
Chyna: Yes, and I want to honestly tell you - it's not hard to find my phone number. Nobody ever called me in 11 years. I get the phone call from Vince Russo. He was like, "Hey, what's up? Would you be interested in coming back?" I was like, "Sure, let's talk." The next day I was on a plane. I was looking good, feeling good and I think everybody was just like blank stares and it was very bizarre. I don't know if they were expecting desperation. I didn't know what was going on. It was great to see the boys, I was happy and then I never heard from them again.
WrestlingINC.com: Now that your movie career is going and everything - is that something that you don't really see a return to or is it a possibility?
Chyna: Of course I believe it's a possibility. That's why I wrote the letter. I don't personally think it's going to happen. [Regarding returning to TNA earlier this year] Eric Bischoff made executive comments about me; it did hurt my feelings because I love Dixie Carter. She's an amazing, really strong woman. It was so cool to see the boys and even the ones I didn't know… It made me feel incredible because they were like, "Chyna!" I was like, "Wow, this is so awesome." It was by far not a negative experience. It was great. I hope they're thinking about bringing me back.
WrestlingINC.com: Do you think it's just strictly the porn career that's gave TNA qualms about signing you to a contract?
Chyna: No, I don't. The boys, we come from a three ring circus, all over the world doing all kinds of stuff. We've all had issues. I feel a porn video is a gold egg, and like I said, it's not something I'm ashamed of. It has nothing to do with my wrestling career unless they want it. It has nothing to do with my wrestling. I don't think… nobody knew I was doing porn, anyway, until it got leaked and that was like a month later. Never did Dixie or Vince Russo or anybody say anything. It wasn't a choice. Nobody came to me and said, "Wow, this porn is coming up. Do you want to do porn or do you want to do wrestling?" It just wasn't a factor, you know? I liked it there. It was a really good experience and I'd like for them to have me back.
WrestlingINC.com: Do you still watch wrestling at all?
Chyna: I always say, "I'm not going to." For the first time in life I can't support it. I like "Hells' Kitchen," "The Bachelorette." I went to a Vegas party with the Bachelorette girls. I won't turn on wrestling. Why should I support that?
WrestlingINC.com: With "Back Door to Chyna" - how do you feel it came out?
Chyna: Wonderful, really good, loved it. I love it. I get to do my movies. I get to do the whole glamour thing, hot, sexy. I fully intend to explore my sexuality and it gives me a platform to do that. It's honest and open and the only person who can judge you is you and God. I love it. I feel it's been incredibly liberating and very female empowering, and the guys are smoking hot also.
WrestlingINC.com: Do you have plans to make more movies?
Chyna: I film in two weeks. Since the letter I said, "Okay. This is officially going to bench me." So we're doing a wrestling one, "Ring Queen."
WrestlingINC.com: In addition to making movies, what are some other subjects and pastimes that interest you?
Chyna: I love to read. Two weeks ago I moved to Venice Beach. It was always my goal to get to the water. I go out in the morning. I go out in the morning, first thing at 6 AM, and I sit and watch the stars. I go back and then at 6 PM I go back out again. It's funny because I feel like I'm all alone on the beach. It's like after everything, I have arrived.
WrestlingINC.com: So are you single right now?
Chyna: I am single.
WrestlingINC.com: What qualities do you look for in a guy?
Chyna: I want somebody smart, intelligent. Somebody that's a success but also fan of mine, like all about me, but realize I'm still a girl, I'm still a person so you develop that personal relationship besides the fame. It's hard. I find that usually it's older men or established men that I know that I think that's what will probably happen. I'm very well surrounded.
WrestlingINC.com: Great, there are a lot of fans of yours on our site. Do you have any final comments for them?
Chyna: I don't know what to say. I haven't done a media tour like this since my wrestling days. I was a bit insecure. I'm still Chyna but since I didn't have that wrestling vehicle, it was really hard for me to step. And having all the fans support me and love me without having that vehicle. I'm like, "What? It's not wrestling," and they're still there so I'm like, "Wow. They're still here."That's amazing, that's incredible.