Recently on The Steve Austin Show, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin discussed the untimely passing of Joanie 'Chyna' Laurer.
According to Austin, he received the news of Chyna's demise before most of the world, as the person who discovered Chyna's body, Anthony Anzaldo, called Austin in the early evening on April 20, 2016 to share the news as Austin was recovering from surgery. That morning, Austin had rotator cuff surgery at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.
"I wake up [after surgery]. I got the pain block going. I don't really need any pain pills and I'm clear-headed now. I can remember all of the events that are happening and I'm wide awake. I start going through my regular checklist of things to do, making phone calls, telling everybody, well, my family, my loved ones, that my surgery was fine and I'm fine. And then, so I'm just kind of chilling out, letting all the affects of all the drugs that I've been given to keep me asleep wear off and I get a phone call. Well, I miss the phone call, but then I get a text message: 'hey man, call me ASAP'. And so, I call this guy ASAP and he proceeded to tell me that Chyna had indeed passed away and that he had discovered her there in her apartment in Redondo Beach [California]. And this was, man, in the evening, but this was hours and hours before this broke on a nationwide scene or worldwide scene and I was one of the first people to know. And when the guy called me, this hit me so hard and I couldn't believe it. I said to him three times, I said, 'dude,' I said, 'you're shooting with me? Chyna's dead?' And he said, 'Steve, I'm shooting with you.' He speaks the language. I said, 'dude, this is not a rib, right?' because you just don't rib like that. It would be a morbid rib. But there was just no way, and I knew this guy was a very close acquaintance of Chyna's, so I knew it was a shoot, but I could not believe it," Austin recalled.
"It was like somebody hit me in the head with a baseball bat. I'm coming out of this anesthesia. I'm pretty clear-headed. And then, someone calls me and just tells me that someone that I care deeply about and had many, many good times with was gone. And she was only, I guess, 46 years old. And again, I was under the assumption, I knew she had some issues, but I was under the assumption that she was straightened up or clean or whatever. And, man, I tell you what, I just stood around and I was in shock. Didn't really know what to do. There's nobody to call. There's nothing to talk about. It's just so heavy duty."
During the podcast, 'Stone Cold' also shared a story of meeting Chyna for the first time.
"I remember the first time I met Chyna. It was somewhere up in the northeast [United States]. For some reason, I might have been sharing a car with Shawn Michaels and Triple H or I met them at the same hotel at the same time, whatever happened. And Chyna shows up and she's going to make her debut the next day, I believe. And there's a connection there because Triple H was trained by Killer Kowalski and Chyna had just completed Killer Kowalski's [professional] wrestling school and I guess someone had given the [WWE] office a buzz, saying, 'hey man, there's this real big chick and she looks pretty bad ass and Killer Kowalski trained her and she [has] got a great look'.
"So, anyway, I don't know how all the dynamics of that went down, but, I mean, I remember meeting her that night for the first time and I'm thinking to myself, 'man, this chick is bad. She looks great. She's built like a million bucks.' You could see she was spending hours and hours in the gym and watching her train, the textbook form she had, I mean, her form was better than most of the guys and she was serious about what she was trying to do and she's a smart lady, as I would come to find out. But, anyway, so she gets in the company. I'm not going to do a whole synopsis on her career, but I hit it off with Chyna from day one. And as I got to know her. I got to know her silly side and me and her always had this kind of great relationship, but just goofy, silly sense of humor that probably only me and her got."
Austin will remember Chyna as a kind, funny, and intelligent woman.
"I got a chance to hang out with her a lot, do business with her a lot, watch her learn the system, watch her understand the push, and watch her get over, and watch her operate. And she got over big time in the Attitude Era. And she had a monster run. And she had a definite impact on the business of professional wrestling." Austin added, "Chyna was one of the funniest, sweetest people that I have known in the business of pro wrestling. And I think if you go back and you asked all those people that were there in the locker room when she was there, when she was hot, universally, you're going to get thumbs up [for] her. I think all the guys respected her. Everybody knew she was over. And whatever happened with why she left the WWE or who was responsible for that, I don't know any of that. That's soap opera stuff that I didn't get into, but I respected Chyna. I liked Chyna. I thought she was a bad ass and she was an absolute sweetheart and she was very intelligent. I know Chyna had her issues after she left the WWE, but, man, she had made a comeback from that."
'The Texas Rattlesnake' went on to say that a posthumous induction into the WWE Hall Of Fame for 'The Ninth Wonder Of The World' is not enough to memorialize her trailblazing WWE career or remember her as a person.
"I don't think it will ever be right because she didn't go into the [WWE] Hall Of Fame while she was alive, living and breathing with us. And I thought she earned the right to be in the Hall Of Fame and to put her in there posthumously, if I'm saying that word correctly, man, it's just not good enough. And so, I don't know how you rectify that, how you deal with that, because things are just screwed up. And, man, her going into the Hall Of Fame is just so small in comparison to the fact that this young lady is no longer with us. I don't know what to make of it."
Click here to listen to the podcast. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Steve Austin Show with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Steve Austin Show