On the first installment of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast’s interview series Documenting Chyna, Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman sat down with the mother of WWE Hall of Famer “Chyna” Joanie Laurer, Janet LaQue. Hausman asked Jan if it has surprised her to see the lasting impact her daughter has had on fans.
“Well, to be honest with you, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it because I guess I really never realized, until after her death, actually quite a while after her death, what kind of an impact she had on people, and it just makes me very proud,” Jan said. “And I just wish she were here so I could put my arms around her and tell her how proud I am of her. It’s unbelievable. It really is. It’s a lot to take in to tell you the truth.”
Jan opened up about how Chyna was growing up. She spoke on how selfless Chyna was and how she was always making jokes even for her grandparents.
“She was colorful. She was larger than life,” Jan said. “She loved to entertain. From the time she came out, she was a very good baby. She was a delightful child. I can’t remember anything about her childhood that was negative. I know that sounds kind of ridiculous and maybe I’m kind of prejudice, but she just was a great kid, and she loved to entertain. She would go over to her grandmother and grandfather’s house and put on puppet shows and dance and make jokes.
“Even as she got older and even before her death, not too long before her death, she was making jokes. She had a great sense of humor, really warm personality. Joanie was the kind of kid that if she had something and you wanted it, she’d just say, ‘here take it,’ and that went right through to her adulthood. She’d just give you something. She’d give you the shirt off her back. She’s just a great kid. She was a great kid.”
Hausman asked if Jan was shocked to see Chyna pursue a path into the world of bodybuilding. She admitted that she didn’t know about it at first, and she said that she was surprised when she saw her daughter on WWE TV as they had been estranged for many years.
“Well, at first, I didn’t even know about it,” Jan admitted. “She chose to leave home when she was 16 to go live with her dad, and then eventually, after she got through college and she tried a couple of jobs that didn’t work out, she went to live with her sister, older sister Kathy. And Kathy was into bodybuilding at the time, and she kind of got Joanie into the bodybuilding thing. And at that point in time, Joanie and I were estranged, so I didn’t know it the first time.
“I remember the first time I saw her on TV on–well, this was when she was in the WWF, and I don’t know what the name of the show was at the time. I don’t know if it was still called RAW back then, but anyway, she came out on stage in the silver costume with these, I don’t know what you’d call them, bazooka guns or something, and there was all this smoke and fire. I went, ‘oh my God, that’s Joanie.’ I mean, I was just flabbergasted.
“Like I said, I don’t think I really understood the true impact of exactly what she had achieved until after her death, and it was a while after her death. I just didn’t get it. Now I do. I mean, I’m in contact with a ton of her fans, and I hear stories all the time about the influence that she’s had on people for various reasons. To a lot of people, Joanie is larger than just being a wrestler. She had a major positive impact on a ton of people.”
Jan also gave her thoughts on Chyna’s portrayal in WWE. She said she found it weird to see Chyna as Triple H’s bodyguard, and she also said that she enjoyed Chyna’s later run when she was more feminine in her appearance.
“Well, at first, it was a little weird because she was portrayed as Triple H’s bodyguard,” Jan stated. “She had changed so much her body structure from the way that she was that I think she was portrayed okay. I mean, I know that a lot of it is fake. So I mean you got to do what you got to do, but then later, when she became much more feminine in her appearance, even though she could pick up and slam just about anybody, she looked good while she was doing it. I thought it was pretty cool to tell you the truth.”
Hausman brought up Chyna’s partnership with Eddie Guerrero and their dynamic. Jan agreed that it was fun to see the duo together.
“I thought it was kind of cool,” Jan admitted. “It definitely had some humor in it, and that’s the way Joanie would have wanted it, with some humor in it. People enjoy the theatrics of all of it, but they also enjoy the humor, at least I did.”
Jan’s full interview aired as part of today’s debut episode of Documenting Chyna on The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.