On a recent episode of the Grilling JR Podcast, Jim Ross discussed the career of Chyna. Ross discussed how he and Vince McMahon were first introduced to Chyna. He said Triple H, being her boyfriend at the time, introduced her to him and McMahon and gave Vince the idea of using her in a wrestling capacity.
“I think Triple H brought her to meet Vince,” Ross said. “She was socially involved with Triple H, she was trying to get in the wrestling business with her unique look. I think Triple H gave Vince the idea to use her, Vince being a smart booker was trying to acquiesce to his top talent. Hunter was not yet a quote on quote top top guy, but it was heading that way, it was inevitable.
“She was one of those kinds of talents when the first time you laid eyes on her, you knew that this is a very unique talent. There’s nobody quite like her like I’ve seen and there wasn’t before or after quite frankly. Good scouting by Triple H plus he got his girlfriend on the road with him.”
Survivor Series 1997 is one of the most memorable nights in professional wrestling with the Montreal Screwjob. Ross gave insight into what happened to him that infamous night in wrestling and why Chyna was nowhere to be found alongside Triple H and Shawn Michaels after the bell rang. He mentioned that tensions were high and he had no idea what the reaction was going to be from the other wrestlers.
“When I came off the set, I don’t know where [Jerry] Lawler went, Vince grabbed me and said, ‘get in my office and lock the door’,” Ross said. “I’m sure [Chyna] was told to get out as soon as she could facilitate it. I’m sure they had somebody there to get her to the hotel. That’s where I went, to the hotel, to my room and locked that door because you just didn’t know. You knew people were really really angry. You knew they were touched by this but you didn’t know how far they would go to express that anger.”
In 1999, Billy Gunn won the King of the Ring tournament which was supposed to be a major launching pad for his career. Ross talked about Vince seeing a lot in Billy and wanting to go forward with him as a top singles star. He also discussed if Vince ever mentioned Chyna as being the winner of the tournament because she was involved in it.
“It probably was discussed,” Ross said. “She was in that sphere of bouncing ideas around. She’d expanded her toolbox, so I’m sure it was discussed but Vince also had high hopes for Billy Gunn. Vince thought that Billy Gunn had much more potential as a singles guy because he had done that Smoking Gunns thing for so long it was time for a new coat of paint on that hot rod. Billy was a forerunner in those discussions, then you come to find out Billy is a better tag team guy than singles guy.”
Ross also mentioned how differently Chyna’s career in WWE could have been if she was never in a relationship with Triple H. He noted how Chyna’s relationship with Triple H ending ruined her career and caused her to be so depressed that she had to leave the company.
“Her goal was to get into wrestling and Hunter facilitated that via the Kowalski school and then getting her in front of Vince,” Ross said. “It also was a good move for him booking wise because it gave him a valet with a very unique appearance. Him and her together was very unique. He was growing into his role and becoming that million dollar a year role so I would say he helped her, the evolution of the relationship can’t be predicted. Who knew they were going to break up?”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Grilling JR with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.