Three years after her untimely death, wrestler Joanie “Chyna” Laurer will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in April, as part of the class of 2019.
The late star will join the ranks of the WWE’s prestigious honor, with the five other members of D-Generation X — the wrestling group formed during WWE’s Attitude Era in the late 1990s.
Chyna was a founding member of D-Generation X in 1997, alongside Triple H, and Shawn Michaels. She stayed with the group as Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac joined years later.
All six will be included in the Hall of Fame together, the WWE said on Monday, in a ceremony that takes place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on April 6 — the day before WrestleMania 35. Tickets go on sale Friday.
“I am absolutely thrilled,” Chyna’s mom Jan LaQue, who had campaigned for Chyna’s inclusion in the Hall of Fame, told Pro Wrestling Sheet. “And so is my husband. We have been invited to the ceremony and will be so proud to be there and celebrate this awesome occasion. She certainly earned this, to say the least.”
D-Generation X — or DX, as they came to be known — were pioneers in wrestling, pushing the boundaries for television with their provocative language and signature “Suck it!” move.
They also made waves by placing Chyna, a bodybuilder, in the group’s enforcer role, which boldly went against gender norms in the wrestling world.
“It was completely different“, Paul “Triple H” Levesque told ESPN “No one had ever had a female [enforcer] before, especially one like that. It just worked out. The timing was right.”
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Female wrestlers like Ronda Rousey, Asuka, Trish Stratus, Sasha Banks, and Charlotte Flair have followed in Chyna’s footsteps.
“It’d be tough to pick a female that was more impactful on the business,” Triple H said. “She did something that was completely so out of left field that it wasn’t even being considered when we first brought it up for her to come in. It wasn’t even a consideration … it wasn’t an easy thing, and against all odds she did all of that. She earned everybody’s trust. She won over the fans. She won over the boys. She did all of it.”
“From that standpoint, she absolutely 100 percent deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, and should probably be more than once — as a group, but individually as well,” Triple H added to ESPN. “There’s more complexity to that than meets the eye, but here we are. I’m just happy that it’s here. I’m happy for her family, the people that she was close to, that hopefully this is super-meaningful to them. I know it would be to her. It’s a great thing — very deserving.”
Chyna left the WWE in 2001 and never returned. She would go on to star on reality TV, in VH1’s The Surreal Life, before moving on to a career in the adult entertainment industry.
She was found dead in her Redondo Beach, California, apartment in April 2016, of an overdose.
According to the report from the Los Angeles County Coroner obtained by PEOPLE, Chyna — who was 45 — had ingested painkillers oxycodone and oxymorphone, as well as Valium, nordiazepam (a muscle relaxant) and temazepam (a sleeping aide) before her death. She had mixed the drugs with alcohol.
Multiple bottles of prescription medication were found around Chyna’s apartment at the time, the autopsy report said. She was found with a “bloody purge and foam coming from her nose and mouth.”