The WWE Hall of Fame is a strange honor. On one hand, the hall honors WWE legends and legends of the business in general, as the biggest names get inducted. Inductions into any hall of fame is reserved for merit, impact on the industry and the respect of your peers. On the other hand, prerequisites for the WWE HOF seem to also include a lot of politics. One has to have a good relationship with Vince McMahon and the other powers that be or they may be passed over time after time.
Just look at the amount of time it took Macho Man Randy Savage to get inducted, while guys like Edge and Shawn Michaels were inducted the year after their retirements. You have the celebrity wing, where people like Drew Carey, William "The Refrigerator" Perry and Donald Trump are in. Some glaring Hall of Fame omissions still include Rick Rude, The Fabulous Freebirds, Owen Hart and Chyna.
Chyna was one of the pioneers for women in the WWE, as she was the first and probably only female in the history of the business that was seen as a threat (and booked as one) to the men, as Chyna defeated males on several occasions. Chyna was the strong, silent bodyguard of HHH and then of D-X. There was an it factor she had about her that didn't require her to say a whole lot, but when she did speak, everyone listened.
Her push as a singles competitor really started to take off in 1999. She was the 30th entrant of the 1999 Royal Rumble, becoming the first woman to enter the Rumble. She soon joined The Corporation along with Triple H and stayed by his side through the summer. After her split from Hunter, she feuded with Jeff Jarrett for the Intercontinental title. She defeated Jarrett at No Mercy, as Jarrett was on his way to WCW. Chyna became the first and only woman to date to hold the Intercontinental title. She would then feud with Jericho, eventually being a co-holder of the title with him.
Later in 2000, the WWE started marketing her as a woman with sex appeal, as they had previously simply marketed her as a monster, or an amazon. Her facial reconstruction surgery, as well as some other 'additions' changed the WWE's narrative about her, but Chyna really did revamp her body type through 1999 and 2000, as her push escalated. She and Eddie Guerrero became an on-screen couple and Chyna became known as "Mamacita". During this time Chyna won the Intercontinental title for a second time. The couple was hilarious but they would split in the fall of 2000.
From there, things got complicated between Chyna and WWE. The WWE wanted Chyna to compete in the Divas division, but Chyna wanted to keep facing men. She eventually feuded with Ivory and won the Women's Championship in a squash match at WrestleMania X-Seven. Chyna's final WWE match was at Judgment Day, 2001 where she retained against Lita, but vacated the title and left the company.
The relationship between the company and Joanie Laurer really deteriorated as personal issues between her, Triple H and Stephanie, whom Triple H had allegedly began seeing behind Chyna's back, caused friction. Stories conflict as to whether Chyna was released or if she chose to leave.
It's now been 14 years since Chyna left WWE and her life has seemingly been in a spiral for ages. She wrestled for New Japan and TNA briefly, but headlines surrounding her have mostly been about her adult films, with Sean Waltman in One Night In China, and of course, Chyna signed with Vivid in 2011 where she made more adult films. This is where the conundrum lies for WWE.
In his interview earlier this year with Steve Austin, Triple H answered Austin when he asked about the Ninth Wonder of the World's Hall of Fame status:
"From a career standpoint, should she be in the Hall of Fame? Absolutely. It’s a bit difficult, though, and this is the flipside of the coin — and this is the side nobody looks at — I’ve got an eight-year-old kid, and my eight-year-old kid sees Hall of Fame, and my eight-year-old kid goes on the Internet to look at Chyna. What comes up? And I’m not criticizing anybody. I’m not criticizing lifestyle choices. Everybody has their reasons. I don’t know what they were. I don’t care to know. It’s not a morality thing or anything else. It is just the fact of what it is. That’s a difficult choice."
It's no secret what Triple H was referring to, but is Chyna's work in the adult film industry really the worst thing a Hall of Fame inductee's ever done? Should Hulk Hogan's HOF induction be revoked because a sex tape about him was leaked? If people were to google Jimmy Snuka and Mike Tyson, would they not find disturbing info?
Now that this reason is nullified, do we get down to personal issues between Chyna and WWE's biggest power couple? Chyna says she would welcome it, as she tweeted the following after Triple H's comments.
"I understand that the question was asked why am I not in the HOF? I have my reason as to why however, let me make this clear. If the WWE was ever to say that I was going to be inducted, either as part of the groundbreaking DX or as an individual. Well, my answer would be what a friend of mine us to say in the ring, O HELL YEAH! It just want to take a minute and thank all of the fans that keep my name out there. You have no idea what it means to me. I love you all."
Triple H mended fences with some people Vince McMahon had bad blood with, including the late Ultimate Warrior, Bruno Sammartino and Lanny Poffo, Randy Savage's brother. He did this presumably because these were guys who deserved to go in based on merit, and should not be excluded due to politics or personal issues. It's time for the double standards to stop. Chyna was an integral part of reshaping the concept of women in the WWE and was an integral part of WWE's Attitude Era. It's time her legacy is recognized.