During the height of WWE’s ‘Attitude Era’ I was a huge fan of their partnership with Playboy. I looked forward every year to see which Diva was going to pose for the world’s most famous men’s magazine. With WWE’s top notch marketing, there was no shortage of promotion and hype for all the divas that appeared in Playboy. This was right in line with some the over-the-top sexuality they presented on weekly television in the form of bikini contests, bra & panties matches and sexually charged characters like Val Venis and The Godfather.
It’d be easy for me to be backwards politically correct in saying that type of sexuality was inappropriate or to bash it in any way, especially considering the fact that I quite enjoyed every bit of it. After all, during that time, I fit WWE’s targeted demographic, so you’ll get no flak from me. After the ‘Ruthless Aggression’ era, we find ourselves in the midst of WWE’s more family friendly ‘PG’ era. Long gone are the bra & panties matches and Eric Bischoff’s fabled HLA (Google it, folks). I have no problem with WWE targeting a younger demographic because for an entertainment brand to have any staying power, they have to create and hook fans at a younger age.
What I do have a small problem with is their anti-Chyna stance. I am not giving WWE 100% of the blame, because we all know that Vince is not averse to mending fences and doing business with estranged superstars. Chyna hasn’t helped her cause at all and I’ll address her transgressions as well. During Triple H’s appearance on the Stone Cold Podcast that aired live on WWE Network earlier this year, he basically closed the door on any chance of WWE reopening its doors to welcome Chyna back due in large part to her post-WWE porn career.
There’s plenty of speculation, conspiracy theories and rumors floating around about WWE’s reluctance to welcome Chyna back; especially as it relates to her past relationship history with Triple H. Other cases have been made for laying the blame at the feet of Stephanie McMahon, who allegedly ‘stole’ Triple H from her. While these reasons do contain a smidgen of validity, I honestly think it’s mostly people taking the easy way out so I won’t elaborate on it any more than I already have.
The question that burns deepest for me is what about X-Pac? He appeared in Chyna’s first two post-WWE porn releases (to maintain the serious nature and integrity of this column, I will not post the names of those titles) but has since been welcomed back by WWE with open arms on several occasions; the most recent being WrestleMania 31. Triple H mentioned the off-chance of a child using Google to look up Chyna and the results that might be returned, but will X-Pac NOT show up as a (willing) co-star and filmographer in the first two releases? Of course he will. And he’ll also be around on live television for the next milestone Monday Night Raw that happens to feature another Degeneration-X reunion. Doesn’t really seem fair, does it?
Chyna hasn’t helped her cause for reinstatement in the least bit. If anything, she’s done more damage to her cause with false allegations of domestic abuse levied against Triple H and her four additional porn titles. In my opinion, her 2012 release, a porn parody of her life inside the ring was more than likely the nail in the old proverbial coffin. Her post-WWE career has been one embarrassment after another, from battling addiction to making a complete fool of herself on television and in public. As a fan, I just hope she’s able to get a grip on her life and conquer her addictions.
During the Attitude Era’s heyday, the WWE, with zero shame, used sex to get their product over. It worked tremendously because sex sells and always will. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they used Chyna, because let’s face it, no one put a gun to her head and made her pose for Playboy. Furthermore, there was a roster full of sexier divas they could have chosen. But when her first feature came out and was touted as Playboy’s then highest selling cover ever, it was a success that WWE could not afford to sweep under the rug. I suppose it’s best for WWE to let sleeping dogs lie, but still can’t help but wonder why it is that when they’re no longer using sex to promote the product, how can they basically blackball one superstar due to her pornagraphic catalog and not another? Maybe it’s the numbers game, with Chyna having a total of six films under her belt while X-Pac only has two.
Whatever the case, I’m still holding on (and so is she) to the slimmest of hope that WWE and Chyna, after some serious fence-mending and apologies, can do business again. Besides, it’s impossible for WWE to write the history of Degeneration-X without a significant chapter about the Ninth Wonder of the World. Furthermore, despite Triple H closing the door on Stone Cold’s podcast, I think he should settle in for a night of WWE Network viewing and relive his first championship. It wasn’t Stephanie McMahon running out to congratulate him, it was Chyna.
I wholeheartedly disagree with WWE basically saying things like Chyna entering the Royal Rumble or winning the Intercontinental Championship didn’t happen.
I also wonder how much time has to pass before the two sides can finally do business, because despite what has become of Joanie Laurer since walking away from the WWE, she deserves to have her accomplishments in sports entertainment celebrated.