This past week one of the greats of professional wrestling passed away.
On Wednesday, Joanie Laurer, known to wrestling fans around the world as Chyna, died at the tragically young age of 45. She debuted back in the Attitude Era as Triple H's bodyguard; was at one time in consideration to become the first ever female World Heavyweight Champion; actually was the only women ever to hold the Intercontinental Champion; and, was the first of only two women to ever appear in the Royal Rumble.
She was a big, muscular woman (a professional bodybuilder, in fact) working in wrestling when blonde hair and implants were basically part of the uniform. She almost always held power in her storylines and had dignity even when she didn't (with the exception of that... rather uncomfortable angle with Chris Jericho). She was a part of D-X in its most legendary form which alone makes her a major figure in the Monday Night Wars. She competed on a level with, and even feuded against, some of the best male wrestlers of her day. She even competed in a few inter-gender matches that weren't horrible to watch, even if one of them did seriously bring into question whether WWE's bookers know how vaginas work.
Like Trish Stratus and Lita she was one of those great female wrestlers who was better than the women's division of their day ever deserved, one of those who worked to elevate the form even as the industry itself sank into valuing female competitors only for their looks.
She was the Ninth Wonder of the World and we were privileged to have the glimpse we got of her.