‘Wrestling with Chyna’: New documentary gives a look at WWE star’s final months
In the first trailer for Wrestling with Chyna, a documentary that chronicles the final few months of Joanie “Chyna” Laurer’s life, the star gets candid about the moments that led to her death.
The footage from the trailer shows Laurer speaking about her drug abuse, fame and the personal demons that led her to her shocking death.
“I’m Chyna, I’m a champion,” she says in the trailer. “I went from a billion dollar commodity to on the street.”
WATCH BELOW: Former WWE wrestling star Chyna dies at 46
Laurer, who died from a mixture of alcohol and prescription drugs at age 46, recorded the footage last year.
She addresses the abuse of prescription drugs, telling the cameras, “This is just a f*cked up business. If I need one Valium, I take one Valium. If I need three…”
The tall, muscle-bound, raven-haired Laurer billed herself as the “9th Wonder of the World” because her wrestling predecessor Andre the Giant had already called himself the eighth.
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She was a member of the wrestling squad that dubbed itself “D-Generation X,” often wrestled against men and at one point was the WWE women’s champion.
After her time in the ring, she posed for Playboy and appeared on The Surreal Life, which documented her struggle with alcohol abuse.
Erik Angra, a friend and the documentary’s filmmaker described the late wrestler as “so warm [and] so loving” and called her a “feminist icon.”
He told People magazine that when they first started the documentary, he had no idea the extent of her substance abuse.
“It seemed like she was getting better, but then every once in a while there would be concerning moments,” he admitted. “In the final months, we flew to Miami to visit her father’s grave, we were trying to deal with some of the underlying issues that she was having.”
“She started to drink, and holed up in her apartment and was pretending everything was fine. But the phone calls she was making to me were very worrisome,” Angra said, adding, “Sometimes I feel really guilty.”
According to the Los Angeles County Coroner, Laurer had ingested painkillers oxycodone and oxymorphone, Valium, nordiazepam (a muscle relaxant) and temazepam (a sleeping aide), prior to her death.
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Anthony Anzaldo, Laurer’s former manager, spoke to People about the upcoming documentary.
“It’s her facing a lot of her own emotions and issues. So it was getting a little bit intense for her and she probably was just inadvertently taking her meds a little bit inappropriately. Once we found out that was happening, we knew that there was a problem, and four days later she was gone,” he said.
Angra hopes the documentary will help fans “remember [Chyna] for her strength and for what she represented for a lot of women that didn’t have the voice.”
Angra and the film’s executive producer, Rob Potylo, hope to release Wrestling with Chyna in the fall of 2017.
—With files from The Associated PressFollow @KatieScottNews
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