In the early 2000s, the FOX Network hit bottom with a string of sleazy prime-time specials, including Who Wants To Marry A Multimillionaire?, Man vs. Beast, and Celebrity Boxing.
Now, the first Celebrity Boxing special featured such F-list wrestling personalities as WCW and TNA veteran Danny Bonaduce…
…one-time Juggalo Championsh*t Wrestling grappler Vanilla Ice…
…and Eddie Guerrero’s one-time valet, Tonya Harding.
As far as wrestling fans were concerned, this hardly constituted must-see programming.
The second Celebrity Boxing special, though, saw a bona fide future WWE Hall of Famer step into the boxing ring. And that Hall of Famer was…
William “The Refrigerator” Perry. You didn’t think I meant Chyna, did you?
Hall of Fame rings aside, Chyna did indeed take a turn as a pugilist on FOX, even though, lackluster as she was in the WWF ring, most fans would much rather see her wrestle than see her box.
Her proposed opponent, “Weird” Al Yankovic, turned down the network’s offer, not jumping for the idea of beating up a woman. Either that, or he wanted to hold out for a big money fight against either Harding or her fellow “Headline News” subject, John Wayne Bobbitt.
Fortunately for Chyna, another boxer dropped out of his own fight, allowing Laurer onto the show as a last-minute substitute.
That meant that Joanie would be pitted against statutory rapist and all-around sack of crap, 46-year-old Joey Buttafuoco. After years of playing a powerful crusader for equality in the scripted world of wrestling, Chyna could finally strike a literal blow for women the world over by knocking out the sleazy womanizer.
Anyone who saw Laurer debut in the WWF would have thought her to be a shoo-in, but a lot had happened between 1997 and 2002. First, Laurer had gotten lots of cosmetic surgery on her face.
Nose jobs and jaw-sculpting don’t necessarily affect one’s ability to fight, but Joanie wasn’t about to risk the face that launched a thousand ships (all of them yachts bought by plastic surgeons with Chyna money). That meant cumbersome, oversized headgear and a fighting style that saw Laurer take punches to the back of the head.
Second, while Chyna had once been the definition of a “Glamazon” (except for the “glamor” part. Is there another term I should be using instead of “Glamazon”?), she had trimmed down considerably since then as part of her male-to-female transition. That is to say, when she started wrestling women instead of men.
When the fight got underway, the size difference was obvious. (Speaking of obvious, it turns out Laurer was the one in the red shorts — the one who’s a woman and not boxing topless)
Also obvious? Chyna couldn’t throw a punch.
But what she lacked in size and technique, she made up for in guts, except for all the times when she turned her back to Joey so she could run away or protect her expensive face.
Showing utter disdain for his opponent’s abilities…
…Buttafuoco tossed Chyna to the mat.
Chyna landed one good punch, to little effect, but that didn’t stop the announcers from trying to paint the match as an even fight…
…even as Buttafuoco knocked Laurer down again…
…and pummeled her until her gargantuan protective headgear covered her eyes.
In the end, Chyna survived with her million-dollar face intact, but lost by judges’ decision, no doubt to the announcers’ shock.
Joey Buttafuoco used his victory speech to offer a cutting critique of the penal system. (John Bobbitt broke out into a cold sweat after reading that last sentence)
Chyna, on the other hand, would not accept her defeat, blaming Joey’s dirty tactics (such as throwing her around and landing lots and lots of punches) for the loss. She then challenged Joey to a fight “in my ring and go by my rules.” Having forgotten that she no longer wrestled in WWE and that the outcomes of pro wrestling matches have always been pre-determined anyway, Chyna was immediately rushed to the hospital for fear of brain damage.
Her credibility against male competitors shot to pieces, Laurer then ventured into the sex tape and reality TV circuit, staying out of the boxing world.
Years later, though, she would parlay her 0-1 boxing record into a training gig with…
…Joey Buttafuoco, whom she coached in a losing effort against Amy Fisher’s husband. I’m sure she would have much preferred managing Randy Savage against Triple H, but beggars can’t be choosers.
And of course, Chyna has recently returned to the adult film world with “Backdoor to Chyna,” where, as the name implies, she gets, uh… Buttafuoco’d.