Q&A with former WWE star Chyna
Although it’s been a decade since Chyna was one of the biggest wrestling personalities of WWE’s Attitude Era, she certainly has been making headlines over the past several weeks.
Last month, she wrestled in her first match in the U.S. since 2001 on TNA’s Sacrifice pay-per-view. Then came the shocking news that she had recently shot an adult film with Vivid Entertainment titled “Backdoor to Chyna.”
I conducted a phone interview Wednesday with Chyna, who talked about her decision to venture into the porn industry, her experience with TNA and her future plans.
Why did you choose to go back into adult entertainment at this point?
Well, in the first place, I’m not really getting back into it. The [sex tape with then-boyfriend Sean “X-Pac” Waltman that was released in 2004] was done to me and it was degrading and violating and a really traumatizing experience. You know, I think throughout my career in wrestling it’s kind of been like a three-ring circus. It was a lot of fun and I loved every minute of it. I loved the fans and I loved everything that I did. I branched out from that: I wrote a book and I did Playboy and I did all these things that were very, very successful, and I loved doing every single one of them. So when this came up, I wasn’t necessarily thinking that I was going to go in this direction, but because most of the things I’ve done in my life and most of the experiences have been really great, and this industry was kind of tarnished for me, I just felt mentally that I wanted to experience it, to cross that barrier and see what it was like. I’ve always taken risks and been a pioneer at different things and experiences. And Vivid – I didn’t really know a whole lot about porn at all, but I knew the company Vivid, and I knew that they had the most beautiful women and the hottest guys and that they were a well-known company and a reputable company, so I decided to go for it and it turned out to be a great experience. Vivid was incredibly professional. Not only did they pay me well, but I felt really beautiful and sexy and it was fun. I was involved from beginning to end and there was nothing negative about the experience. I found it to be very empowering and it helped me therapeutically with something that I had in my head mentally from a really bad experience and it healed me in a way – it’s kind of crazy.
Are you planning to do more adult films?
I don’t see why not. Like I said, it was a really positive experience. To tell you the truth, I haven’t had that much negative buzz, because I don’t see a reason for there to be a negative buzz. I’ve already show my talent and my ability as far as wrestling, and acting, and modeling and writing and all of that, so to me it doesn’t affect any of those things. It’s been like 10 years since I’ve been on contract with wrestling, and I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities here and there, but they’re like one-time things, and those things haven’t been knocking down my door for a future career. So when this opportunity came up, I said, “You know what, I’m going to do it. What have I got to lose? Nothing.” And I’m really glad I did.
Are you worried at all that you may lose some of your fans over doing a porn movie?
I don’t think I’m going to lose fans over it. I think it might be a shock, but I don’t think I’ll lose any fans. If anything, I think I’ll gain. And like I said, this wasn’t done to me – it was by choice. It’s a very empowering move, just like wrestling was with my athletic ability to fight with the men and the women and play a character. When I did Playboy it was very successful because my attitude is that I’m doing it for a very empowering reason, and I think that’s logical and it makes sense. But as far as any friends or some of the wrestlers that I stay in contact with, it’s just fun for everybody [laughs]. I love all the hoopla, really. They’re all like, “Go, Chyna.” I was determined to do this. I leave all prejudice at the door as to what people are going to think or what they’re going to say. The experience was tremendous and it made me happy. Is it something that I’m proud of? Yes, I’m proud of it. Like I said, it’s my movie. I worked with the best and it was a great experience. At the end of the day, people don’t live your life and you have to do what makes you happy, and the only ones that can judge you are yourself and God.
I read a quote from you recently in which you said that doing this movie potentially cost you a contract with TNA. Can you elaborate on that?
Well, I haven’t actually really spoken with them since I did a television spot and the pay-per-view, but it was never a contract on the line. They asked me to participate in the angle of what they were doing and I thought it would be fun. I went and I talked with them, and it was wonderful to see some old friends. I was elated, and so I did it. We hadn’t really talked about a deal. I just didn’t think that was something that I really wanted to get back into full force. They’d have to make me a deal that I simply couldn’t say no to, because I fought [to own the name Chyna] for years. I spent a lot of time and a lot of money to take control of myself – which is another reason why this movie is special to me. I own me, and nobody tries to take my name. I like my freedom. For somebody to take that from me after all these years, it would have to be something so incredible – which I feel that I’m worth – and that didn’t seem to be the case with TNA. But – and I don’t know where they’re coming from because I haven’t spoken to them directly – to me, [the movie] is material on a silver platter. There’s tons of stuff you could do with this for story line or exposure or whatever. My curriculum vitae is well-rounded [laughs]. It’s never stopped me from anything else and if it does, too bad. Life is short and I’m going to live it.
You mentioned that you saw some old friends when you did the angle in TNA, but I’m sure there were a lot of people there who had never met you before. How were you treated backstage?
Wonderfully. They have a fantastic atmosphere. I really enjoyed it. I had butterflies in my tummy just seeing everybody. It had been a long time. I had a smile from ear to ear the whole time. I really didn’t know any of the girls but they were all really excited that I was there and it was nice.
The crowd in Orlando at the pay-per-view was really hot for you. Did it surprise you to get that kind of reaction? Were you worried that perhaps people wouldn’t remember you?
Oh God no, I wasn’t worried about that, because don’t forget that I was part of the business when we were doing 500 chairs in a high school arena and then it became this billion dollar business. I was on Wall Street when they rang the bell, you know? Before that I think it was like, if you’re a wrestler, you’re a wrestler – period. And then the business grew, and I definitely started branching out because I want to do everything I can. I think when you have that opportunity you seize it. So wrestling fans at first when people started doing that were like, “Oh, you’re bigger than the business” or “you think you’re Hollywood.” Once everybody started doing other things like TV and movies, and I did Playboy and wrote a book, it was great and the fans were really supportive. And now it’s obviously a lot more common that people are in and out of the business, and the fans are always there no matter what you do. If you’re not in wrestling anymore and you’re doing something else, they’re going to support you. It’s amazing to know that those fans are still always there.
Do you keep up with wrestling at all these days?
Not really, to be honest. I certainly flip through – I have to turn it on the days that it’s on, but, like, I’ll watch Monday Night Raw with “The Bachelorette” [laughs]. When I was in WWE, I was in such a great place. Professionally, it was one of the best times of my life and I loved my work. When the carpet was pulled from underneath me, I had a lot of years to heal from that. It took me a long time, which I think most people have seen in the public eye. I kept trying, but it was very difficult and I had some really difficult times. Now I really feel like I’ve come out of that over the past couple years. It’s taken tons of work and healing, but I feel great now, I really do. In going to TNA, whatever happens in the future or not, it was a sense of closure in the sense that after all this time, I could go back and hug all my friends and pass that bridge. Now onto whatever comes my way, and I’m jumping in with both feet.
So what is next for you? What else do you have going on?
Well, I’ve started doing live appearances, which I’m doing because a lot of them are around the world. I’m going to Japan; I’m going to Mexico. And I’m doing the typical conventions, which are a lot of fun for me because I hadn’t been doing anything like that for a long time, and the last time I did a convention [last month in New Jersey] the fans were lined up and wrapped around the building and it was really exciting for me. Since the movie has been released, it’s been doing really, really well, so I talked to [Vivid Entertainment founder] Steven Hirsch [Tuesday], and they want to talk to me about a contract with Vivid. I didn’t really expect this, but I’m definitely going to talk with them about it.
Photo courtesy of Vivid Entertainment