TAFKA CHYNA ON "OFF THE RECORD"
Must be a slow week for sports. That or sweeps. Lansberg often seems to have the wrestlers on at this time of year for some reason. ;-)
Tonight, is there bad blood between Joanie Laurer and the WWF, and with Stephanie? The answer to both is yes. We'll find out more about that in this interview!
First thing I should point out to people who haven't seen Joanie for a long time is she's a blonde now. She actually doesn't look bad with the new hair color at all.
Today we're meeting someone we've never met before, but someone we've known a long time - Joanie Laurer who used to be Chyna.
Lansberg starts with asking what happened on her way out? Her contract was up for renewal and she was offered a new one about a year ago, before WCW was purchased. They came to her with a contract that she felt was unacceptable since she was at the top of her game and had enormous popularity. She had a lot of opportunity coming her way on an outside level which she couldn't take advantage of as a member of the WWF.
What was Vince's motivation? He's heard she wanted $800,000 and he offered $225,000. She says she didn't even ask for an amount that large. She felt his offer was disgustingly low because she feels she was top talent. She worked like she was top talent and was included in every way like top talent except financially. She wanted to work for something fair - and felt what she asked for was fair.
Vince wanted her to wrestle women while she wanted to wrestle men. Did that figure in? She made more money doing one Playboy than she had in her previous 5 years as a wrestler. She felt her character was going backwards, since she had wrestled men as a woman killer. When she became women's champion who was left for her to wrestle?
Lansberg wonders if perhaps it was dictated that way by an audience who doesn't want to see a woman succeed in defeating men? For men it's perhaps a death knell to his career to lose to her? In her opinion, the average woman would hurt a guy like that. However, she does not feel she's an average woman. No male at that point didn't want to wrestle her. Most of the guys did indeed want to work with her. How was she supposed to step back from the guys to women? She felt that the fans wanted to see her kick the crap out of men.
There's no true job description as a wrestler. The unwritten rule is that wrestlers get eachother over. Was it her job to get other women over? She does not believe it was possible. She's only as good as the people she works with, and she's not demeaning other women, but she was going from one extreme to the other.
Vince wanted Chyna to get Lita over, and Joanie refused? Oh lord know, she gave Lita a very fair chance and put her over like a million bucks. She barely won the match. If asked, she would have dropped the belt to her. If Vince told her to go out and pick her nose she would have done it, but instead he told her she wasn't going to be needed anymore.
We'll be talking about romance when Off The Record returns from commercial break.
There are storylines and storylines based on life. In her life she was involved with HHH on a romantic level for 5 years. His storyline with Stephanie is based on a real relationship. Did his relationship with Stephanie speed up her WWF departure? Officially, Joanie feels she has to say no but she doesn't think she'll ever know the answer to that. She did not know they were together. When she found out she was devastated. Nobody likes to be cheated on, ESPECIALLY when it's the bosses daughter. She confronted it as well as she could, but shortly after that they weren't going to need her anymore. Does she think it had some influence? Absolutely. She's not sure she could have gotten along with them everyday. However, she battled it and still went out and performed to the best of her ability?
What does she think of Hunter now? She wishes it had happened differently. She wishes Stephanie would have taken a different stance. Stephanie never talked to her about the triangle. If there is a positive light? Her and Paul were going in another direction. She wanted to do movies and he wants wrestling. If she can see him ending up with anyone it's Steph. She's happy they never got married and had kids. She's disappointed but it hasn't changed her view on the biz or any other aspect of the WWF?
Is her bitterness compounded by the fact she helped get HHH over as a big star? She's not bitter at all, because it was all personal. Professionally, he earned everything he got. He loves the biz and earned it. She earned it too, because she worked hard and grew as well.
Can couples work in the WWF? History dictates no. Joanie asks if it's any different from any other biz. Michael believes it is, seeing as how people are tossed in storylines with eachother in a very sexual environment and are torn apart, etc. She says she could have handled it better if it were any other than Steph. They were really good for eachother when they were together. Guys like HHH are her type of guy.
What is her take on Stephanie? Her character and in real life. She feels put on the spot with that question. She hasn't found her true identity yet, she's a little immature with her actions, and she's under a lot of pressure with her position. It's not her position to judge. You have to go willingly, and she doesn't blame Stephanie for what happened, she blames Paul.
We head off to commercial.
Joanie joined the peace corps and was assigned to Costa Rica to teach literacy there.
The name that comes to mind about women leaving the WWF has to be Sable. How is she going to be different from Sable? She believes it's natural to compare her to Sable because she too did some acting and Playboy. However, the biz was so different when she left. The business has grown a lot since then and she's done a lot more. She did more than Sable did and is in a different league.
Lansberg believes she was hurt most by the WCW purchase, because she had no place to negotiate when WCW was gone. She agrees that when there's a monopoly not a whole lot of negotiating can take place. She wants to grow professionally, and she would be a fool if she didn't take advantage of everything that comes her way.
What does she say to the women left in the federation? She's worked her buns off to get where she is, and nobody gives you anything. She's working very hard. People think just because she's Chyna and she can do whatever she wants. Work as hard as you can. Develop lots of friendships and relationships. The bubble will burst someday.
Can they trust Vince? Yes, on a business level. You're not there to be his friend, you're there to get fans in the seats.
Did she make the mistake of thinking he'd be loyal? No, she knew better. She's seen the way others have been treated. Others get older and you never know when you're going to break down, and when that happens you're done.
Michael respects the fact that there was a pause before everything she said, and knows that everything came from the heart despite it's been broken. She loved the people she worked with, and it was a family atmosphere. She wants them to flourish and do well.
What is she up to? She's in a play called My Darling Judith which was offered to her from a friend of hers. She originally turned it down but loved the script and agreed to do it. They can find out more at http://www.bodybyjoanie.com or http://www.birdcageproductions.com.
What about Playboy? She'll be on newsstands on December 1st for the January edition. She's doing this one on her own two feet, and is proud because this one is Joanie, not Chyna.
Compare Hugh Heffner to Vince McMahon. They're two different people. Heff is business as well. They both gave her opportunity.
We're out of time. Michael thanks Joanie and they roll credits.