Wrestling fans are aware that Triple H and Chyna had a relationship that spanned almost five years in the late 1990s. They're also aware that Triple H then started dating Stephanie McMahon and they've been married since 2003. But many fans are unaware of the relationship between Chyna and Stephanie and how they worked together amid Triple H breaking up with the former for the latter.
Making things even more complicated was the fact that Stephanie wasn't just an on-screen performer for WWE (and the boss' daughter), but she was also a member of the creative team at this time. What happened to Chyna's character was often dictated by Stephanie and Bruce Prichard described the ladies' relationship before Triple H broke up with Chyna.
"It was great, and here's the other thing that again people always get astounded at. On the writing team the biggest proponent and biggest cheerleader for Chyna in the room at all times was Stephanie McMahon," Prichard said on Something to Wrestle. "She was always honest about getting something bigger for Chyna, having more ideas for Chyna, we have to keep her in the top role. This was before anyone knew anything.
"Again, I didn't know how long they were together at that time, nobody knew. We were doing the Playboy thing [in Nov. 2000] and [Stephanie] was like, 'we have to get more ideas for Chyna, we have to get her featured more.' She was her biggest cheerleader."
Chyna was apparently the last to know about the relationship between Triple H and Stephanie, and neither of those two were in a rush to fill her in. Prichard says that because of Chyna's ignorance, the relationship between her and Stephanie didn't really change once Steph started dating Triple H.
"It never did change until Chyna walked out, and I am talking about the weekend before the big meeting with Chyna and Vince McMahon," Prichard revealed. "It didn't change. [Stephanie] was like, 'you gotta make this work. We have to come up with something for her.' It was weird; it never changed."
In a 2011 interview with Wrestling Inc., Chyna discussed Triple H seeing Stephanie while he was dating her. She said after finding out via a love letter from Stephanie to Triple H, she had a brief conversation with Stephanie before meeting with Vince McMahon.
"After I found the letter I called Vince," Chyna told us in 2011. "He said, 'Okay, I'll see you on Monday,' and when I walked into the building it was like the parting of the Red Sea. It was like everybody was against Paulie. Bob Holly was standing around me, Billy was standing around me - it was just crazy. Then I actually was going into the bathroom stall of the ladies room because I couldn't stop crying and Vince was going to talk to me. He said, 'Are you ready to talk Chyna?'
"Then Stephanie stepped up. She took me into the room, we talked, and she goes, 'Well, I love him. He's my man. I'm sorry if you feel that way…' and I shut her up. I said, 'Shut up. Call your dad in here because I'm going to choke you out.' 'If you really feel that way, take control of yourself,' then Vince came in and said, 'Let's do a new contract. I know this is tough for you but it's going to be okay.'"
Shortly after the meeting Chyna received a fax from WWE telling her she was not needed anymore and she departed the company in May 2001.
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.