PhotoCred: Awakening Fighters / Last Word on Sport

Becky Levi recalls backstage encounter with Chyna in old WWF days

Becky Levi is truly one of the godmothers of MMA.

Training aside likes of UFC Hall of Famers Dan Severn and Don Frye during her heyday, Levi saw it all in the late ’90s. While MMA was still finding its footing as a sport, Severn taught and performed in professional wrestling outside his MMA career to stay. With Levi tagging along, it led to some unique experiences.

“Everybody was really nice,” Levi told MyMMANews of the time she got to go backstage at a WWF event. “I actually met [Dwayne] The Rock [Johnson] and some other guys. They were trying to get me to beat up Chyna. They said, ‘We don’t like her, why don’t you do your shooter thing on her.’ I was like, ‘Uh, I don’t think that’s a good idea.'”

Joan “Chyna” Laurer, like Levi in MMA, was a pioneer for women in professional wrestling. Displaying that there was more to the women than just being a “pretty face,” Chyna broke barriers in several ways including having matches with the men.

However, that didn’t make her the most friendly person to be around, according to Levi.

“There was a locker room for the women and the men,” she reflected. “I went in the locker room to use the restroom and they were in there putting their makeup on and stuff. I walked in there and Chyna looked at me and said, ‘You can’t be in here.’ I looked her dead in the eye and I go, ‘What?’ She said, ‘You can’t be in here.’ I go, ‘Oh, okay.’ Went to the restroom, came out. The blonde [Terri Runnels] – her eyes were all super wide. Then I came out and I said to the guys I had already talked with, ‘What’s up with that Chyna chick, man? She told me I couldn’t be in the locker room.’ They just go, ‘Oh, yeah you should have smashed her!’ and all this stuff.

“Dan was getting ready to go out and I was standing there behind the curtain and she came up and stood next to me. She says, ‘Hey, I’m really sorry about that.’ I pulled the asshole basically – she was standing right next to my righthand side. I turned and I looked at her and I turned my head back straight and I never said a word to her. The guys were just dying and being all like, ‘We want you to smash her, man! We can’t stand her!’ So that was my meeting with Chyna.

“I was trying to be a badass or something which was funny because that’s not me,” Levi finished with a laugh.

Standing at 6-foot-1 with a second-degree black belt in Judo, Levi went 7-1 in her MMA career from 1996 to 2000. That’s what is on record anyway, as Levi notes she did compete again following her loss to Marloes Coenen in the ReMix World Cup.

In professional wrestling terms, being a “shooter” describes a wrestler who had a legitimate martial arts background. Despite Levi being exactly that, her lone appearance in the wrestling ring, following persuasion from Severn, was short-lived.

“I did one time and I would never do It again, I hated it,” Levi said. “I absolutely hated it. He taught pro wrestling too, right? So he wanted me to learn some of the stuff too because he figured I could go on one of those shows.

“I did it one time and I said I’d never do it again. The funny part was that they promoted me as what they call a ‘shooter’ in the pro wrestling world. I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the worst thing ever.'”

author avatar
Drake Riggs
Drake is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women's fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, WhatCulture, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL's Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.