In the ‘boys club” known as professional wrestling the women breaking the barriers and becoming true stars have been a constant struggle since the early days of the sport. Back before the “revolution” and before wrestling had “attitude” the women that dare choose professional wrestling as a career were to say the least rare. It was in 1985, in the deepest part of the south, that a woman would come along to not only brave the discrimination of her gender but her race as well. Linda Newton, better known by her wrestling name “Dark Journey” made her debut in the racially charged south for mid-south championship wrestling as an African American valet for the red neck “good ol’ boy” Dick Slater and just by the color of her skin would cause instant and legitimate heat amongst the fans.
In this exclusive interview Dark Journey sits down with the RF video cameras for this intimate and revealing look into what it was like to be thrust into a world of which she had no experience and to perform in front of crowds who instantly disliked her by her mere presence. She holds nothing back as she describes her life as a adult dancer and explains her first meeting with Dick Slater that would eventually lead to her role in the mid-south territory. She tells of taking her first bump, a DDT from Jake the snake Roberts, and the nervousness that accompanied the move. She reminisces about her time with The Missing Link, as well as what it was like working with other valets at the time. She tells an interesting tale of her meetings & interviews with the world wrestling federation and why a run “up north” never came to pass. Things got intense under the bright lights as we probed into some of the most notorious rumors that have circled her career and to our shock and amazement she held nothing back! She addresses head on accusations made by Missy Hyatt in her book about her rumored role in the divorce of Bill Watts. Emotions ran high inside the RF video studios as she addressed these accusations for the first time ever in a public forum. We did not dial down the intensity as she next addressed the infamous incident of the real life altercation between Dick Slater and Sting. Did a true to life brawl break out in the locker room? Where punches landed? What caused the brawl? Did stings head end up in a toilet bowl? Dark Journey answers all the questions. She describes what it was like making a move to the NWA in 1987 and being paired with the four horseman but more specifically Tully Blanchard. She recounts how Tully was less than receptive to her presence and how she would be subjected to long bouts of “the silent treatment” in her days in the NWA. Her time in the NWA would eventually run out and this would lead to her departure from the business. She describes candidly on the adjustments and difficulties of making the transition from the spotlight and hectic pace of the pro wrestling world to real life.
Following the interview, in a segment never before attempted by RF video, we caught up with Dark Journey the night after the interview to do a recap and ask her thoughts on delivering her first ever shoot interview. It was then when Dark Journey opened up about her current life, her goals and interests in 2015, and even takes up back to reminisce on past love interests she had during her time in the wrestling business. It was a revealing and all be it unexpected bonus that we feel everyone will enjoy. Regardless of her place in history it is hard to deny the groundbreaking role she played in the history of females in sports entertainment. The courage it takes to subject yourself to the ridicule she must have endured as a minority female in professional wrestling in the south of the mid-eighties is cause for her to be revered in the annals of wrestling history forever. She took the steps few may have been brave enough to try and it was a true honor to have her before our cameras. This is your chance to walk in her shoes and to experience her time in the business through her eyes. For every young girl who decides to lace up her boots for the first time let her not forget for each of the brightest lights it all began with a dark journey.
What are your first memories of the wrestling business?
Were you a fan before you got into the business?
What was your life like before the business?
The rumor is you met Dick Slater in a strip club – do you remember the meeting? How long did you know him before the idea of bringing you into the business was suggested?
Were you nervous about some guy in a strip club trying to offer you a job?
What made you finally decide to try it?
How much did you train before making your debut?
Where did the Dark Journey name come from?
What are your first memories of Bill Watts?
How different or similar is pro wrestling to the stripping world since its using your body and creating a fantasy?
Do you think you were treated differently from other women in the business because you were a dancer?
You started out as Slater’s valet. What are your first memories of being out in front of the fans?
What was the most shocking thing about the business at the time?
Were the boys open with you in the back or did they try to stay in character since you were new to the business?
Mid-South used the fact that you were a black woman being the valet of a white wrestler to get heat from the fans. Did you ever worry about your safety at the time?
Do you think it was crossing a line back then?
Did you ever feel discriminated against in the business because you were a black woman?
Is it true the Ku Klux Klan contacted Mid-South for using you? How did you feel when you heard about this?
Do you think you opened the doors for minority women in the business?
Is it true fans were stalking you and Slater at the time?
Did any fans ever cross the lines or try to touch you?
How hard was the travel for the territory?
What was the hardest thing about the business for you to learn?
Is it true Slater was overprotective of you?
He’s had some rough times in recent years – what are your thoughts on how his life was progressed?
Memories of working with Iceman Parsons?
Memories of working with Buzz Sawyer?
Memories of working with Jake Roberts? Were you worried about taking the DDT?
Memories of Missy Hyatt at the time?
Memories of Sting?
There’s a famous story that Slater beat up Sting and dunked his head in a toilet because he crossed a line with you – what are your memories of that incident?
How did the promotion change when Watts changed it to the UWF?
Memories of working with The Missing Link?
Memories of Eddie Gilbert?
Memories of Terry Taylor?
Memories of Chris Adams?
Were you surprised when Watts sold the promotion to Jim Crockett?
When did you first learn of the sale?
There have been rumors and innuendo for decades that Watts’ marriage ended because of an affair between you and he – do you care to address them on record?
Were you aware Missy Hyatt has told that story publicly?
How did the NWA locker room differ from the Mid-South/UWF locker room?
You replaced Baby Doll as Tully Blanchard’s valet – did she give you any advice?
Thoughts on Flair, Arn. Tully, Ole?
Did you travel a lot with the Horsemen? Any favorite stories?
What was Dusty like as a booker?
How do you compare him to Bill Watts?
Who was your favorite Horseman to work with?
Memories of Magnum TA?
Rock N’ Roll Express?
Jim Cornette and Midnight Express?
Were the fans different in NWA than UWF?
What was your relationship like with Jim Crockett?
WWF reached out to you in the mid 1980s. Were you surprised when they contacted you?
What was your meeting with Vince McMahon like?
They decided not to hire you. Did you ever get a clear reason as to why?
Were Jim Crockett or Dusty Rhodes mad about you taking the meeting?
Is it true Crockett threatened you for taking the meeting?
How did the NWA locker room react to you interviewing with WWF?
What led to the NWA letting you go?
Were you surprised?
Why did you not continue to pursue pro wrestling?
What were your favorite and least favorite things about being in the business?
Who was your favorite person in the business?
Did you try to keep in contact with anyone when you left the business?
How do you feel about what it’s like today?
How do you compare what Divas do today to what you did in the 80s?
Whats the hardest thing about being a woman in the wrestling business?
What are you up to today?
Were you surprised fans were so interested in where you disappeared to?
You returned to the business at WrestleReunion in LA a few years ago – were you nervous about stepping in front of the fans again?
What does the wrestling era of your life mean to you?
What do you think your legacy in the business is?
Any final messages for your fans?