top of page

Our “Sweet Sapphire”: Juanita Wright

Wrestling’s “Sweet Sapphire,” Juanita Wright, was both a valet and a beauty. She was well known as Dusty Rhodes’ valet from 1989 to 1990 in the WWF.

The year was 1989, and she made her television debut as Dusty Rhodes’ fan on the Saturday Night program Main Event. The black-and-yellow uniforms became their signature after that appearance. Wright and Rhodes’ rivalry came to an end at Wrestlemania VI when they were defeated by the Macho King and Queen Sherri.

This rivalry continued after that match, culminating in a tag team battle between Rhodes and Wright, in which Rhodes and Wright won. As a result, Sapphire started getting frequent presents from an unknown admirer. Due to Sapphire’s absence from SummerSlam, Sherri was awarded the match by forfeit instead of their scheduled match. When Dusty’s “purchase” of Sapphire was revealed to be Ted DiBiase’s Million Dollar Man, Rhodes was left to fight Savage on his own in that episode. It took Savage just a few seconds to beat Rhodes after his ultimate treachery, in which he was assaulted with a purse that belonged to Sapphire behind the referee’s back.

A series of appearances for DiBiase after the SummerSlam debacle was made by Sapphire. After a short time, Wright has dropped off WWF television. Soon, an explanation was presented, in which the presents had been returned in some form. It seems that Wright’s departure from the corporation was a direct result of Rhodes’s breakup with Wright.

It’s not known much about Juanita Wright’s private life. We do know that she had two children, Wanda and Ricco, but not much more. In University City, Missouri, she reportedly worked at GrandPa Pidgeon’s and told tales about her wrestling days there.

Juanita was a wrestling referee in Missouri before the WWF, making her the state’s first female and black female referee, respectively. At the age of 42, she became the first person from Missouri to participate in a Men’s Battle Royale bout, making her the oldest competitor in the competition. Wrestling fans knew her as Princess Dark Cloud, and she was famous for her match with a bear that she dubbed “The Battle of the Bears.”

A heart attack claimed the life of Juanita Wright on September 10th, 1996 in St. Louis, Missouri. Juanita Wright was a pioneer and a silent power in women’s wrestling. Despite the fact that she is often forgotten, Juanita’s contribution to women’s wrestling cannot be overstated.


bottom of page