“Fighting With My Family” is directed Stephen Merchant and is based on the Max Fisher’s 2012 documentary, “The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family”. The film stars Florence Pugh, Jack Lowden, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Vince Vaughn & Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The film depicts the life & career of WWE superstar, Paige, from growing up in England to signing with the WWE’s development program, NXT.
In 2005, a young WWE fan, Zak Knight is watching the pay per view event known as the “King of the Ring” when his younger sister, Saraya, changes the channel. They locked up as wrestlers do but their father interrupts only to show them how to actually lock up and eventually wrestle. Now an 18 year old, Saraya (Pugh) is wrestling alongside Zak (Lowden) in the parents (Frost & Headey) independent wrestling promotion where they also train new wrestlers. After struggling to keep the family business afloat financially, Zak & Saraya agree to a tryout for professional wrestling biggest stage, the WWE. Competing under the names Zak Zodiac & Britani Knight, they meet WWE trainer, Hutch Morgan (Vaughn) at the TV show, WWE Smackdown Live and have tryout for a spot in the developmental brand, NXT. They also meet The Rock (Johnson), one of their childhood idols. After a rigorous tryout, Zak & Saraya are shocked to learn that Saraya has been chosen & not Zak. Despite her plea to bring Zak, Saraya must travel to Orlando alone to begin her journey to being a WWE superstar while Zak, who is sinking in to a deep depression, must live and try to move on knowing his sister is living out his childhood dream.
WWE Studios was known make their own movies and uses the wrestlers as the stars, this was the first time they did biopic about one of their wrestlers. The Rock, John Cena & Dave Batista were all WWE superstar who went on to star in major blockbusters or have their own successful movie careers. Other superstars have just been under the WWE Studios films like Randy Orton, Triple H, The Big Show, Shawn Michaels, The Miz, Becky Lynch, Summer Rae & Sheamus. This film in particular takes a radical new approach in the form of a biopic & totally knocks it out of the park. This was a great film with a simple story line & has great performances from Pugh & Lowden. The underdog story with a small twist really brings the story full circle as the main character must tread further alone without anyone. Vaughn’s performance was also solid as the trainer who understands the struggle. As a fan of WWE, it was an interesting look into the rise of a wrestlers from the independent circuit, to developmental stage and then the main roster. While the film skipped Paige’s run in NXT and straight to her main roster debut, it didn’t take anything away the film as a whole. Current WWE superstar, Zelina Vega plays former Diva’s Champion, AJ Lee, who became one Paige’s first rivals after joining the main roster.
Overall, this film was great new direction for WWE. Rather than the a basic film, they told a story of one their own. Ironically, Paige’s debut came the same year that The Rock returned after being gone for 7 years. Despite the film success, Paige’s WWE career, unfortunately, came to a tragic end in 2017 due a bad neck injury during a match against fellow superstar, Sasha Banks. She still makes appearances to this day & is one the superstars responsible for WWE’s Women’s Revolution which incorporated more female wrestlers rather than using them as models, valets or TV personalities.