WWE continues to be the undisputed leader in professional wrestling. Despite the number of legitimate wrestling companies that now exist independent of the McMahon family, the fact is that WWE is still at the top of the food chain.
The company is so massive and the history surrounding it is so rich that even the stories behind the Superstars are in demand. It’s not just about the characters they portray in the ring, but often it’s their own personal tales that fans find the most fascinating.
This is especially true of former SmackDown General Manager Paige. Paige was the first ever NXT Women’s champion and she was also the youngest Divas champion in WWE history. It’s obvious that the company had a lot of confidence in her abilities. It’s that confidence that helped her become the hottest female Superstar in WWE.
But where did that confidence come from? What did Paige do to convince Vince McMahon’s company that she not only deserved a shot, but that she was capable of handling the pressure that comes with it? All of those questions and more are now being answered in her life story.
Fighting With My Family reveals the history of WWE Superstar Paige and her journey from Norwich, England to the United States. The film stars Florence Pugh in the title role and it’s a perfect bit of casting. Pugh brings toughness and attitude to the role, but she also brings vulnerability and raw emotion. She fully encompasses Paige, not only as a performer but as a person as well.
Of course Paige is not the only focus of the film; it’s also her family that takes center stage. That family just happens to be full of wrestlers, who all worked for the World Alliance of Wrestling, which is the family’s wrestling promotion. Therein lays the most entertaining parts of the movie.
Much of that is thanks to Nick Frost, who portrays Paige’s father, Patrick Bevis, also known as “Rowdy” Ricky Knight. Frost is a riot every time he opens his mouth and his comedic timing is pitch perfect here, just as it is alongside Simon Pegg. Frost’s partner in crime for this project isn’t Pegg, but the chemistry is there all the same.
Lena Headey stars next to Frost as Saraya, Paige’s mother. Headey and Frost work extremely well together and they bring an outlandish, yet believable, tone to the family’s dynamic. It’s because of Ricky and Saraya that Paige fell in love with the pro wrestling business and that love was definitely shared by Paige’s brother Zak.
Jack Lowden portrays Zak and his work in the role is key to establishing the film’s connection to the audience. He’s the one that worked his entire life to become a WWE Superstar and when he doesn’t make the cut, his world comes to a halt. He’s upset, he’s bitter and most importantly, he’s angry at his sister, who did make it to the big time. The two have a very deep bond from the very beginning and when they split, both of their lives change.
The drama between brother and sister is the underlying theme of the film. But at the forefront is Paige’s journey to America and her fight to fit into the world of NXT. Paige’s struggle to make it work is very real and there are many times throughout the movie when it appears that the WWE life is just not for her. But she’s not alone in her journey.
The major voice of both support and caution for Paige, is Vince Vaughn. Vaughn plays Hutch Morgan, the fictional head coach of NXT. Morgan is a pro wrestling veteran himself and spends a lot of time in the film attempting to tear away the layers from Paige, in an effort to reveal the star underneath. It appeared as though Vaughn’s role would be minimal in the beginning. But he does play an important part of the story.
Of course if not for The Rock, this film would likely not have come to be. Rock saw The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family, a British documentary about Paige’s background and he was instantly hooked. Rocky saw many similarities between her home life and his, as he too came from a pro wrestling family.
The Rock decided to pursue the project and bring the documentary to life in a biopic. His production company, Seven Bucks Productions, partnered with WWE Films to produce the movie and Rocky himself also appears in it.
Fighting With My Family is about chasing dreams, facing failure and overcoming adversity. It’s also about the power of family and using that support system to help make your own way in the world. There’s a spirit to the film that goes far beyond pro wrestling, but not so far that fans from both sides won’t find it entertaining.
For pro wrestling fans, this film is an intriguing look behind the scenes. The inner workings of the business are not necessarily on display. But the events that led Paige to WWE, as well as the work she put in to remain there, are indeed a major part of the story. But for moviegoers that are not that familiar with the business, Fighting With My Family delivers just the right amount of action, humor and heart to make everyone stand and cheer.