Advance Review: “The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family” Featuring WWE’s Paige

The Wrestlers: Fighting With My Family
Tonight, 10pm on Channel 4 (UK)

Britain’s Knight dynasty take center stage in a new documentary airing on Channel 4 tonight (July 18) in the UK.

Focusing on the clan in a transitional time in their lives as young prodigy, Saraya-Jade aka WWE’s Paige (formerly Britani Knight), and brother Zac, are on the radar of the biggest wrestling company in the world, WWE, Fighting With My Family chronicles he lead-up to Saraya-Jade’s departure for the US to compete for WWE.

From her tryout, to getting signed by WWE, and eventually moving to Florida, Saraya-Jade is a key focal point. The youngest of the Knight clan — the princess, as her mother Julia (Saraya Knight) admits — Saraya-Jade’s departure from the household is bound to leave a hole. The documentary conveys the different emotions felt by her family members as she prepares to start her new career; her mother, like most, protective; her father seemingly wanting to live vicariously through her; and her brother, Zac, feeling left out and a tad jealous as he is unable to join her in WWE.

The documentary paints a larger-than-life picture of the Knights: a family of five, all wrestlers, with wild personalities. It’s easy to see why Channel 4 would be interested in the family, but there’s always a danger of being portrayed in a negatively stereotypical way as we have seen from the likes of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, The Only Way is Essex and more. Indeed, Fighting With My Family, which makes a point to note that the family live in council housing, has its lewd and crude moments including a questionable scene featuring the Knight matriarch spraying (what I believe is) deodorant to the crotch. The documentary doesn’t help transform the often lowbrow perception the general public may have of wrestlers.

Fighting With My Family‘s most honest moment comes at an airport send-off for Saraya-Jade as she leaves for Florida. Her mother, Julia — who we most associate with the tough, brutish character portrayed in SHIMMER — lets her guard down in a flood of tears. This highly emotional scene is perhaps the most empathetic of the documentary.

Of the cast of characters, Julia certainly comes across as a doting mother fiercely protective of her cubs; an endearing side to the wrestler. More endearing, perhaps, is young Zac, whose story of struggle trying to get into WWE provides a unique parallel to Saraya-Jade’s rise to fame. Meanwhile, the FCW Diva is perhaps the most difficult to work out; ready to leave behind the UK for the “glitz and glamor”, she says, the youngest of the clan also seems reluctant, speaking of WWE “owning you” and not wanting to let her business-minded father down. Couple this with her mother Julia referring to her as a ‘product’ and her father thinking of all of the shows that they can sell out upon her return, there is more to Saraya-Jade’s psyche that could’ve been explored, it seems.

All in all, though interesting to get a behind the scenes look at Saraya-Jade’s signing with WWE, and endearing to see Zac’s story, the documentary feels self-serving and lacks poignancy compared to other recent wrestling documentaries, such as Betty M. Park’s Mamachas del Ring. While sympathetic to a family whose daughter has moved continents, the hardship doesn’t seem as resonant as the personal conflict and anguish in the life of Mamachas‘ lead character, Carmen Rosa. Additionally, the documentary lacks the wider perspective of a Mamachas, which shed a light on social injustice, or the recent GLOW documentary, which contrasted the glitz and glamor of the ’80s series by showing the toll it has taken on the performers today, such as the unforgettable image of a bedridden Mt. Fiji. Perhaps better served as a reality show pilot featuring outrageous characters rather than a thought-provoking documentary, Fighting With My Family often feels misguided, but if you’re a wrestling fan, it is an interesting look behind the curtain, as it were.

Editor at Large - Read Profile
  • http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=-3&id=100000716103622#/Only.the.best.get.through?ref=profi OJ Von Erich

    I have too much love for ‘Britani Knight’ & ‘Sweet Saraya Knight’ having met them both before and having the opportunity to have some really good conversations with them… I cannot praise Saraya Jades talent enough and she really deserves every push and success she receives!

    Although I shall never forget watching them all on an old television show called Guilty hosted by Carol Malone, in which Saraya Jade (Britani/Paige) claimed that she didn’t want to follow in her family’s footsteps and that she wanted to live a “normal” life LOL! Still cracks me up when I think back.

    Bless the powers that be that changed her mind… Paige for Diva’s Champion!!!

  • wl75

    I heard that the Knights themselves weren’t pleased with about half the original cut, but loved the other half…

  • http://aksanahq.com Aksana

    It’s about to start!!

  • Misaki Ohata Fan

    First commercial break, the first quarter was pretty good. Britani and her brother are heading in to their tryout but it is to secretive to film. It’s funny because I got to Great Yarmouth (where the family do their WAW shows) every year and I always see it advertised but have never been due to the lack of interest my family have.

    • Misaki Ohata Fan

      She just got her contract through the post and I swear it was like 500 pages long!!!

    • Misaki Ohata Fan

      She’s just boarding the plane to Florida and her, her mum and dad are all in tears.

    • Misaki Ohata Fan

      She’s just boarding the plane to Florida and her, her mum and dad are all in tears. Her sister whitened her teeth for her and basically said ‘Don’t let them turn you into a Barbie Doll with breast implants’!

    • Misaki Ohata Fan

      WWE just gave her the new name ‘Paige’ and gimmick details:

      The mysterious raven haired lady, computer nerd, badass.

      She is now crying because she feels lonely and says that she is feeling homesick but doesn’t want to let her dad down. She’s ‘gonna stick it out’.

    • Misaki Ohata Fan

      Britani said:
      ‘Over here it is different to the UK. You have to care about what you look like. I want to change that, I want to be all about wrestling. I want to take it back to the Attitude Era’.

      Her family are watching her FCW debut match. Audrey Marie vs Paige vs Raquel Diaz.

    • Misaki Ohata Fan

      Her two brothers will be trying out as a tag team for WWE.

      Her brother was rejected twice for not being built enough.

      • http://aksanahq.com Aksana

        Thanks for the running commentary haha. The programme was very intriguing. I’ve never payed much attention to Britani, nor her family. However I think I’ve found a new love for each member of the family haha.

        • Misaki Ohata Fan

          I watched a few of her Shimmer matches but nothing else. I can’t believe how many times there has been when I could have seen her but this was before I really payed attention to the family.

  • Matthew

    Brilliant documentary – quite emotional actually – I think this has put wrestling in a different light to people here in the UK – realising that there is a lot more that goes on behind the curtains and away from the ring.
    Paige is absolutely stunning and beautiful – and I never realised her brother Zack was in that handicap match in Liverpool last November against Big Show – I watched that match live and I have to say, he was very impressive also.

    Great documentary and I would love to see them re-visit the Knight family in the future.