All Research

Fighting with My Family: History vs. Hollywood

Florence Pugh
Born: January 3, 1996
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Saraya Knight (aka Paige)
Born: August 17, 1992
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK
Jack Lowden
Born: June 2, 1990
Chelmsford, Essex, England, UK
Zak Knight (aka Zak Zodiac)
Born: May 29, 1990
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK
Nick Frost
Born: March 28, 1972
Hornchurch, Essex, England, UK
Ricky Knight (aka Rowdy Ricky Knight)
Born: December 24, 1953
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK
Lena Headey
Born: October 3, 1973
Hamilton, Bermuda
Julia Knight (aka Sweet Saraya)
Born: October 19, 1971
Birthplace: Penzance, Cornwall, England, UK
Dwayne Johnson
Born: May 2, 1972
Hayward, California, USA
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
Born: May 2, 1972
Birthplace: Hayward, California, USA

Questioning the Story:

Did Paige's family really run their own wrestling organization?

Yes. The Fighting with My Family true story confirms that her family ran the World Association of Wrestling (headed by her father 'Rowdy' Ricky Knight) and had become the biggest names in UK professional wrestling. Paige was the star attraction, then wrestling under the name Britani Knight. Her brother Zak was 6'4" and was known as Zak Zodiac. Zak's half-brother, Roy, wrestled under the name the Zebra Kid. The matriarch of the family, Julia Knight, stepped into the ring as Sweet Saraya. Wrestling was the family's passion and its only source of income.

The Knight family (from left to right): Brothers Roy (aka Zebra Kid) and Zak (aka Zak Zodiac), father Ricky, mother Julia, and daughter Saraya (aka Paige). Source: Channel 4

Had Paige's father really been involved in gangs and spent time in prison?

Yes. A fact-check of Fighting with My Family reveals that Paige's father, Ricky Knight, had been involved in gangs and served time as a young man. "I'd done eight years in prison before I was 25," said father Ricky Knight. "Mainly [for] violence." He said that he had been at a crossroads in his life and he could have gone away for a very long time. He credits meeting his wife and wrestling as giving his life purpose and steering him in a better direction. -The Wrestlers Documentary

Did the Knight family really groom both Paige and her brother Zak to become WWE wrestling superstars?

Yes. "I'd like my kids to go to the very top," father Ricky Knight said in the 2012 documentary about his family. "That's what I started the wrestling dynasty for. ... Makin' it big is in America at the moment. That's where the money is. That's where the stardom is. That's where they get to be known. Best case is they actually both get there and be big stars."

Paige (left) during her days before the WWE when she wrestled under the name Britani Knight. Actress Florence Pugh (right) in the movie.

When did Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson first become aware of Paige?

In real life, The Rock first became aware of Paige (born Saraya-Jade Bevis) in 2012. "While shooting Fast & Furious 6 in London, I was up at 3am (too much caffeine) and stumbled upon a documentary on a UK station about a local wrestling family and their daughter's unlikely journey into the global spotlight," The Rock said via Twitter in 2017. "That daughter, is current WWE Women's Superstar, Paige. The family element I saw in the doc is what grabbed my attention. That no matter how crazy life gets, no matter how dysfunctional our families can sometimes be and especially regardless of how much we fight - we're always there for each other when it counts. That's what families do." The documentary that The Rock watched is the 2012 Channel 4 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family.

The Rock, actress Florence Pugh, and Paige at a Q&A for Fighting with My Family at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Were both Saraya (Paige) and her brother invited to attend tryouts for WWE?

Yes. A WWE talent scout invited Saraya and Zak to attend WWE trials in Great Britain. In April 2011, they tried out before a SmackDown taping at The O2 arena in London. Saraya made the cut but Zak didn't. She was sent to the WWE's then-farm system, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), which was rebranded as NXT the following year. She first wrestled for FCW under the ring name Saraya, but her wrestling name was changed to Paige before she made her television debut in February 2012.

Left: Saraya Knight (aka Paige) and her brother Zak Knight (aka Zak Zodiac). Right: Actors Jack Lowden and Florence Pugh portray the siblings in the movie.

Did Paige's brother Zak really teach a blind teenage boy how to wrestle?

Yes. Impressively, Zak did come up with a method to teach a blind kid how to wrestle. He taught the boy how to react using only touch and sound. That boy went on to become a professional wrestler.

Is Vince Vaughn's character, NXT head coach Hutch Morgan, based on a real person?

No. The Fighting with My Family true story reveals that Vince Vaughn's character is fictional. Director Stephen Merchant said that the character is a combination of the four or five different WWE trainers that Paige had. In the movie, Vaughn portrays a pro-wrestling veteran named Hutch Morgan, who is the head coach/trainer of the next generation ("NXT") of WWE stars. Initially, NXT was created in 2010 to be the WWE's farm system for its main brands, Raw and SmackDown. Though in later years, it evolved into its own brand. -The Sports Daily

Vince Vaughn portrays fictional WWE recruiter/coach Hutch Morgan in Fighting with My Family.

Did Paige's brother Zak not make the cut when he tried out a second time for WWE?

Yes. Though he had been wrestling since he was six to hopefully one day become a WWE Superstar, Zak did not make it to the WWE. At the first tryout that he attended with his sister, he was told that he needed to put on more muscle before trying out again. Like Jack Lowden's character in the Fighting with My Family movie, the real Zak took getting cut hard. He struggled with feelings of jealousy and envy, doing his best to hide his emotions from his sister. This is accurately conveyed in the movie. Unlike Zak, who always had a deep passion for wrestling, Paige initially wasn't very interested (she didn't start wrestling until age 13), which made it tougher to watch her succeed. In real life, Zak tried to bulk up but a knee injury delayed him for a year from trying out again.

At his second WWE tryout, he got further and was given the opportunity to wrestle in a televised WWE SmackDown match during which he was pummeled by WWE star Big Show. He believed that the tryout and match went as well as they could have, but again he was told that he didn't have enough muscle. Others have cited his diet being an issue as well. He's shown drinking beer in the Knight family documentary at a time when he was supposed to be bulking up. -The Wrestlers Documentary

The real Zak Knight (left) and Jack Lowden (right) as Zak in the Fighting with My Family movie.

Did Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson scream at Paige backstage?

No. "It's 97% of my life," said the real Paige at the Sundance Film Festival. "The only thing that was a little bit inaccurate is when The Rock was screaming at me backstage. The rest of it is completely accurate."

Was Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson really the one who told Paige that she would be debuting on WWE's main roster?

Yes. At Wrestlemania in 2014, The Rock told Paige that she would be debuting on WWE's main roster the following day and that she was going to be the Divas Champion. She immediately broke down in tears of joy. During that same conversation, he informed her a movie was going to be made about her family. Paige had first signed a contract with the WWE in 2011 but had only wrestled within its developmental systems. She was 21 when she wrestled in her debut WWE match in April of 2014. -Norwich Evening News

At Wrestlemania 30, The Rock broke the news to Paige that she would be making her debut on the WWE's main roster the following day.

Does the real Paige feel that the movie is accurate?

"They nailed it. They really truly nailed it," Paige said during an IMDb interview conducted by Kevin Smith. "And that's not just being biased. They did amazing, every single one of them. Even my dad was super happy." The real Paige called the film "incredible" when she appeared on Lilian Garcia's podcast. She said that she "cried her eyes out" after watching it for the first time. "It's not just a wrestling story, it's very versatile, it's very open, it's incredible and I couldn't have asked for a better cast." She explained that Fighting with My Family was never supposed to be a big movie. "This was going to be an indie film, it wasn't going to be huge, and it's now an international sensation, it's turned into this global thing."

The real Paige (left) says that the film completely captured her family. Actress Florence Pugh (right) portrays Paige in the Fighting with My Family movie.

Did actress Florence Pugh use a stunt double for the wrestling scenes?

Director Stephen Merchant encouraged the stars to perform as many of the wrestling maneuvers as they could. Florence was coached by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and others. For the more complicated and dangerous in-ring maneuvers, professional wrestler Tessa Blanchard stepped in as Florence's stunt double.

Does Paige have a cameo in Fighting with My Family?

No, but she says that members of her family did get to be extras in the movie. "[The filmmakers] all started coming over to England to film and [my family members] all have extra parts in it,” she said (Lilian Garcia Podcast). Paige's brother Zak has a cameo as a drug dealer.

How successful did Paige become as a WWE wrestler?

After debuting on the WWE's main roster in April 2014, Paige became a bonafide WWE Superstar with a prominent storyline. She won the Divas Championship twice and went on to become the general manager of the SmackDown brand following her retirement from in-ring competition in April 2018 due to a neck injury.

A 21-year-old Paige (left) becomes the Divas Champion at Wrestlemania 30 in 2014. Florence Pugh's character (right) dreams of being a WWE Champion in the movie.

The Knight Family Documentary & Paige Interviews

Go deeper into the true story behind Fighting with My Family by watching the documentary and interviews below.