Being a 24-year fan of professional wrestling, there was no way I wasn’t watching this film. For those who aren’t in the know when it comes to the world of rasslin’, Saraya-Jade Bevis, who is known in WWE by her ring name Paige, was essentially a child prodigy in the industry. Paige was an underground wrestling sensation as a teenager as her family ran a wrestling show and she was featured prominently. In 2011, she received her big break with the WWE at the age of 18. A few years later she became the youngest women’s champion in the company’s history and it looked like the sky was the limit. However, after some major setbacks in her personal life, her wrestling career came to an abrupt end due to a neck injury she suffered that forced her to retire at the age of 25.
Fortunately, Fighting with My Family ends the story at her big championship win. The film is about the rise of the diva who would soon be known as Paige. Growing up in Norwich, England, Paige spends her day wrestling for her parent’s promotion until one day the WWE calls her and her brother for a tryout. Paige nails the tryout but her brother doesn’t. Devastated, she must go to America on her own and carry the legacy of her family while hoping her family doesn’t fall apart in her absence.
If you are a fan of wrestling and know Paige’s story then you will definitely enjoy this film. Surprisingly, if you don’t know her story, you will still find a heartwarming and emotional tale to be told here. For a sports movie, the film is pretty by the numbers, you have your origin story, the ups, the downs, and then the big moment as the main character rides into the sunset, nothing too different. From the perspective of a fan, there were a lot of moments in Paige’s life and career that were omitted for runtime purposes that would have been more helpful in telling her story such as with her rivalry with Emma and her run as NXT women’s champion amongst others.
Outside of some grievances, Fighting with My Family is well acted with Nick Frost and Lena Headey having amazing chemistry together. There is a lot of character humor which isn’t a surprise being written and directed by Stephen Merchant of The Office fame. His direction helps bring out the authenticity of small-town England which is a big plus in the movie’s favor. Florence Pugh is likable and charming as the feature character of Paige and rounding out a strong supporting cast are Vince Vaughn and The Rock who know how to make an impact on-screen and they do not disappoint here.
It may have taken forever but WWE studios FINALLY have a quality film under their belt. Fighting with My Family is a crowd-pleasing underdog tale than even non-wrestling fans will have a hard time not being caught up in the moment with.