Review: The Wrestlers – Fighting With My Family

I wanted to review this Channel 4 documentary following the Knight family, but I ended up becoming so caught up in it I forgot to take notes.

A summary: it was initially intended to track the progress of the whole clan, but ended up following 18-year-old Saraya-Jade as she transforms into WWE Diva Paige. She leaves behind her parents Ricky and Julia, but also her older brother Zak, who was at the same WWE tryouts but was told to shape up before they’d consider signing him.

I was disappointed on Sweet Saraya’s behalf that the programme didn’t bother mentioning her own stellar wrestling career too much, focusing instead on her daughter’s, but with an hour to fit in so much narrative, I suppose it was an understandable choice. (Kudos to her for managing to sneak a SHIMMER t-shirt in to shot, though.)

A few observations, though:

  • Those who feared it would ‘damage’ the UK wrestling scene were mistaken. The Knight women came across as great ambassadors, although their menfolk let them down on occasion.
  • Admittedly the documentary makers were trying to juxtapose tragedy and comedy (Britani leaving for the US balanced against the dog rolling in a dead rabbit), but I’m not ashamed to say I did weep a little bit as Sweet Saraya and Ricky waved goodbye to their little girl.
  • I had to laugh at Zak Zodiac, ever so slightly bitter and jealous, complaining that getting signed by WWE is easier for girls. And then we followed his teenage sister relocating alone to the other side of the world and crying with homesickness and desperation to fulfil her dad’s dream for her. And then, inevitably, lots of UK-based wrestling fans who’ve never even heard of WWE’s Paige let alone Britani Knight took to the internet to proclaim whether or not they would “do her”. Compared with that, Zak, I’d say losing the fat, building some muscle, and motivating yourself not to be “a lazy twat” (in your dad’s words) would be relatively simple.
  • It’s a shame this show was a one-off. The Knights would seem ideal material for some kind of docusoap – they’re honest, they’re eccentric, they’re outspoken but what keeps them compelling is their love for each other. (Some mentioned the Osbournes as a comparison, but it is to be hoped they wouldn’t go quite that far.)

Did you see the show? What did you think?

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3 Responses to Review: The Wrestlers – Fighting With My Family

  1. Matt says:

    I really enjoyed it. I did think that Zak came acccross as having completely the wrong attitude though – well, a bad attitude. I don’t know much of him as a wrestler but there wasn’t much there to suggest he would make it in WWE.

    It was particularly interesting to see the personal side of getting signed – what it meant to Britani to suddenly pack up and completely relocate to developmental, being so far away from home on her own.

    I agree that it was a shame they couldn’t have told more of Sweet Sawaya’s achievements, but like you say it was probably due to time constraints. I would be ineterested to know what the reaction was from non-wrestling fans.

  2. Matt says:

    Just spotted a shocking name typo there, whoops!

  3. Mike says:

    The show was great, a glimpse into a good old-fashioned British wrestling dynasty, the old school and the new. Would have been great to get a peek at WWE’s auditions as well, but you can’t have everything.

    I do think that if Britani continues to impress in WWE, we may well see C4 revisit the family. A triumphant homecoming show would be amazing!

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