I recently took a trip to WWE’s NT training center in Orlando, FL to see the place where much of the Fighting with My Family story takes place. In the film, character Saraya Knight wins a chance to become the next WWE superstar and she trains at the actual WWE NXT facility. Saraya becomes Paige, who is the real-life WWE superstar that I got to chat with during my visit.
Former wrestler and current NXT trainer Matt “Prince Albert” Bloom gave us a tour of the facility. We watched wrestlers do a little of everything from training with sledgehammers and tractor tires to performing actual moves in the ring.
I got to talk with a few wrestlers as well, including Paige. After a few seconds on her phenomenal lip color (which you can pick up at her store, The Saraya Store), we dived into the evolution of the woman wrestler. When I used to watch wrestling back in the day (my late grandmother was an avid fan), the women were Barbie doll-like figures who didn’t get much stage time. They also had storylines that existed only to bolster the men’s narratives.
Paige was a part of the event that changed all that. She talks about it in the video. Today, the women have a variety of personas and narratives which are just as richer as the men. Women like Bianca Belair and Vanessa Borne are serious athletes who love the performances and take pride in their work. They are just two women I caught up with.
WWE NXT is just one part of the Knight family story in Fighting with My Family. Stephen Merchant directs and Florence Pugh (The Outlaw King, Macbeth) stars as Paige. The film comes to theaters everywhere February 22.
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Jonita Davis is a writer, mother, a certified nerd, and writer of Black Girl Nerds. Davis is a critic and journalist. She has been writing for 13 years about the way pop culture and politics affect our lives as parents, women, black women, nerds, and people of this planet.