‘This is my House Now!’ : Fighting with My Family, the Female Underdog and Constructing a Public History of WWE.

Journal article


Robinson, M. 2024. ‘This is my House Now!’ : Fighting with My Family, the Female Underdog and Constructing a Public History of WWE. New Review of Film and Television Studies. 22 (1), p. 135–160. https://doi.org/10.1080/17400309.2023.2298644
AuthorsRobinson, M.
Abstract

Fighting with My Family (2019) details the rags-to-riches story of British professional wrestler Saraya-Jade Bevis (Florence Pugh), who became the youngest winner of the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Divas Championship in 2014 under the ring name ‘Paige’. Co-produced by WWE Studios, the biopic conforms to the underdog trajectory associated with sports films, visualising the obstacles Saraya encounters: her struggles to craft a wrestling identity different from the sexualised ‘Divas’ mould, her participation in military-like training regimes, and her development of the ‘promo skills’ necessary to cultivate a close relationship with WWE fans. The film depicts Saraya securing the respect of peers, coaches and fans via her perseverance and suggests the goal of stepping into the ring is available to all, regardless of gender, class and nationality. Yet this emphasis on the underdog’s journey towards acceptance serves to marginalise those criticisms which have blighted WWE’s public image: allegations of misogyny and a broader devaluing of women’s wrestling, alongside damaging revelations concerning wrestler exploitation. The film’s omission of any reference to WWE’s controversial past illustrates that the ‘public history’ constructed in biopics can function like a wrestler’s ringside ‘persona’: a larger-than-life fabrication which masks a complex reality.

KeywordsBiopic; underdog; sports film; Fighting with My Family; WWE
Year2024
JournalNew Review of Film and Television Studies
Journal citation22 (1), p. 135–160
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN1740-7923
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/17400309.2023.2298644
Web address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17400309.2023.2298644
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online28 Feb 2024
Publication process dates
Accepted20 Mar 2021
Deposited13 Mar 2024
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