Are The NXT Divas In Fighting With My Family Based On Real Wrestlers?
In Fighting With My Family, Paige meets three women who are also NXT trainees: Kirsten (Aqueela Zol), Jeri-Lynn (Kim Matula), and Maddison (Ellie Gonsalves). These characters are not based on actual wrestlers in NXT or WWE but are amalgams of the type of women WWE was hiring at the time. From Paige's arrival in 2011 up to 2015, WWE was still promoting their WWE Divas brand and training models, ex-cheerleaders, and actresses to become wrestlers - mainly to provide sex appeal for their shows. However, once they start wrestling, the ring gear Kirsten, Jeri-Lynn, and Maddison wear resemble the outfits worn by former WWE Divas Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly, and the original cheerleader outfit worn by Alexa Bliss when she was a babyface (good guy) in NXT.
Fighting With My Family plays with the fact that in real life, the inexperienced women training in WWE sometimes felt bullied by Paige, who came from a pro-wrestling background and was lightyears ahead of them in terms of in-ring work. The film depicts the dichotomy between the "actual" female pro-wrestlers hired by WWE and the "wannabe" models who many felt were only in WWE for the glitz, glamour, and money instead of love for professional wrestling. Ironically, once she joined the main WWE roster, Paige became a reality TV star when she joined the cast of E!'s Total Divas. The youngest and most irreverent of the cast, Paige became popular with non-wrestling fans and she raised the ratings of the hit reality series during her seasons.
Who Is Vince Vaughn's NXT Trainer Hutch Morgan Based On?
Vince Vaughn's character Hutch Morgan isn't based on an actual person but, like the female NXT Divas in the film, he is an amalgam of several of Paige's real-life trainers and mentors. These include Sara D'Amato, who wrestled as Sara Del Ray and is NXT's acclaimed first-ever female trailer, Bill DeMott, who wrestled as Hugh Morrus and was FCW/NXT's head trainer from 2012-2015, and the late WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, who was a beloved mentor to the NXT trainees before his death in 2015.
In addition, Hutch tells Paige a metaphorical story about a wrestler who chased his WWE dream but never quite made it and ended up wrecking his personal life in the process; Hutch was describing his own failed WWE career but it included a bit about "falling from the top of a 30-foot steel cage". This is a nod to WWE legend Mick Foley, the beloved former WWE Champion-turned-best-selling author and stand-up comedian, who infamously fell of the roof of the 30-foot Hell in a Cell cage (twice) in a match against the Undertaker at the King of the Ring pay-per-view in 1998.
Did The Rock Really Mentor Paige?
Just as Fighting With My Family depicted, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson really did take Paige aside backstage at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. The Rock told Paige the good news that she would debut on the main WWE roster the next night on Monday Night RAW, she'd be winning the Divas Championship, and that he was planning to make a movie about her life.
At this point in 2014, The Rock had completed his WWE comeback after working on his Hollywood film career from 2004-2011. The Rock's return included a Dream Match against John Cena at WrestleMania 28 in 2012, a reign as WWE Champion, and a subsequent rematch with Cena at WrestleMania 29. The Rock would mainly appear at WrestleMania from then on, and he was a special "host" of WrestleMania 30 when he broke the good news to Paige.
Dwayne Johnson had known about Paige and the Knight family ever since he saw the documentary about them on Channel 4 while he was in London filming Fast & Furious 6 in 2012. Since he also comes from a family of pro-wrestlers, Johnson took a special interest in Paige and would check up on her from time-to-time after she signed with WWE. However, the hilarious scene in Fighting With My Family where Zak and Saraya met The Rock backstage before their WWE tryout and he cut one of his classic promos on them is likely fictional.