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No chivalry with these Knights

When I was a kid, I remember being fascinated by those who loved to pretend they were The Rock. Or Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Silly little boys (some of them my friends) running around, mouthing expletives and going straight in for the take-down.

Quite often, I'd end up in a headlock. "It's not real!" I'd shout (though it very much felt like it at the time).

And I was right -- it's not real. It's all about the glamour and the bodies.

Or, at least, that's the case in America, where those in search of a little more flash (and cash) for their carefully choreographed body-flips go to play with the big boys and girls in the World Wrestling Entertainment company (WWE).

In The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family, we were introduced to the Knights -- a mighty family of five who run their very own wrestling establishment (WAW -- World Association of Wrestling) from their council house in Norfolk.

There's Rowdy Ricky Knight (the dad) and mum Julia (Sweet Saraya). The kids have their own stage names, too.

And they're not kids any more. Young adults Zak Zodiac and Saraya Jade Knight (Britani) are at the top of their game, and then there's Roy, The Zebra Kid (he doesn't feature much).

Indeed, the Knights are the biggest names in modern British wrestling.

Or so narrator Shaun Dooley (Sinister Shaun as I took to calling him) tells us.

Wrestling is their only source of income. It's a passion, but it's also a business. Julia is very much aware of her 18-year-old daughter's appeal.

"She's a pretty little thing," she says. "She's eye-candy on posters.

"Just having her face on my stuff -- I can guarantee selling it."

See. I told you it was about the image. "It's a once in a lifetime thing to have a product like this," she continues.

"Forget that she's my daughter -- she's a product."

Later on, The Knights' Official Product moves to Florida after signing a contract with WWE.

It's a move that surprises nobody but upsets everyone.

Not least big brother Zak, who is proud of his little sister but can't understand why the WWE keep turning him down.

He's put the work in -- that much is clear. He also wants it that little bit more than his sister, whose talent is obvious but who might be in it for the wrong reasons (the fame -- not to mention a fear of disappointing her father). But it's the body that's letting him down. He may be strong, but he still looks like a lager lout.

"I must be sending some sort of vibe out to people," he says, sitting over a pint in his local.

Earlier on, he had filled us in on his pre-match warm-up routine.

"Couple of beers, couple of fags, couple of push-ups -- that's our warm-up!" he laughed.

Of course, wrestling opened up a whole new life for the Knight family.

Neither Ricky nor Julia were heading in the right direction before they met each other.

He had served eight years in prison. Julia had contemplated suicide.

The work that they've done and the dream that they follow through both their children, as well as the family 'business', just about stays on the right side of admirable. Still, their reaction to their daughter's success in America is a little... strange. As much as there's a demand for guys to sport gigantic biceps and rock-hard abs, the girls need to look good.

Back home, it was okay for Britani (she's now called Paige) to wear a sports top and hotpants.

Kicking ass on US telly, however, the poor girl resembles little more than an angry stripper.

And they seem to be okay with that.

"British wrestling has lost its brightest star," says Sinister Shaun, "but for the Knight family, the show must go on."

Too right. Business at the WAW is now booming.

Now that's the real side of professional wrestling.



the wrestlers: fighting with my family HHHHI