During filming of the WWE wrestling scenes between Paige and A.J. Lee, fans kept chanting the name of "C.M. Punk" (A.J.'s real-life husband, who left the WWE on less-than-amicable terms in 2014). In response to the chants, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson called Punk on his phone from the middle of the ring, and left a voicemail, telling Punk that fifteen thousand fans were chanting his name at the Staples Center. Backstage, WWE Producer Paul Levesque was said to be seething at Punk's non-pre-approved mention, reportedly telling audio technicians, "Cut his mike, cut his mike. Doesn't he realize we're in a lawsuit with this guy?" A visibly annoyed Rock was then heard telling a crew member at ringside, "Tell them, they better not cut my mike." Soon afterwards, Levesque and Vince McMahon sent out a referee to tell The Rock to stop making C.M. Punk references, even though this was taking place after Monday Night RAW had gone off the air. Dwayne later said of the incident, "I work off instinct, always listen to the people, and try to give them something special. Huge positive feedback from the fans. Fun night."
Scenes for this movie were shot in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California after WWE Monday Night RAW on March 20, 2017. The scene included a re-creation of a match between Paige (Saraya-Jade Bevis) and A.J. Lee (A.J. Mendez).
While Vince Vaugn's character sees the new recruits through all facets of training, there are individual coaches for each individual aspect of the wrestlers' development at the WWE Performance Center. During Paige's training days, the promo class was taught by the late wrestler Dusty Rhodes.
Dwayne Johnson was filming Furious 6 (2013) in the UK when he discovered the 2012 Channel 4 documentary "The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family" on TV in his hotel room about a crazy English family of wrestlers. The 'underdog' aspect of it instantly appealed to him, prompting him to contact British writer Stephen Merchant about developing the story into a feature-length biopic. Writer-director Merchant, who also plays Hugh in the film, is actually 2" taller than 'The Rock' with whom he'd earlier co-starred in Tooth Fairy (2010).
There is another Knight sibling who is not represented in the film, but is briefly featured in the documentary on which it's based. She is the only member of the Knight family who is not a wrestler. She is a dentist.
On April 9, 2018, Paige was forced to retire from wrestling at the age of twenty-five, after suffering a stinger during a match with Sasha Banks in December 2017, which aggravated a neck injury Paige first sustained in June 2016.
Stunt doubles for the wrestling scenes were done by Thea Trinidad (ring name: Zelina Vega), who portrays AJ Lee, and Tessa Blanchard, who portrays Paige, in ring. Vega made her own debut in WWE shortly after the filming of this film. Blanchard performed in WWE's inaugural Mae Young Classic all-women's wrestling tournament in 2017. And then went on to become one of the most respected female wrestlers on the independent scene.
Before being signed to NXT, Paige and her mother (known as Sweet Saraya) actually made several trips to the United States to work independent shows for promotions like Shimmer in a Chicago, where many of the current women of WWE and NXT have been discovered.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
In the film Paige dyes her hair blonde and gets a fake tan. She actually did this in real life for her first WWE tryout. And the scouts were not impressed. Saying they were looking something different. On Paige's 2nd WWE tryout, she embraced the iconic "goth" look which she had been known for and got the job.
The film makes it seem as though Paige was brought up from basic training in NXT and made Divas Champion practically overnight. When in fact, Paige has been the NXT Women's Champion for quite some time. And actually made her main roster debut while still holding the NXT Women's title. So to the many die hard wrestling fans in the building that night, she was not at all an unknown performer.
During Paige's debut match on Raw, the movie depicts the crowd as being silent and not knowing who she was. In the real match, the real Paige was met with loud cheers by the crowd as she was very well known to wrestling fans from her time in NXT.
The Divas Championship that Paige wins at the end of the film is now called The WWE Women's Championship. This was done out of respect for the women's division, which Paige helped in the successful fight for women's equality in the industry.