She is vicious to the core, tough as nails, and stubborn like a mule, there is no quit in Sweet Saraya Knight. For over twenty years, she has kicked the asses of so many talented women so hard they even felt it. There wasn’t any sunshine and rainbows about Saraya; she was physical, vicious, and downright mean in the ring. Her career got a start in the most unusual of places, dating back in the early 1990’s.
“I Started in 1994 as the Manageress of the Superflys Tag Team, Ricky Knight and Gentleman Jimmy Ocean, I was taught whilst on the road and I had to put the ring up and down, clean the caravans/chalets, I had to wash the wrestlers costumes and cook their meals and be a general dogsbody, but in return they taught me not only how to wrestle, but how to look after myself in the ring and etiquette outside of it,” she says. “I travelled the whole of the UK in main events alongside the boys and it taught me definitely how to watch my back as well as protect myself, because the boys were famous for getting the crowd so worked up they wanted to kill us, I loved being part of the old school way it taught me so much and I value every experience however much it hurt.
“I started to wrestle and soon found that I could cause mayhem myself, going on against Klondyke Kate, Julie Starr and others whether I was Villain or Blue-eyed was a valuable experience. I carried the persona the Superflys created from when I was manageressing over into my wrestling and the crowds hated me.
“I owe the guys a lot because without them I wouldn’t be the wrestler I am today. I love the British technical submission style which I feel is my forte but it is slowly dying out, when I train people this is the style I in-still into them before the move on to present day wrestling styles.”
Sweet Saraya was tough as a manager for the Superflys, consisting of “Gentleman” Jimmy Ocean and her husband “Rowdy” Ricky Knight. It was the “Rowdyman” that have Saraya the tools to be a success. “First of all they learned etiquette, then I specialized in teaching British style as to me its still the best,” he said. “They learned to work the crowd, too many modern stars are selfish and do their stuff whether the crowd wants it not. then they learned to work on emotion draw the fans in, make them care an art which is going out the modern era in my opinion.”
The Superflys were in Saraya’s words “notoriously badass, hard trainers, great wrestlers, they can whip any crowd in a frenzy and they have got me out of quite a few scrapes. I owe them my foundation in the wrestling business, my character would never have developed like it has without their tuition.”
Highly regarded in England as a folk hero in the wrestling scene, Saraya has an following wherever she wasn’t in the UK. “I been wrestling for so long now there isn’t anywhere in the United Kingdom I haven’t wrestled, because I have worked for so long I am part of peoples lives as they grow up and its strange when they come up and say they watched me when they were little and now they are bringing their children to watch me,” she says.
“In the past the crowds were brutal and would take nothing to turn on you and charge the ring, many times I left the venue thinking how the hell did I survive that! But nowadays its different and the crowds are more family orientated and the riots are few. Well I say that but I was at Croydon a few months ago and ended up fighting in the crowd so the Superflys and Sweet Saraya still have the ability to cause a riot.”
In addition to Saraya and Ricky, the Knights include her sons Roy and Zak, and their daughter Paige, who is currently the reigning WWE Divas Champion. I love that my family are all in the same business, we travel together and room together, its great to have the very people you love most in the world and trust by your side in business and in private, We are a very close family and I feel we are all specialists in different styles of wrestling.
“I am very proud of my children and what they have accomplished so far, I know the Knight name will continue and a legacy will be left.”
Saraya is proud of her daughter’s success in WWE in recent years. “I am extremely proud of her, she has accomplished so much at such a young age, her career so far would make an old school sweat, she has been on the circuit since she was 15 years old and completed The UK and Europe by the time she was 17 years old. She is an inspiration to all and a fantastic role model for young women determined to succeed in life,” she says about Paige.
In 2011, Saraya along with Paige (Who was then under the name Brittani Knight) debuted in SHIMMER, one of the top women’s wrestling promotions in the world. “I love working in the USA, I can be extreme and shocking and brutal and old school, Shimmer has changed my life,” she said. And it was in SHIMMER where a rivalry was ultimately renewed.
For those who don’t know this, the intense rivalry between Saraya Knight and Cheerleader Melissa was so violent over the years there wasn’t an end to this bitter feud. “Well I was her opponent at Chickfight 7 and we were in the first round, I was knocked out of the competition after I got twisted in the ropes by my neck and was hanging there on the outside until people managed to separate the top and 2nd rope so my head could be released, I was hanging and fighting for breathe for about a minute or so and whilst I was in trouble Melissa was trying to smash my head in and stop the guys from getting me free. The first encounter was memorable.” In another match, Melissa delivered a crushing blow to Saraya, nearly destroying her left knee. It took years to recover, but Saraya was too stubborn to call it quits. In 2012, after Melissa won the SHIMMER Championship from Madison Eagles after years of chasing it, Madison went down with an injury. But with one challenger out, Saraya saw a window of opportunity open wider and wider.
Match 18, 2012 was the day American women’s wrestling fans wept, and British Women’s wrestling fans rejoiced. Saraya earlier in the evening took out Melissa by targeting on the left knee by whacking it with a cane, causing the champ to limp and trying to fight off what is an injury that is less serious. Melissa went all out against Saraya, but to no avail. Saraya went for the Single Leg Boston Crab on Melissa’s left knee and shockingly forced her to tap out to that submission while Saraya was holding the type for leverage. From a fan’s point of view, the referee didn’t notice Saraya’s hand was on the ropes for leverage, which was illegal. But unfortunately, it ended what was suppressed to be a promising championship run for Melissa, after fighting so hard to win the gold for so long, it was ripped out from her that easily. It was after the match Saraya uttered these infamous words, “First your belt, next is your dignity!”
“I did what I had to do to get my hands on Melissa, I waited 5 years for that opportunity, It was a bonus she went into my match as a Champion and I was ecstatic when I took her belt, and from a submission!! I think it was well deserved and I patted myself on my back!” She says.
After winning the SHIMMER Championship, Saraya would later defend it in her home turf, Bellatrix. Bellatrix was a spin-off of the World Association of Wrestling, owned by her husband Ricky Knight in 2013. “ I love Bellatrix and I adore working as a female promoter. My love is in the ring and annoying the crowd but it is another string to my bow. I know what I like to see and I have sponsors, backers and a brand new partner Anthony Dansie (Know as Axl Lynch in the UK), who has invested heavily in Bellatrix, and I am proud of how quickly things are progressing,” she says off the product.
Her match at Bellatrix 5 was of course a British Rules match against her long time rival Destiny, a powerhouse for women’s wrestling, and in some ways the second coming of Klondyke Kate. “All my matches against Destiny have been bloody and brutal and I don’t expect this one to be any different,” she says.
Destiny has proven time and again she can handle the starts of Bellatrix with her power, let alone the matriarch of the Knight family. When asked about her favorite rivalry, Destiny replied; “It has to be Sweet Saraya. Why wouldn’t that be my favourite feud? After all I walked away from that feud as a double champion. The matches with Sweet Saraya forced me to go that next step. Without the feud with Sweet Saraya, I don’t think I would have evolved into the wrestler that I am today. She kind of helped Destiny achieve her destiny.”
British Rules are similar to so many combat sports, with ten 3-minute rounds, decided by 2 falls, 2 submissions, 1 knock out or a disqualification. No 5 second rope counts, and if an opponent gets 3 public warnings from the referee for misbehavior then that person gets disqualified. Three warnings, three strikes, that’s it. In that match, Saraya fought to stay champion, eventually beating Destiny to remain champion and earned a standing ovation from the Bellatrix crowd.
After a bloody match with LuFisto, Saraya finally lost the SHIMMER Championship to her nemesis Cheerleader Melissa inside a Steel Cage. At the time, Saraya was the third-longest SHIMMER Champion in history, but she was surpassed by Melissa when she had more than 400 days. Saraya would continue to go on a rampage that will go on for many years to come. At Bellatrix 7, in what supposed to be their final encounter, Melissa and Saraya ended the match on a draw, and top the surprise of those in attendance, the hugged in the middle of the ring, signaling the end of a brutal and much painful rivalry.
Saraya later defeated Lady Penelope at Bellatrix 8, proving that the teacher is still better than the student. That same weekend, Saraya Knight was enshrined into the WAW Hall of Fame.
Saraya Knight is one of the legendary names in women’s wrestling and a fixture of the women’s side of the sport for three decades. Love her out hate her, she has done her job extremely well. She may kick the living snot out of her opponents, but she couldn’t care less. If there is one thing that will be on her epitaph, it will read; “OK Rebels, do what you want to do, be who you want to be, say what you want to say, never go against your own moral code and always come out fighting!”
To keep up with Saraya, follow her on Twitter @SarayaKnight. To watch her matches online check out http://www.clickwrestle.com/saraya-knight for the Saraya Knight collection.
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