Heaven Fitch likes to bake — it’s one of her hobbies — but on the wrestling mat, she turns the heat up extra high.
At 16 last year, Fitch became the first woman wrestler to win a state championship in North Carolina — she swept every boy in her 106-pound weight class on the mat. As the subject of HEAVEN, a new segment from WWE Network Documentaries narrated by WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix, this high schooler proves to be a mighty force. After 20-some minutes of footage, you’ll see why.
The documentary rewinds to when Fitch entered the world of wrestling as a youngster to keep up with her older brothers. She describes the sport as “lively,” and she started on a club team despite her father’s doubts and trepidations. Fitch, not surprisingly, was a natural.
It’s clear throughout the doc that Fitch’s successes never came without failures, and as she grew, so did the boys. There was also the looming disapproval from peers — some would refuse to wrestle her — coaches, and parents. She says it’s frustrating to hear criticism from other women especially. “I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to see women succeed,” she notes in the film.
HEAVEN gives a small glimpse into the strength — mental and physical — it required to take on high school wrestling amid mounting pressure and harsh critique as a young woman in a men’s sport. Based on how the state’s laws work, if a high school does not have its own women’s wrestling team, girls would have to try out for the men’s, but Fitch was used to sparring against the boys.
Sophomore season, Fitch made it to the state tournament and took fourth, becoming the first girl to ever place at a North Carolina state wrestling tournament. Going into her 2020 junior season at Uwharrie Charter Academy, she was ranked seventh nationally, and to watch her break more barriers with her championship title that year is thrilling (even the trailer is thrilling).
Fitch inspires the next generation of women wrestlers. “I think it’s just a big moment for women in sports in general just to show that we can achieve the same accomplishments that the men do,” she reflects, “even against the men themselves.”
HEAVEN comes out Sunday, March 7, on WWE Network and across WWE social channels.
Image Source: Courtesy of WWE