Monster Factory on AppleTV+ is not just a show about what it takes to become a pro wrestler. It’s more about facing fears, dealing with setbacks, and finding ways to overcome obstacles … and it just so happens to be set in the renowned Monster Factory wrestling school in Paulsboro, New Jersey, a small borough near Philadelphia.
“It’s not a reality show; it’s not fake,” asserts Monster Factory owner and operator Danny Cage. Larry Sharpe established the brand in 1983, and Cage, a former pro wrestler turned coach, acquired it in late 2010 or early 2011.
Cage had prior experience with the Monster Factory before taking the reins. He trained there in the 1990s and had his first tryout in 1994. From 1998 to 2004, he performed in the ring before taking a break from the industry.
The series follows a group of aspiring professionals, showcasing the highs and lows of life as an indie wrestling performer. From social anxiety and stage fright to career and financial struggles, everything is laid bare. For Cage, this didn’t necessitate any alterations to his routine.
“We are an open book at the school,” he says. “We discuss everything and anything; these kids all know my financial woes. They know what’s happening with my wife, my kids, and my mental health issues. I’m a coach. I’m a teacher. I don’t want to lose a student… but if I have to lose a student for them to become a better person, and I’m the bad guy at the end, that’s fine.”
Cage’s Transparency Extends His In-Ring Performance Philosophy
“If I’d known everything that went into pro wrestling [when I started], I would’ve taken theater and creative writing,” he explains. “Because we’re all just theater kids, man. But, we’re also super crazy athletic.”
In addition to teaching the skills needed to perform and entertain safely with a partner, Cage emphasizes other aspects of the business for his students, such as branding, marketing, social media, production, and communication.
“You’ll hear me say two things over and over again if you ever train with me: Communication is key. And repetition breeds habit. And repetition breeds habit can go both ways. The more you do something, the more you’ll pick it up, and it’ll become second nature. The same goes for bad habits.”
Cage Hopes to See His Graduates Find Success at WWE, AEW, or Ring of Honor
“I tell our kids, like, ‘If you can get to WWE or AEW, go. But I’m also not holding back my feelings about certain things,’” he explains. “I think WWE and AEW are like Home Depot and Lowe’s. I want to go to the mom-and-pop shop down the corner — that’s who I want to deal with.”
Cage is unsure why his relationship with WWE, the world’s largest pro wrestling platform, turned sour.
“[WWE] had me down in 2018, right after I got fired from Ring of Honor. Within a minute, you returned my email and invited me down,” he says. “And then I haven’t been back down since. I don’t have an issue. They do.”
Regarding the series, Cage wasn’t involved in editing but found the final product to be accurate.
“Absolutely. There were only maybe two slight little changes I would’ve made, but they were minuscule. It’s almost like a microphone in a scene or a Starbucks cup in a Game of Thrones scene. Other than that, they captured everything.”
Check out the series on AppleTV+ and Listen to Cage’s M&F Reps podcast interview here!