Review: Monster Factory on Apple TV+
Saturday night, I decided to check out a new series on Apple TV+ about the Monster Factory, a wrestling school in Paulsboro, New Jersey that was originally owned by Larry Sharpe and is now owned by Danny Cage.
Danny Cage: “Professional wrestling is an eclectic melting pot of misfits.”
The above quote from Cage during an episode is highlighted in a trailer for the series that is found below. The show goes on to prove this is the case, and I’ve seen this to be the case myself the past couple of years. That’s not a criticism, it just is what it is.
I had made it a probably 10 minutes into the first episode when I made the following tweet:
The show is about what happens at The Monster Factor while focusing on Cage and five of his students. The students are Gabriella Belpre (Gabby Ortiz), David Goldschmidt (Goldy), Lucas DiSangro (Twitch), Hurley Jones Jr. (Bobby Buffet), and Amelia Herr (The Notorious Mimi, Sloane Jacobs).
Gabby Ortiz had taken some time off after dealing with the loss of her mother but has said she may have come back too fast. She has had tryouts before and has also wrestled on AEW: Dark Elevation and on Ring of Honor. In an interview, Cage says that, “She’s the one I can cry to and tell her things.”
Goldy is in college nearing graduation and wants to wrestle no matter what. Kevin Kelly, an announcer for New Japan Pro Wrestling and also part owner of American Excellence Wrestling (AXW) in Pennsylvania expresses an interest in having him come to his dojo in Los Angeles to train. After Goldy tells Cage about the invitation, he indicates that he really doesn’t want to leave the East Coast, and this revolves around the discussion of his anxiety that he’s been dealing with since he was a small child.
I actually saw Goldy and the tag team he’s a part of, The Golden Era, in action at an AXW event in Hamburg, PA back in January. (If you ever get the chance to go it’s a great historic venue at the Hamburg Field House that was used for WWF tapings and they put on a great family-oriented show).
Bobby Buffett has been training since 2018 with Cage, with some time periods taken off to deal with personal issues. He has worked at fast food restaurants and says he’d probably always work there if he hadn’t found The Monster Factory. I have to agree with what D’Lo Brown told him toward the end of the season about him having something inside - a spark of charisma.
Twitch says that he’s the only pro wrestler with Tourette’s and he is dealing with other issues as well that make it tough for him but he never quits. He’s a great guitarist and singer and if you didn’t get a tear in your eye as he nailed the national anthem before the show at the 2300 Arena (formerly the ECW Arena) then I don’t know what to say to you. Also, he cut a great promo feeding off the crowd’s energy of heckling them during his entrance when he was singing and playing. There’s no wrestler among the five that are focused on that you don’t want to pull for. However, Twitch is the one that I am pulling for the most by the end of the season.
The Notorious Mimi gets your attention first with her great ring gear with the angel wings. She grew up in a financially well off family, and became a wrestling fan in middle school. As she prepares for a tryout with WWE, she perfects her promo that plays on the theme of the wings and flying. She goes on to sign with NXT, where she wrestled as Sloane Jacobs before being released in late 2022. She’s in a relationship with T.J. Jacobs, who is also seen in the show.
Danny Cage is the glue that makes the series work and he said that he insisted it not be a show like Pawn Stars or Storage Wars or a typical reality show. The directors of the show succeeded in honoring that request.
Twitch pays Cage a great compliment when he says:
“A lot of wrestling schools will say, ‘We’re a family,’ but I don’t really know how true that is for other wrestling schools,” he said. “It’s true at Monster Factory – we all look out for each other. If I didn’t show up, [Cage] would be blowing up my phone.”
Cage balances the Monster Factory along with being married and having two daughters. One thing that emerges during the show is that his mother is fighting against cancer. She passed away, as is noted following the final episode, and, as someone who lost his dad to cancer 6 months after being diagnosed, I’m not sure how he kept all the balls in the air as that was happening.
One more quote from Danny Cage sums up his philosophy nicely:
“Some coaches tell me, ‘Your only job is to train them and rest,’ and I’m like, ‘No, you don’t understand what a coach is,’” Cage says. “That’s just teaching a dog how to sit and stand – that’s not a coach. There’s more than that.”
It’s probably pretty obvious that I rate this show very highly and think it’s a must-see for any wrestling fan or anyone else curious about the business. It’s so good that I binge-watched all six episodes from start to finish, which is not something I usually do.
Other wrestlers or people in the business you may have heard of making appearances in the show include:
Brian Morris - who I’ve seen wrestle twice - at AXW and at 1CW
Additionally, Marshall & Blue Meanie (Brian Heffron) are involved in the training at The Monster Factory and Missy Sampson is a coach.
An interview with the cast of the show:
The full trailer for the show:
Other news stories:
The Philadelphia Inquirer: New Jersey’s Monster Factory is a dream machine for aspiring pro wrestlers
Wrestlezone: Monster Factory Shows The Real Side Of Achieving The Pro Wrestling Dream
The Wall Street Journal : ‘Monster Factory’ Review: Wrestlers or Thespians?