WHERE LEGENDS ARE BORN
Although he previously had trained notable superstars such as Tony Atlas outside the umbrella of a formal wrestling school, Pretty Boy Larry Sharpe officially co-founded the Monster Factory with Nature Boy Buddy Rogers in 1983. Beginning with its first break-out graduate, Bam Bam Bigelow (pictured at right), the Monster Factory has trained some of the industry’s brightest stars throughout its existence.
Known for its family-first atmosphere, the school employs a life-time membership policy that welcomes back any student who has earned the respect and admiration of his or her peers. Even in a business as ruthless as professional wrestling, Larry’s mantra has remained the same: “When we started this, it was family first…Let’s take care of home and then business will take care of itself.”
For any student, past or present, who truly continues to call the Monster Factory a home, these are not mere words….It’s a way of life.
THE BIRTH OF A MONSTER
The end of high school brought a promise from Danny’s father…pass the tryout at the Monster Factory and he would pay for the schooling. At the time, this kid, 189 pounds soaking wet, stepped into the ring for the first time with the likes of Chaz Warrington and Glenn Ruth (Better known as the Head Bangers)….Nevertheless, the term “rookie” simply didn’t apply.
“Everything felt natural…it came easy…by the end of the training session, Larry called me into his office and asked ‘when you do you want to start.’” While the immediate answer was the next training session, the source of Danny’s initial foray into wrestling had a different idea. “I called my dad immediately and said that I made it…his response was ‘Well I’m not paying for that shit, I didn’t think you’d make it.’”
Without the means to pursue his dream, bouncing between odd jobs was the only option available. Throughout this time, however, the physical vestiges of an in-ring competitor never strayed far from the surface.
“Danny was an ass-kicker… He used to love to fight when he was younger,” explained friend and former business partner, Chris Oschell. “I once kicked him in the face so hard I broke my foot…he just laughed at me.”
Without a doubt, Danny quickly gained a reputation as an individual who was to be avoided from a physical standpoint at all costs. Recounting a minor scuffle with his brother, Danny recalled having to assure his mother that he had not hit his brother with a shovel. When she asked why the left side his brother’s face was so badly mangled, Danny simply replied “because I’m right-handed.”
With this reputation preceding him, Chris Oschell, who operated as a bookie in North Carolina, offered Danny a job to assist in the delicate task of collecting money. Nevertheless, no matter how far he moved away from the Monster Factory, the itch to pursue his dream never left.
“Everyone was into wrestling down there and the guys thought it was great because I would show them the moves that we were watching on TV.” With a bit of convincing and enough money in his pocket, Danny returned home to New Jersey. “I came home and the first thing I did was I called Larry up and said, ‘I did a try-out four years earlier’, and he said ‘well if you passed it then you’ll pass it now, so come on in.’”
To read part one of this four part feature, click here!