SHARING THE DREAM
Although the Monster Factory has been in existence for almost 30 years, it has gone through numerous iterations during that time. As the opportunity arose in 2011 to begin a new chapter in the school’s history, Larry Sharpe only was willing to do so on one condition…Danny Cage had to be involved as a trainer and a more importantly, a partner.
Despite not being in contact with one another for more than 5 years, Larry wouldn’t have it any other way. “When you’re dealing with someone who’s honest, the amount of time in between doesn’t matter…Dan had developed a reputation with me of following through with everything he said that he would do.”
That list grows by the day.
In addition to serving as the head trainer, Danny built and updates the website, manages the school’s social media presence, and handles all aspects of promoting and scheduling events. Needless to say, balancing this dedication with a full time day job had proven difficult for Danny’s wife…at least until a dose of fame shattered her inhibitions.
“My wife didn’t care when I attended the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and spent hours talking with guys like Tony Atlas and JJ Dillon…But I got to know Stone Cold Steve Austin and the first time he called me, my wife was running around telling everyone that I knew him…It may have saved my marriage.”
All joking aside, the support from Danny’s wife during the most difficult of transition periods has allowed him to continue pursuing a dream that quickly is coming to fruition. A few pep talks from Steve Austin didn’t hurt either.
“He told me that from watching my stuff and talking to me he could tell that I knew what the hell I was doing.” When Danny asked what he should say if people questioned his ability to train wrestlers, Steve simply responded: “Tell them I said to kiss your ass.”
Anyone doubting the ability of Danny Cage and the school to take the next step probably should heed those words.
The Monster Factory currently is set to take a huge leap forward, with a strong class of students and a reality TV (the real kind) show on the way. For as much as he has provided Danny over the years, Larry unquestionably acknowledges the vital role played by Danny. “It has really paid off with his friendship and the work he’s put in with the Monster Factor….The kid gives 110% at everything.”
This fact, as well as the accompanying admiration, is not lost on the current and former students and staff of the school. As Aaron Gainey, current talent scout and one half of the tag team “The Nigerian Nightmares” explained, “if Dan didn’t come on board, this whole thing wouldn’t be happening…Larry is the figurehead, but Dan is the heart and soul.”
This heart and soul means the world to all of the young kids who are standing in the same boots that Danny wore many years prior. “You can tell Danny Cage is the kind of guy who wants to give you everything he has…you can feel that in everything he does,” said current student “Reckless” Donnie Hart. A self-described former washed-up college athlete with a criminal record, Donnie has no qualms about saying that he would not be the respectable person he is today without Danny. “I know if I reach the goals that Danny Cage, Larry Sharpe and I have for myself, I will be able to go back and help kids who face situations similar to mine.”
Even those students who have moved on to pursue their dreams at higher levels never hesitate to proclaim the influence that Danny had and continues to have on their lives. “Danny has been nothing but good to me and has told me on many occasions how proud he is of me for my success,” explained QT Marshall. “He knows his stuff, understands pro wrestling, and really cares about the boys who are trying to make it. A lot of trainers try to manipulate others for their own better, but not Danny.”
In the end, while there is no questioning the personal fortitude that led Danny to this point in his life, one can’t help but recognize the impact resulting from the selfless acts, guidance, and most importantly, the friendship of Larry Sharpe.
“If Larry was a scumbag, I probably would have taken the job in LA, I would have moved out there, the federation would have folded, I would have come back and if he was a scumbag, he would have said ‘well kid, that’s the breaks, that’s the business.’”
Instead, like the mentor who came before him, Danny recognizes that even the best breaks as a competitor in the business would not have led to the contentment felt today. “Maybe I would have made it and made tons of money in wrestling, but maybe my real calling is to be a coach of wrestling and to help these kids out…I couldn’t ask for a better situation right now…I couldn’t be happier with where I am.”
Danny lives by one simple credo “I try to be everything to everybody, because nobody ever was shit for me….until Larry.” Anyone close to the situation understands that Larry and Danny share a legitimate father-son relationship that shines through every aspect of their work. For each student relying on Danny’s guidance and support on a daily basis, there is no better feeling than recognizing that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree.