Monster Factory is the latest sport docu-series on AppleTV, combining the best parts of shows like Cheer! on Netflix with reality TV series Tough Enough. Monster Factory is all about wrestling, and in particular the Indie wrestling scene.
Taking place deep in the heart of Paulsboro, New Jersey, Monster Factory doubles up as both a personal biography for coach, mentor and wrestling school confidante Danny Cage, and a wrestling school documentary. Episode 2 in particular tackles the usual shtick from those on the outside, bemoaning wrestling for being “fake”. But in the words of commentator Jim Ross, “How do you learn to fall from a ladder 20 feet in the air?”
Yes, the matches are predetermined and play out more as theatre productions than sport contests, but the stakes are very real and one wrong move could leave someone paralyzed or disfigured for life.
The six episodes follow a number of different prospective wrestlers, from the bright star Notorious Mimi, to the charismatic Bobby Buffet. The 30 minute episodes hone in on the training, the matches and everything in between, peppering in bits of Cage’s personal life as he tries to keep his wrestling school going.
The format is pretty good and the show will be absolutely perfect for anyone with an appreciation for wrestling. Hearing Cage ripping a new one at his students after they mess up a suplex, or seeing him fighting to improve his students’ promos, show that the guy really does care about his craft, even if his methods can seem a bit like Fletcher from the movie Whiplash!
While there are no eliminations like in Tough Enough, there is a similarity in the way this show builds up a deep level of empathy and resonation with these prospective wrestlers as they attempt to break into the big time through the Indie scene.
There are some lovely messages in here too, including the age old adage that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. If you work hard enough and are willing to sacrifice everything for your dream, then it can happen. What’s particularly great about this, is that Monster Factory actually shows this happen too, which is great to see.
Ultimately, Monster Factory is a highly enjoyable and well presented docu-series that embodies everything you’d want from a wrestling series, delivering a definitive smackdown in the process.
Verdict - 7.5/10