Exclusive: TSF Open Up About Training at the Nightmare Factory, Working With Shawn Spears and Wardlow in AEW, More

(Photo Credit: AEW)

TSF (Hunter Knott and Rosario Grillo), a tag team of the Nightmare Factory. A fast-rising team as seen on AEW, trained by Cody Rhodes, and QT Marshall, joined PWMania.com’s T.J. Stephens for an exclusive interview.

TSF discussed their time at the Nightmare Factory, forming their tag team, working with Shawn Spears and Wardlow in AEW, their future goals, and much more.

Below is the complete PWMania.com interview with TSF:

What are your individual starting points in wrestling? And how did the team come to be?

Hunter Knott: “So it’s crazy because what is individual starts of a wrestling career was also the start of our tag team career as well. We started together like literally, everything we did has been together thus far. We moved down to Atlanta. What was it September of 2020?”

Rosario Grillo: “Yep.”

Hunter Knott: “Three weeks after we were in the first or started the first-ever class of the Nightmare Factory, we ended up moving in together. So we kind of had a lot of chemistry there. You know, he was my best friend. As soon as I moved down here, he was the first person I can really call a friend. So we went through the Nightmare Factory camp together and as soon as the showcase came around, the coaches looked at us and basically told us that we were gonna be a tag team. And we were like, oh, okay, that wasn’t really what we were planning on. But why would I deny being in a tag team with one of my best friends? So we went and did the showcase match and TSF kind of just took off from there.”

Rosario Grillo: “Yeah, a lot of people were like that the first time ‘you guys ever wrestled?’ We were like, ‘yeah,’ and they were like, ‘Okay, well, don’t ever not be a tag team, because your guys’ chemistry is insane for someone who just started wrestling.’ Then we kind of both had a talk. We’re like, okay, we’re like, do we want to do single or do we want to do tag? Because when we’re in the apartment, but the fantasy is, ‘Oh, yeah. There’s like, how cool would be if we could tag?,’ but we both just assumed we’d be singles. Then we got the chance and we asked, ‘Okay, well, do we keep going?’ We’ve wrestled eighty matches. So that’s probably our fault. We’re just not putting them online. I have a whole bunch on my YouTube that I just haven’t made public.”

Hunter Knott: “Yeah, we’ve been training for a little over two years. It’s been about a year and like eight to 10 months since our first Indie booking.”

As a tag team, and as you said, you started off as a tag team, you have this chemistry from living with each other and starting together. What, in your mind makes a great tag team, and what are the things that you try to insert in your matches, to elevate tag teams, because tag teams, even though they get more attention now, they’re not nearly as featured as they used to be, when we were growing up?

Hunter Knott: “I think it’s just what we were talking about. I think chemistry is a huge thing in tag teams, especially nowadays, because you see so many promotions just throwing two big single stars together. Okay, cool. They’re really good wrestlers. That’s awesome. But why are they a team? Like what makes them similar? How do they have that chemistry? So I think chemistry goes a very, very long way.”

Rosario Grillo: “Yeah. And it’s pretty weird because Hunter’s 22, I’m 28. That’s a big gap. But we’re also the same person. And it’s kind of weird how like, we’re always thinking the same thing, it’s clear when one of us gets the idea and the other person immediately knows what they’re about to say. Like we’re very in tune with the other, which helps a lot because it helps when we’re in the ring, where we can always communicate with giving each other a look.

“And that goes so far. And it’s just putting in the time to learn tagging, wrestling and psychology. Oh, my God. And once that clicked, and Glacier was a huge part in that for us and helping us understand that. Once that clicked. I think a lot of things changed very early.”

Hunter Knott: “Yes, you start finally putting pieces together and making sense of things. Yep.”

I gotta tell you, I got to interview Larry Zbyszko like two or three months ago. And you guys are the second time I’ve heard Glacier in the last two months and I am not upset about it. How was Glacier we don’t hear a lot about him.

Hunter Knott: “He is fantastic. Honestly, one of the nicest human beings I’ve ever met and one of the most caring people I’ve ever met. He cares so much about wrestling all throughout our training at the Nightmare Factory. He was nothing but helpful. Yeah, always trying to teach us new ways to do things, always trying to teach us just not wrestling itself but the business that comes with wrestling to how to handle yourself. Like I cannot say enough nice things about Glacier.”

Rosario Grillo: “He was huge on that, like, stressing how much of your wrestling career happens outside of the ring. He was so instrumental in helping us so young, like, he saw that we cared like at a young age and was like, this is something we want, we want to do, we want to be better, we want to help out we want to do whatever we can do. And he saw that, and he started helping us, showing us different moves, and psychology, sending us matches, and analyzing our matches. So we owe a lot to him. Yes, we say it all time. Like we’re so grateful for people like obviously Cody and QT, but then we had like him, Luther, learning from them has been awesome.”

We go to the Nightmare Factory, get trained, and become a tag team. Where do we go from there?

Hunter Knott: “We’re a tag team and we’ll pick up from the showcase. So we have our showcase match. Cool. There was like a month of limbo when we move back home. I’m from PA he’s from Jersey, tri-state boys right here.

“So we kind of took that month in limbo, we were deciding do we come back to Georgia to continue training at the Nightmare Factory? Do we kind of just go and see what happens? And we decided to move back down here with two of our other friends. One of them is now your girlfriend. And we all got a house together. So we all got a house together, it’s called ‘Wrestlehouse.’ And we were like, Okay, let’s do this tag team thing, we found out a solid name for us. Now there is a meaning behind TSF which everybody is wondering, there is a meaning but you will never ever, ever, ever, ever know.

“You can make it mean whatever you want to trust me like “The Sheet Freaks” right here. TSF. You know, do remarketing, boom, boom, boom, like, Ah, so that’s kind of where it picked up when we got back here and we just started making our rounds man, just trying to hit up any promotion that we could, get ourselves experience get better in the ring, while getting better than the ring also trying to up our game on social media. That’s a huge thing in wrestling, especially nowadays, it’s very, very big thing. So we’re always trying to put out good content, we run streams over at Twitch. So I try to do that on a regular basis, at least like three times a week, I actually have to do the one-chip challenge here soon…”

Rosario Grillo: “And a lot of it will always give credit where credit’s due to people who have helped us out. There are so many people who helped us out. Whether it’s on bookings or just feedback for matches, but we, we always pride ourselves on we don’t like to ask for help, you have to figure out our own. But also like every graphic you see that we post 99% of them, like he’s {Hunter} made the 1% that I make if he’s busy, but like the amount of I sent him the other day, the first graphic we’ve ever made. And then I sent him the one that he just posted where it was moving and had all these animatronics out and I go ‘dude, look how far in one year, you’ve taught yourself. Also, you’ve taught yourself so much, you could probably go get a graphic designer job.’ But like, everything that we use is just, hey, we have this sale coming up. Let’s make five for this. How can we grow this promote this match? How can we promote this stream? And it’s just constantly thinking through it isn’t just doing it ourselves?”

Hunter Knott: “It’s and I don’t mean to say anything about Christian Cage right here. But I don’t think anyone can outwork us. I really, really don’t. Like we are always thinking of new ideas, ways to do things. How can I do this so I don’t have to ask somebody else to do this.”

Rosario Grillo: “99% of the time going down those stairs to his room is to like talk about a spot or match or like hey, we should try to get booked on this show. And it’s that’s also what makes us a great team in the ring is just it’s 24/7 wrestling essentially and it doesn’t get old because like we’re not talking about it. 24/7 But we’re thinking about. it 24/7. And it’s so much easier to just be able to go pitch an idea when your tag partner that’s downstairs.”

You faced Shawn Spears and Wardlow. We haven’t really seen Shawn Spears lately but we’ve seen what Wardlow has become in the last few months. But this is very early Wardlow a year and a half ago. So what did you notice about Wardlow and Shawn Spears in the ring?

Hunter Knott: “Very early Wardlow, but very early TSF, too. We are babies.”

Rosario Grillo: “And listen, I don’t want to toot our own horns, but I feel like after the match Warlow kind of just went off. We put our bodies on the line for Wardlow, just to go to the moon. And he’s there.”

Hunter Knott: “I think very, very highly of both of those men, especially Shawn Spears to war, though. One of the nicest guys was Shawn Spears… the mind on that man. Incredible, incredible.”

Rosario Grillo: “We were so nervous to have our first match there. Because again, it was July like the first week of July last week of June. So we’re three-four months on the Indies. We don’t have that many matches under our belt. And I just remember getting down there and we’re like, oh my God, who are we gonna work? Like what tag team is it going to be? And then we found out Spears and Wardlow. Oh my god, we’re gonna die. And we did. Yeah. But it was just comforting going up to Shawn and introducing ourselves and then calling the match. And essentially he you know, he had it done. And we just we had that trust right away. And then like, you know what, whatever he says, we’re going to do and it’s going to be great. And we’re gonna listen to everything he says. And I honestly couldn’t think of a better first matchup…”

You guys fought The Acclaimed who is arguably the hottest tech team in wrestling right now.

Rosario Grillo: “They went to the moon after us.”

Hunter Knott: “I am being honest, I’m glad for them, I’m a big Acclaimed fan and it’s it’s so awesome to see a homegrown AEW tag team get to the position, and great people, get to the position where they’re at today. Literally, I’m so excited for them. So happy for them. Yeah, they’re because they put in all the work. They’ve worked their asses off.”

Rosario Grillo: “I was so happy to be able to be in the crowd when they won the titles, and then get to go backstage and hug my friends to congratulate them because I know how much that meant to them.”

You fought the ageless wonder, Billy Gunn.

Hunter Knott: “He is one of the best-looking people I’ve ever seen.”

Rosario Grillo: “Yeah, if I look a quarter as good as him when I’m when I’m getting older, I will be okay. He looks like he’s 28.”

So in your guys’ minds what have been the highlights of your career albeit young so far?

Hunter Knott: “So there’s a couple. I think our first match ever will always just be something that sticks in my head. Our first AEW match, obviously, Wardlow and Spears. I think that was a really, really cool moment. It was a couple of our AEW ones like the one in Chicago.”

Rosario Grillo: “The whole arena was chanting ‘Let’s Go Jobbers.'”

Hunter Knott: “It was crazy. It was so it was absolutely crazy. Our factory match in North Carolina was really cool as well…. What are some other others we got? DPW I think our first time working DPW really cool.”

Rosario Grillo: “I got to wrestle Scotty 2 Hotty a couple weeks ago.

“Wild. I can’t believe I just said that. AML is up there also because it was the biggest independent show we had. And shout out to FTR, because they actually helped get us on the show.”

Hunter Knott: “We did their seminar before the show the one that they did, it was incredible. Absolutely.”

Rosario Grillo: “They’re great. It’s wild that I can say we’re like, friends. Yeah, like, I can text them right now if I wanted to. And they’re always so nice. And they’re always so helpful always like giving critiques and advice, and just like little things to help make you better because they actually care.”

What’s next on the accomplishment list for you guys? And what is the ultimate goal? As a tag team?

Rosario Grillo: “I mean, I’m looking at him right now. And it’s a set of Tag Team Champions.”

Hunter Knott: “I think that’s definitely the foreseeable future goal. We need some gold.”

Rosario Grillo: “That’s number one.”

Hunter Knott: “We need some gold… I definitely think that tag titles foreseeable future 100%. But besides that, you know, we’re always setting little goals for ourselves like, hey, let’s see, we can try to reach this many followers on social media. Okay, cool. I’m gonna do this stream today. If we make enough money, cool. I’m going to do the One Chip Challenge. Like always these little goals that are just increasing our stature and social media as well.”

Rosario Grillo: “I think a debut in California would be cool.”

Hunter Knott: “Yes. Going out West. I think the end all be all goal obviously, it’s going to be kind of a no brainer, just to get signed somewhere together. I think that would be really, really cool. I know. You’re like right there… But I think like getting the debut somewhere as TSF on TV would be one of the coolest things ever.”

Rosario Grillo: “It’s just like, it’s so much fun and that’s what wrestling is supposed to be. That’s where I get lost sometimes. Yeah, this is fun. This is our dream, this is what we all wanted to be when we were kids.”

Hunter Knott: “This is why we moved from PA and Jersey down to Atlanta.”

Rosario Grillo: “I get to do it with my best friend. I texted him yesterday and I go hey, man, you want hear something cool? Arn Anderson has such high praise for us. I was just talking to him and he said we were a really good young tag team and deserve a shot and I was like Arn Anderson said that about us. How wild is our life and like, that’s my best friend. We’re just doing this together again.”

Right now, a tag team you want to face. It’s your choice…

Rosario Grillo: “I have two. It’s the Young Bucks and it’s FTR.”

Hunter Knott: “Yeah, kinda of a no brainer. I’m gonna so I’m with him on those. I’m gonna throw in another one because we get this close every single time and it gets yanked away from us. Like if it gets yanked away from The Chaos Project. We want to face Chaos Projects so bad. The last district show that I actually did, I got the team with Luther. So it was me and Luther against Jameson Ryan and Diamond Sheik. And Luther kind of gave me this Serpentico treatment a little bit, was definitely very painful, but I wanted some come up and so on, and we got that close to getting that match.”

Tag teams of all time, you get to go to a time machine, and you get them in their prime…

Rosario Grillo: “I still want to say Bucks and FTR but The Hardy’s…”

Hunter Knott: “Yeah, that’s cool. I was gonna say The Rockers…”

Rosario Grillo: “Oh, there’s gonna be a left-field move but Los Guerreros… Another one, World’s Greatest Tag Team. Yeah, they were so good. People forget how good they were Shelton Benjamin is one of the best athletes in wrestling and doesn’t get enough love.”

You’re wearing a very handsome shirt. With your tag team name on it. Where do we get those at?

Rosario Grillo: “Oh, you can actually get this beautiful beautiful TSF style shirt among our other seven shirts I believe, which is including now the limited edition Halloween Two Spooky Fellas shirts and debuting for the first time ever… Hunter Knott’ss first ever shirt in the style of the Nintendo 64 logo because he does stream on Twitch. You can get all those beautiful shirts and more. At ProWrestlingTees.com/tagTSF. We should make commercial…”

You can follow Hunter Knott on Twitter @hknott12 and Rosario Grillo on Twitter @rgrilloTSF.