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Tony Khan signed Lee Johnson to a 6-year contract with AEW + QT Marshall on what prompted him to open a wrestling school

This week on the AEW Unrestricted podcast, Tony Schiavone and Aubrey Edwards interviewed QT Marshall.

Marshall talked about how he went from being Cody Rhodes’ assistant to Tony Khan’s right hand man, his role at the Nightmare Factory, his bowling shirts, why he sits on the steps during The Factory’s wrestling matches, the female performer he would like to add to his faction, his personal relationship with Diamond Dallas Page, what he learned when tagging with Dustin Rhodes, and much more.

Here are some transcribed highlights:

Marshall was asked what prompted him to open a wrestling school:

“I always wanted a job in wrestling.  I was doing really well in New Jersey.  I was coaching at The Monster Factory, kind of volunteering, because a wrestling school isn’t a moneymaker.  It’s more of a passion project.  I was doing that, and I had my normal job.  I decided that I really didn’t like this normal job.  I hated it.  It’s not something I want to do every day for the rest of my life.  I talked to my wife, and we decided to move to Atlanta.  I had talked to a bunch of people down there that own the facilities and let them know what I was going to do.  They all basically decided not to do business with me, so that was even more chips on the shoulder.  My goal was always to be such a good coach that I would get a job, probably with WWE.  That’s the only place you can make a living at.  That’s why I never named it the QT school.  It always had a name and a brand.  This way if I ever left, they could go, which would have been Glacier, as that was my business partner when we first started.  So, we called it The Power Factory, because The Power Plant was where he was from, and then The Monster Factory.  I always knew because I didn’t have name value, that I would have to make this facility the nicest facility.  It had to have brand new stuff.  I sold my house in Florida.  I spent all my money on brand new rings, banners, ring skirts, custom ring shirts, the whole works.  This way when you walk in, you are like, ‘Wow, look at this place.’  Luckily I was able to partner with Chip Smith who has an NFL training facility, and he gave us some space.”

How did the Power Factory turn into The Nightmare Factory?:

“Cody started using the facility to train, and do his strength training with my wife as coach, and conditioning, and all that stuff.  I offered him the school.  I said, ‘Would you want to have this school?  It’s kind of cool.  You’re the E.V.P.  You can turn it into something more.  I’m kind of not done with it, but I don’t need it.  I have a job now.’  He said, ‘Well, this is what I want to do with it.’  I told him, ‘If it’s something you’re ok with, let’s do it.  I think it can be really good for AEW, and also, our pockets.  It’s extra money.’  He said, ‘I have this idea.  I want to put the logo on the wall.  Let’s dress everything up.’  Luckily, he has good relationships with Highspots, and all these other people that were able to dress up the facility right away.  I think we had the whole thing turned around in two days.  Charlie painted the logo with one of the kids from the facility.  His dad helped out.  That’s how we got it.  He said, ‘Well, we’ll just put my brand with your brand, and we’ll put them together.’  I’ve never used him when I was training him or Brandi to advertise.  I never put their pictures on there.  I never said, ‘Hey, come meet Cody’, because I’m a firm believer that’s what a lot of schools do, and that’s why a lot of schools don’t work, because they sell people on all these other things, whereas I try to teach them how to wrestle.  I hope they realize, ‘Wow, this really isn’t that easy, but if we put in hard work and do all this stuff.’  It’s good too because Cody has a lot of different philosophies than I have.  He’s more about etiquette and teaching people how to speak to each other when putting a match together.  He’s very diplomatic about it, and I’m not at all.  I’ve learned that, but I’ve learned that it’s not that serious.”

Are there any students you have that you are particularly proud of or any you see that have a bright future?:

“One would be Preston Vance, ‘10’.  I met him when he first signed up at The Monster Factory.  When he found out that I opened a facility, he moved right to Georgia.  He actually moved in with me.  He’s somebody, because of his build, it’s usually rare that someone with a build like him is going to be good in the ring.  The fact that he ended up doing as well as he’s done, I’m very proud of that.  Anna Jay, for instance, when she walked in, I remember telling her brother who was there with her, ‘As long as she does this, meaning just puts in a little bit of work, she’ll be ok, because she has that ‘It Factor.’  It is what it is.  She’s been performing dance recitals and such since she was a little kid.

Then you have what I call, the really hard workers, which are like the Alan Angels, and the Lee Johnsons that literally are there all the time grinding, and trying to get better.  Like Alan for instance, he’s not the biggest guy, but his work is really good.  That’s why when he got in there with Kenny Omega on Dynamite, they had a banger as they say.  It turned into Tony saying, ‘I think I have an idea for this guy.’  He texted me when Lee Johnson had his first match.  He said, ‘Is Lee your guy?’  I said, ‘He is.’  He said, ‘Wow, I think you have something really special with this kid.  Keep doing whatever you’re doing with him.’  Then, literally three months later, he signs like, and I don’t want to go into his business, but I think a six-year contract.

I’m like, wait a minute.  That’s my student.  I don’t even have a three-year contract.  He’s someone I’m very proud of as well.  There’s a whole bunch that I’m proud of, but also, I love bringing them to TV, and letting them have the opportunity to work Dark or Elevation, or whatever it is, just so they can see how real it is.  Some of them get turned off by it, like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not ready for this.’, which as bad as it sounds, I want them to see that because I’ll tell them, ‘Hey, if you think you’re ready, and I’m telling you you’re not, no problem.  You want to come to TV?  I’ll open the door, but if you walk through that curtain after your match is over, and we don’t sign you, you’re not coming back.’  So, it’s like a loser leaves town match.  If you’re willing to put your career on the line, we can do it.  Then they’re like, ‘No, I’m good.’  I tell them, ‘You’ll get a chance one day.  Get gear that looks presentable.  I’m not saying everyone has to have six-packs.  Hell, I don’t have a six-pack, but your character has to match your look, or your look has to match your character. That’s why I’m not out there calling myself Mr. Olympia with not having a six pack.  I’m very big on those things, and checking as many boxes as possible when it comes to being a pro wrestler.  I feel like if you treat it like a report card, the more A’s you have, the better chance you have of getting a full-time job.”

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to for the transcription

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