On a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho, AEW star QT Marshall was on to discuss his current work at the Nightmare Factory, which he and AEW EVP Cody Rhodes opened up earlier this year. Marshall also discussed his roles behind the scenes in AEW, revealing that he is charge of booking extras for AEW that are used in Dark.
"So unless there's somebody that we've specifically asked to bring in, yes. And part of it was during the pandemic when it first started, because we filmed at the school. So I had all these people," Marshall noted. "Now, it's too much. My inbox, especially after this Bunkhouse Match, everything is, 'Dude, congrats on that match. Oh, it's so great. Are there any spots available for Dark?' As an aspiring wrestler, you see what the guys get on Dark.
"It's not just go out there, and take two moves and you're done. You're getting competitive matches. I get it, 100%, but now there's gonna be a lot of people listening to this. You don't have to butter me up. I'm a wrestler first. Just tell me, "Hey, I'm willing to do whatever it takes.' Sure, as long as you bring your valid COVID test and you follow the protocols. And when you're here, you're not a jerk.
"You're just a normal guy, and then you do your job? Cool. The other thing is, I tell them, 'Cheer when you're in the audience.' We care about that more than any work that you're ever going to do because we don't want silence."
The Nightmare Factory received a big spotlight during the pandemic when it was used as a venue to tape Dynamite. Marshall recalled being asked if the school could be used, and he remembered not being booked during those tapings despite The Natural Nightmares making their debut at the show before.
"When they first brought it up about two or three weeks before, they were like, 'Hey, if we ever shut down, can we film at the school?' And I was like, 'yeah.' Because the school is a giant training facility but they're not doing anything right now, and I'm sure there's a way that you guys could work out a deal with them. And this, that, and the other," Marshall said. "And it's funny you say about missing TV because the night of the live show, I debuted with Dustin, The Natural Nightmares debut. The next day, we film six weeks and I didn't leave the table. And Tony wrote all these matches. And I'm looking and I'm not on any of them."
Marshall prefaced later that he was most likely not booked because he was needed to help with production. He admitted that he has currently spent around $30,000 of his own money to recreate the set-up used in those tapings for his students at his school.
"It was just so cool the way they transformed it into a little arena," Marshall stated. "Now, I've spent probably about almost 30 grand out of my own money to make what it looked like that night. I've just been going off the picture and recreating it for my students so they can have a place. I can't do it, but at least they could run their own shows... I'm literally just buying everything that we have here."
Marshall went on to talk about his goals for the school and the idea of possibly running shows for his students. He admits that it is disappointing to see his students come into AEW but not get signed. However, he notes that it only means they need more experience, as one of their first matches shouldn't be in AEW.
"We have everything," Marshall noted. "I mean, we have a ring truck. I have four rings. I have a show ring. I have a 16, an 18, a 20-footer entranceways, music. I actually bought one of the promotion's I used to work for because the guy wanted out, and I didn't not tell him, but I told a buddy of mine, 'Hey, you should buy this. I'll give you the money. You buy it, but I'll just do everything. I'll pay for everything. I'll buy the ring, all this stuff,' but then, obviously the pandemic.
"But in my mind, right now, we're going to do, eventually, the same building. First weekend of the month on Saturday, we'll do this area, and we'll just keep going back every month. And the idea is if someone already runs that building, which they will have people that already run that building because George is not a crazy indie place. No problem; we'll showcase your champion or something. And if you don't want to do it, okay then, we'll just do a meet and greet with Cody on our show. And then, good luck running next month. It's very terrible to say that, but I want our guys to be able to wrestle all the time because I hate when they come here and they don't get a job. It is what it is, and I'm never going to push for them.
"That's just something I won't do, but I want them to come here and do extra work, and have a match where Tony's like, 'Dude, that's great.' Like Lee Johnson, 'Man, we gotta' sign that guy.' That made me feel great. But when they come here, they do a match and then nothing happens. It's like, 'Well, that's because you need experience. Unfortunately, you've had four matches, dude. Your fifth match shouldn't be AEW. Your fifth match should be in Canton, GA in front of 19 people. It is what it is - that's how it works.'"
Marshall has been on The Wrestling Inc. Daily before where he expressed his intent for the Nightmare Factory to be different than the WWE Performance Center. On Talk Is Jericho, he talked about how realistic he is with his students, noting that he does not guarantee his students anything, and he does not want to risk his job and reputation on just giving jobs to his students.
"So, the camp we do with Cody and I, there's 22, and that's a 12-week camp. But then, once we get done with that class, I have a night class, which is before we started this camp system, where we call them 'the lifers,'" Marshall explained. "And they're the more experienced, or the ones that I would use for the shows that we use for AEW if we need extras and stuff. And so, there's probably about 40 maybe total. I mean, it's absurd. When Cody first got there, there was six, and now there's 40 people. And he says it's like a birthday party, everyone just having fun, but they work hard.
"I let them know what is expected. So now, they never ask me if they can get booked because they already know what I'm-- 'Did you get your new gear? Does it look TV ready? Does this, that?' Because I never want to say no, so I just set the expectation so high, as it should be. This took me 16 years to get here. I'm sorry. I'm not just going to hand you something. I know that's terrible to hear. At the end of the day, you can give me all the money in the world. I'm not going risk my job and my reputation."
Marshall named some notable people who have worked at the Nightmare Factory, like Anthony Ogogo and Jade Gargill, as well as former AEW star, Sadie Gibbs. He said he has people like them work together to prevent a newer student from injuring them.
"It was Anthony, Sadie, and now Jade - I just really focus on them," Marshall stated. "Now we do an AEW class too, because if they get hurt, I'd rather them hurt each other. I can't explain to Tony like, 'John X broke Jade's leg.' Like, 'Who's John X and what is he doing?' And then he found out he had one match. But I get in the ring, and I wrestle them all the time. Anthony Ogogo and I had a 15-minute match on the fly a couple weeks ago, and this is how you learn."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.