AEW star QT Marshall was on a recent episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast where he discussed his many roles backstage in AEW, and he talked about his short time in WWE and Ring of Honor. He first talked about the time his WWE tryout was revoked in 2015.
“They offered me the tryout at a SmackDown. I was an extra at a SmackDown,” Marshall recalled. “Regal pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, in September, you’ll come down and yada yada yada.’ At the time, Danny Cage, who owns the Monster Factory, brought in Gerald Brisco to do a different tryout that he does every year. I think what happened was Gerald had sent four names in, and he’s only supposed to send one collegiate wrestler. And he ended up sending a bunch, and they just took mine out. So I was real livid at the time.”
Marshall also recalled his conversations with William Regal where Regal was upfront about how Marshall’s age, 30, was a factor in why WWE was not interested in signing in full time. He admitted though that not signing with WWE was “the best thing that never happened.”
“I still have the emails too,” Marshall said. “I asked Regal, ‘Hey what’s going on? I had the tryout. Now it’s taken away.’ I guess I led him to the answer. ‘Is it because of my age?’ And was like, ‘Yes, unfortunately. We’ll still use you as an extra.’
“Even at the SmackDown, he said, ‘If we hired you, how many people would order The Network for you,’ because that was when they were pushing The Network, and I was like, ‘My mom [and] my dad. They might even share their password.’ I didn’t have an answer, and I specifically told him, ‘If you’re telling me that I can’t work here because of that, but I’m good enough to work here, I can live with that deep down.’ Hey, as long as you can tell me my work is great, I’m happy with that, but then I guess he felt bad.
“So maybe that’s he did the whole ‘well, we’re going to give you the tryout.’ I don’t know what the reason was. [The Rock] always talks about the NFL being the best thing that never happened to him. Same with me. It was the best thing that never happened because it made me go all in on wrestling.”
Marshall said he was later booked as an extra at NXT where he was set to face Akam of Authors of Pain in a handicap match. He talked about why he did not want to do the match, especially after having neck surgery.
“I got booked as an extra at NXT, and they wanted me to work with the Author’s Of Pain. And I said no because I didn’t have anything to lose, except my life and my career, [because they’re super big and super green],” Marshall revealed. “It was a two on one. It was me and another extra vs. this one guy, and I remember Scotty 2 Hotty came up. He was the agent.
“He’s like, ‘Hey, it’s going to be you two guys,’ and I’m looking around. And I asked the guy. He’s a nice guy too, but I could see. He had already hurt somebody. Actually, he hurt the guy that we just signed, Anthony Bowens, because he powerbombed one guy onto Anthony Bowens’ his head. I said to him, ‘Hey, what moves do you think you’re going to do to us?’ He was like, ‘Well, what does it matter?’ I was like, ‘Well, I was just curious’ I was trying to politic.
“He was like, ‘Oh I’ll probably do this and then a powerbomb, and I’ll powerbomb the other guy onto you. ‘The short of it was I literally just looked at him and was like, ‘Oh, okay.’ I looked at Scotty, and I was like, ‘Nope not doing it.'”
Marshall said that he would have rather been put in there with a Bobby Roode or someone else that he can make look good. He noted that he only made $200 for the booking and did not want to risk injury noting that the person who took his spot also got hurt.
“The kid who took my place got hurt,” Marshall pointed out. “He put him in a headlock, and he just picked him up and threw him into the aisleway. He didn’t mean to do it, but he’s just so strong. I remember telling Matt Bloom because he said, ‘We specifically chose you for this spot because you can sell.’ I was like, ‘Well, I really appreciate it, but here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to take these moves, and I’m either going to get up and be okay and I’m gonna make $200, or I’m never going to walk again and I’m gonna make $200.’ To me, it’s just not worth it.”
Marshal then looked back to 2011 where he was offered a contract to ROH. He noted that while the higher ups were all in on getting him signed, there was backstage heat that hurt him.
“When I first started with Ring of Honor, they offered me a contract,” Marshall recalled. “I did a tryout. It was like a paid tryout, it was a two-day tryout, but by the end of day one, it was Jim Cornette at the time, Delirious and Kevin Kelly, and they were like, ‘Hey, as long as you show up tomorrow, you got a job.’ And I was like, ‘Oh that’s great. Cool. I had never been in a big company before, so I didn’t know the politics of this, that and the other, and right away, I didn’t make any friends.
“I always goof around, and I ended up making a joke to someone like this kid hurt me, bad. I made them look really good. It was Jimmy Jacobs’ guy. So I knew he had all these friends. So I made him look really good because he did Brazilian Capoeira wrestling. He kicked me in the head maybe five times, and I gave an Alabama Slam. And I kind of hurt him, but I checked on him.”
He talked more about cutting a promo on the world champion but noted that was only a backstage thing that didn’t make TV and was only something that people wanted to see from him. He said injuries started to pile up and things were not going well in his personal life, which led to him asking for his release. He revealed that he was only making $150 a match, which he pointed out isn’t something to live off of.
“I finally just asked for my release. I hated it that much where I was just like I don’t want to be here,” Marshall stated. “I’m making $150 a match. When they gave me the contract, I didn’t laugh, but I said, ‘Is this real?’ And they’re like, ‘What do you mean? This is what the contract is.’ I’m like, ‘$150 a match? We work three times a month. That’s $450. It doesn’t pay for my car,’ and they’re like, ‘What kind of car do you drive?’ It’s like, ‘It doesn’t matter what kind of car I drive!’ It’s a Cadillac by the way, but it doesn’t matter. This isn’t a real job. I need to have my normal life. It’s the realities of wrestling. So when that happened, I asked for my release. They wouldn’t give it to me because I guess Shelton Benjamin had just asked for his release too.”
Marshall described his stints in ROH as “interning” there noting that Kevin Kelly had him do commentary for Women Of Honor. However, he would also sit in production meetings and learn about that side of the business.
“I used to, I call it, interning at Ring of Honor,” Marshall described. “I had opened a school, and I wanted to learn because I thought I could never wrestle again because the WWE told me that they weren’t going to hire me because of my neck injury. So I was like s–t. Well, I don’t know what else to do. I’m good at running restaurants. I can do something. I’m just not going to enjoy it for the rest of my life.
“So long story short, I decided to open up this school with my wife in Georgia, and I started going to Ring of Honor shows because of Kevin Kelly. I knew him really well, and he was a big fan of mine back when. And he was like, ‘Just do commentary for Women Of Honor. That’ll be the reason you’re here, but while you’re here, sit in the production meetings. Pay attention and learn as much as you can,’ and I was like great.”
Marshall said that while he was under contract with ROH, he took bookings as an extra for NXT. He noted that the episodes would air when his contract would expire. However, he got a call from now former ROH executive Jeff Jones called him about taking the booking, which led Marshall to point out that he asked for his release that was never granted.
“I was in Florida, and NXT called,” Marshall said. “They needed someone. They were just starting to use extras, and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m under contract — when the episode airs, I won’t be under contract anymore, but I am right now,’ and the girl at the office was like, ‘Hey, if you don’t care, we don’t care.’ And honestly, at the time, I was like, I don’t care.
“She’s like, ‘And I’ll book you for the next six that you’ve asked for’ because I was like, ‘Hey, my contract’s about to be up. I see you’re in all these dates for extra work.’ So of course right away, I do the match, and it’s a taped NXT show. Before I’m even out of the ring, my phone’s blowing up. Jeff Jones, who was working at Ring of Honor, ‘Stooge’ Jeff Jones.
“Right away, he’s like, ‘Are you doing something you’re not supposed to be doing?’ I was like, what are they going to do? Take $150? Fire me. I asked for my release. Then when the WWE thing didn’t work out, I was like, ‘Aw, that was dumb.’ That’s a little stupid, but I was young, and Delirious, at the time, he understood. He was like, ‘Hey man, legally, I have to be mad at you because you breached your contract, but your contract is up in two weeks. It is what it is. Don’t worry about it. We’re just not going to re-sign you as a punishment,’ and I just continued to work for them on and off after that.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.