On a recent episode of AEW Unrestricted, Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone sat down with QT Marshall of The Factory. Marshall discussed his wrestling journey, and he explained how he got his wrestling school started up.
“I always wanted a job in wrestling, and I was doing really well in New Jersey. I was coaching at The Monster Factory, kind of volunteering because a wrestling school isn’t really a moneymaker, but it’s more of a passion project,” Marshall noted. “So I was doing that, and then I had my normal job. And then I decided, man, I really don’t like this normal job. I hated it. It’s not something I want to do every day for the rest of my life.
“So I talked to my wife. We decided to move to Atlanta. I had talked to a bunch of people down there that owned facilities, kind of let them know what I was going to do. They all basically decided not to do business with me. That was even more chips on the shoulder and my goal was always to be such a good coach that I would get a job with probably the WWE, that’s kinda the only place that you could really make a living at. So 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 have gone to who would have been Glacier, my business partner when we first started. So we call it ‘The Power Factory’ because Power Plant is where he was from and then 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 skirts, all the whole works. So this way, when you walked in, you’re like, wow, look at this place, and then luckily, I was able to partner with Chip Smith, who has the NFL training facility, and he gave us some space. And then we started running local shows out of that space.
The Nightmare Factory was used for TV tapings for AEW during the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic. Marshall revealed how much it cost him to recreate that set-up for his students.
“When the pandemic hit, I remember they were talking about venues and stuff. And they’re like, well, we just need basically a little studio, and we had shut down our facility for sports training,” Marshall recalled. “And they said, ‘Do you think this is an option?’ I was like, ‘Well, if you have Keith, our amazing production crew come by, they can take a look and see what they think.’ And they were in there for two minutes.
“And they’re like, ‘Oh yeah, this could happen.’ I remember just walking in and seeing the way they set it up with the big screen and the lights, and so now, I’ve spent about $40,000 on my own money trying to recreate, which if you look on Cody’s Nightmare Family YouTube channel, you’ll see our student showcases, which are basically modeled off of the Dynamite’s that were filmed at our facility.
“Obviously, having all of those athletes ready to at least do enhancement matches, some of them got a little more, some of them didn’t get anything at all, it was really cool. It was a proud moment for us to just walk in there and also know that I was able to help out because when I was kind of broke and just training wrestlers, AEW, they helped me out, and they gave me an opportunity. So it was really nice to be able to give them the opportunity to be able to keep the show running because I remember hearing Tony Khan say how much it would cost if we didn’t have life content.”
Marshall explained how Cody Rhodes got involved with The Power Factory and the switch to The Nightmare Factory.
“So Cody started using the facility to train and do his strength training with my wife, whose his coach, and conditioning, all that stuff,” Marshall said. “And then I offered him the school. I said, ‘Would you want to have this school? It’s kind of cool. You’re the EVP. It could turn into something more, and I’m kind of, not done with it, but I don’t need it. I have a job now.’ And then he was like, ‘Well, this is what I would want to do with it,’ and I told him, ‘If it’s something you’re really okay with, let’s do it. I think it could be really good for AEW, also our pockets. It’s extra money. Even if you just give the money to Brandi, it is what it is.’ He said, ‘Alright, well, I have this idea. I want to put the logo on the wall, and let’s dress everything up.’ And 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. He said, ‘Well, we’ll just put my brand with your brand, and we’ll put them together.’ I never used him or Brandi when I was training Brandi to advertise. I never put their pictures on there. I never said, hey, come meet Cody, because 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 just teach them how to wrestle and hope that they realize, oh, wow, this isn’t really that easy.
“But if we put in hard work and we do all this stuff, and then it’s good too because Cody has a lot of different philosophies than I have. He’s more about the etiquette and teaching people how to speak to each other when it comes to putting a match together. And he’s very diplomatic about it, and I’m not at all, but I’ve learned now. I’ve learned it’s not that serious.”
Many of claimed that Marshall is only in AEW because he is friends with AEW EVP Cody. A fan asked Marshall if he can ever rise about that claim.
“I’ll never be able to rise above it. I realized that a long time ago,” Marshall admitted. “In fact, I went out there on national television and said, ‘I’m always going to be known as Cody’s friend.’ It bothers me a little bit, but at the same time, they’re not there at 6:00 in the morning when I’m working side by side with Tony, and I do think if it wasn’t for Cody, I wouldn’t have had the chance. I opened the doors for my students.
“He opened the door for me, but I could still be his assistant, making that money that I was making as his assistant or I could have done what I did, which was look around and realize, wow, this is a startup. There’s a lot of stuff that needs to be done that if you’re not telling people to do it, they might not get done. So let me do it, and then when I ask for my reward, which was always going to be to be a wrestler. I always knew, okay, I’m going to ask for this, but let me get enough brownie points in the bag that I could turn around and say, hey, well, look what I’ve done for you. This is all I’m asking for. Just give me one shot.
“I’ll never be able to get that away, and honestly, he is my friend, and he’s a good friend. We might not see eye to eye on everything, but he’s my best friend. So screw that, and honestly, looking at our whole entire roster, somebody had to vouch for you to get in here. That goes for any job. Even all the extras, I had to vouch for them. The extras that turned into jobs like Max Caster, someone vouch for him. Anthony Bowens, someone had to vouch for him.
“That’s just how wrestling works, and that’s how life works. It’s not about who you know or what you know, it’s who’s willing to say they know you. If you’ve got someone willing to say they know you, and they’re in a prominent spot, they’re gonna do it because it’s probably going to benefit them as well. I’m sure Cody wanted to help me, but he also knew that putting me as his assistant, letting me assist him, I might be good at something.”
Another fan asked Marshall if he has any plans on adding more members to The Factory.
“Well, I think the biggest thing we’ve been talking about is possibly adding a female,” Marshall revealed. “Before she signed with Mark Sterling, Jade Cargill would have been the first choice because she trains at the factory, but we wanted her. She’s got a lot going for herself.
“We kind of wanted to let that go, but there’s a lot of extra talent that comes in that I think if they were just taught the right things at the right times, they have a lot of potential, and that’s what happened with Aaron Solow. I didn’t train him from scratch. He’s been around for 13 years, but he just needed the proper guidance, and that’s where his opportunity came in.
“There are some people out there, but I think adding a female to the group would really help us out. There’s been a couple on Elevation and Dark that are not affiliated with any other factions in AEW. So we’ll see. It’s just about getting them to make sure they understand what it means to be a part of The Factory and that literally means that you have no problem stepping on anyone and everyone to make it to the top.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.