You might be surprised to learn that QT Marshall wasn’t always viewed as an “elite” wrestler but you get a better understanding of what it took for him to make it in wrestling in The Wrestler: A Q.T. Marshall Story.
Director Frank Zarrillo gives us an in-depth look at Marshall’s (Michael Cuellari) attempt to climb the ranks to earn a shot with WWE, his place in the wrestling world and how things might not work out the way he dreamed. Zarillo and Marshall first linked up in 2015 and shortly after that started filming the documentary, a chronicle of Marshall’s day job as a Snap-On Tools vendor for his step-father (The Restocker, as he puts it) and his desire to still make it big in the wrestling business.
It’s worth noting that so much in Marshall’s career has changed since the completion of this project (available on Amazon now), about a year before All Elite Wrestling was even an idea. Marshall was a New Jersey-area wrestler that had a modest following, working with the World Famous Monster Factory and getting a short run with Ring Of Honor while he chased the dream of making it to WWE.
While I had known who Marshall was, seeing him at sporadic events in the area, I never really knew why he didn’t make it past the stint with ROH. The Wrestler: A Q.T. Marshall Story gives you that answer, with Marshall and co-coach (and Monster Factory owner) Danny Cage telling it like it is—Marshall squandered the opportunity with ROH because he looked past it.
Talent was not the issue in his case—the documentary features praise from names like Matt Riddle, Luis Martinez (aka Damien Priest), Kevin Owens, Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino—but Marshall made the mistake of thinking ROH was a pit stop to WWE instead of seeing it as an opportunity.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—the dude could wrestle a turd and make people pop. The guy is a stud. – Matt Riddle
Much of the documentary is spent focusing on Marshall’s family life and an upcoming WWE tryout, talking about how important it was to such a talented individual. Gerald Brisco was also featured in the film as he was hosting a guest seminar at the Monster Factory around the same time Marshall learned he was getting a tryout. As it turns out, Marshall’s tryout ended up being revoked and he learned of the situation during a closed-door meeting with Cage in the film. While it’s one of the only major things that wasn’t permitted on camera (Ring Of Honor didn’t allow filming for an unexplained reason), it’s understandable to a point as Marshall was dealt a crushing blow after preparing several weeks, if not months, for this opportunity.
While QT Marshall didn’t reach the initial goals he set for himself, you wouldn’t know that based on how successful he’s been in 2020. Marshall’s story is definitely a cautionary tale, showing that not everyone makes it, but it also provides inspiration in the fact that you should not ever give up on your passions, no matter what.
It what could be an epilogue to his story, Marshall did finally ‘make’ it with AEW after leaving New Jersey and restarting his life as a coach at the 1 Fall Power Factory in Georgia. Zarrillo spent nearly two years with Marshall in creating the film, and he said seeing QT on TV now is a very gratifying feeling.
“He really is a good person. He trusted me enough to tell his story and he opened up his network, his years of sweat equity in the business to me and my Big F Pictures team. But he truly deserves to be where he’s at,” Zarrillo said, “and I couldn’t be prouder to have played a small role in it. No matter what project I do next, this one will always have a special place in my heart.”