A Q.T. Marshall Story
The Wrestler: A Q.T. Marshall Story is a solid documentary showcasing the journey of Q.T. Marshall trying to break into the professional wrestling industry, even if it’s not as technically well-crafted as it could be. The emotional journey meanders for most of its 74-minute runtime, but the last twenty minutes really pulls it together both emotionally and thematically as it captures the real-life problems that circulate trying to achieve your dreams at a point in your life where it might be too late.
Q.T. “God’s Gift to Wrestling” Marshall is now a successful professional wrestler, and this documentary is filmed over the course of 2015 to 2017 (by my estimation) and instantly tries to establish Marshall as our underdog. He works a day job, has made cameos on WWE, and leads a wrestling “workshop” of sorts to train others in the sport. We understand his hopes and see the struggle, and it’s when we get to the dinner scene with his wife and mom that it all really comes into fruition.
As Marshall explains to both us and them, being a professional wrestler is being an independent contractor (freelance). You can’t just jump into it and hope for full-time work and expect it all to work out, but this is also such a demanding profession both physically and with time. In short, he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place and age 30 is just over the horizon. As someone who recently made the decision to enter freelance full-time, it was mesmerizing to see someone stuck in a similar situation and how they tackled the problem, setting goals and realistic expectations.
It’s these final twenty minutes that really make the film and I think you can almost watch them on their own. The other fifty-four minutes are a bit hard to follow without much knowledge of the wrestling scene as nothing is really explained, and the choppy editing, loose throughline only elevates, and extremely shaky footage only elevate the problem. I understand that the production value is usually extremely low for independent documentaries, but a much tighter edit would have helped the film as a whole grow into its potential.
But with those aspects of the craft aside, the content is still fascinating with an inspiring real-life message. That’s a documentary I can get behind.