Shaquille O'Neal's attention-grabbing AEW debut ended on a big spot on 3 March, as the towering NBA legend was driven through a table when Cody Rhodes dived over the top rope, onto the Shaq, and to the outside.
It was a high-impact bump for somebody to take in their first proper wrestling match. This is particularly true for somebody like Shaq, who was 48 years old at the time and stands at 7'1". Nonetheless, it happened, and clearing the ring allowed O'Neal's partner Jade Cargill (also debuting that night) to pin Red Velvet.
While Shaq's pre-match training program has been well-documented this year, QT Marshall has now offered insight on how he ensured O'Neal wouldn't back out of the table bump after initially bringing it up.
Speaking with Digital Spy, the Factory man and AEW coach revealed that he lied to Shaq, telling him there'd be a mat under the table:-
“He said something about maybe going through some tables and I told him, ‘Oh it won’t be that bad, we’ll put a really thick pad underneath,’ which was not true. I just didn’t want him to back out of it. So it was a lot of fun, as soon as he came in the back, right away, he said, ‘You lied to me! There was no pad under there!’ That’s wrestling , welcome to wrestling.”
O'Neal had teased working a match several times in the years prior to his AEW debut. A feud opposite WWE's Big Show was rumoured on multiple occasions but never came to fruition, despite a showdown between the two in WrestleMania 32's Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
AEW hasn't yet teased Shaq vs. the former Show now that Paul Wight is contracted to the company.