The WWE returns keep on coming in, as Top Dolla, B-Fab and Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis of Hit Row made their return to WWE after being released back in November.
The trio obviously returned with Swerve Strickland, the original leader of the group, who is now signed to AEW as one half of the AEW World Tag Team Champions alongside Keith Lee.
Top Dolla (AJ Francis) appeared on Busted Open Radio today, where he discussed the group’s return to WWE, noting how he never stopped talking to Triple H even adter his release.
“Even when Hunter was not in NXT, even when we went up to SmackDown, even when we got released, I never stopped talking to Hunter. We had talked a lot already about hopefully working together in the future. I sent him clips of the stuff we were doing. I sent him clips from GCW, ACW in Trinidad, and clips of me and [Ashante] working together as a tag team, letting him know the band was still together. Swerve being added to Hit Row was a Hunter call. Hunter added Swerve to Hit Row because he already saw what we had been doing for a year and was like, ‘This is a good opportunity to debut a faction instead of a tag team with a manager.’ It was cool, it was a good idea, it clearly worked, but Hunter saw it when it was just the three of us. He knew what we were capable of from jump,”
Top Dolla continued on, explaining when Triple H reached out to him to gauge interest in a return.
“When he gets the reigns and is like, ‘I want to bring my guys back,’ we were one of his top priorities to get back because he knew what we could bring to the table. About a week and a half ago, he hit me up and was like, ‘How are the rest of the guys?’ ‘We’re good.’ None of us wasted time this whole time. I was on tour, I did shows in New Orleans and LA for music, wrestled at GCW, MCW, ACW. [B-Fab] lives in Columbia, so she was doing her thing down there, modeling. [Ashante] was doing acting stuff in Atlanta and LA, model stuff. We never stopped training and being ready. He was like, ‘How fast can I act and get you guys here?’ This was on Wednesday of last week. ‘If you really want us, we can be there tomorrow.’ We ended up having a Zoom call with him, the three of us, and planned out what would happen the next couple of days. This week, we got physicals and contracts. I don’t know how the story broke that I was going to be there, but I knew it wasn’t somebody with all the information because they didn’t know [B-Fab] was going to be there, which we played into. When Me and [Ashante] came through the curtain, you thought it was just going to be us, and we had [B-Fab] come through last. ‘Yeah, she’s here too.’ She’s an important part of the group,”
Top Dolla spoke about how he was grateful that Triple H reached out to them to return, as the list of names he could have brought back was rather large.
“It was a really cool process because Hunter…there are a million people Hunter could run back. The list is hundreds of people long that are talented performers that were released in the last five years that are still young and able to do these things. A million people he could bring back, but he called us. That made me feel, not just special, but grateful. That’s why I will sing his praises to the high heavens. Everyone in the world thinks they know who I am. Everyone in the world thinks I’m hard to work with. People who never worked with me had one conversation with me and felt they could talk down to me like I’m not a 30-year-old man. I told them about themselves and then they get in their buddy’s ears like I’m hard to work with. In actuality, I’m not hard to work with, I’m hard to fool. You can’t tell me something you’re not going to stand on. That’s how I was raised.”
Reports emerged following Hit Row’s release back in November of Francis being ‘hard to work with’ during his time in the company. Triple H told them that it was now a ‘clean slate’ ahead of their return.
“In the conversation I had with Triple H, he was like, ‘I don’t know what happened before, and to be honest, I don’t care. It’s a new place. I want you to understand that you have a clean slate. There are no hard feelings on this side, I hope you come with no hard feelings on your side.’ It was a breath of fresh air. I was down when we got released. Hit Row was hotter than anything in wrestling. Period. I don’t care who you are, get your feelings hurt if you want. When we got release, I feel we had something great and it turned into ashes in my hand. It made me stop watching wrestling for the first time in my life. I went eight months without watching wrestling,”
Finally, Top Dolla spoke about how he watched SummerSlam and felt reinvigorated by the show.
“I told Triple H ‘thank you,’ it’s probably the only word he thinks I know, because I told him ‘thank you’ like six times yesterday. ‘Thank you so much.’ He knows the real me. He did Most Wanted Treasures with me. He saw me in a non-wrestling sense. He saw me not with ‘the boys in the locker room’ sense. He’s seen me and knows how I really am as a person. He knows that all that talk about me being hard to work with and being difficult is bullshit. He was willing to put himself and his neck on the line to be like, ‘these guys are talented. I want them back,'”
A report from Fightful states that the returns ‘won’t be stopping soon’ as Triple H continues to bolster the WWE roster following him taking over creative.
transcription via Fightful
If you’re in the UK but didn’t manage to get tickets to Clash at the Castle on September 3, WrestleTalk is hosting a watch party at The Joiner on Worship in Shoreditch, London, and we’d love for you to join us! Click here for more details.
- Rumored New WWE Signing Vacates Championship
- Dolph Ziggler First Post-WWE Match Confirmed
- AEW Star Calls Out Triple H Following Controversial WWE Affiliate Comment
- Top WWE Star Pulled From Shows After Legitimate Injury
- AEW Star Responds To Claim They Were Punished For Social Media Conduct
- WWE Star Lexis King Reacts To Fans Calling Themselves ‘Lex Offenders’
- WWE Star Going ‘Back To The Drawing Board’
- CM Punk To Make Big WWE Announcement
- TNA Wrestling Departure Confirmed
- Dominik Mysterio Blacks Out Social Media Following Title Loss