AJ “Top Dolla” Francis was seen as a star by Vince McMahon before WWE released him and his entire Hit Row crew. He was said to have plenty of heat with the company, but Vince believed he was the breakout member of the group. The vision was for Top Dolla to be the top guy in Hit Row.
Top Dolla had a bit of heat on him backstage. The official reason given for all releases was “budget cuts,” but many seem to believe Top Dolla’s heat led to his firing. He also called the office upset over B-Fab’s release.
As it turns out, WWE loved AJ Francis’ size and personality. Dave Meltzer discussed what the company was thinking on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio. It sounds like regardless of the work of the other members of Hit Row, Top Dolla was going to be the one to elevate the others.
“I know it sounds really weird [to release all of Hit Row when Top Dolla was the only one with heat on him] but here’s the thing, he’s the one that Vince saw as a star. The other guys just came along with the package. Ashante Thee Adonis was just a guy that they put in the group. It’s not like he’s a great wrestler.
He’s just a guy, but he got put in the group and that’s what could have made a career for him — because that’s what Xavier Woods was, I mean not to say Xavier Woods isn’t very good now, he is very good. When Xavier Woods came along, he was just a guy and the group became a big star and he became a big star in the group.
That was the best possible thing for Ashante, except for unlike the New Day where the are around for years and years and years these guys got fired right away. But they thought AJ Francis was the star because he’s the star because he’s the big guy and the big personality.”
After Hit Row member B-Fab was released, the company toyed with different ideas for the team. Ultimately, those ideas were scrapped. The remainder of the stable was let go on November 18.
Who do you think was the breakout star of Hit Row? Share your opinion in the comments!
Transcription by Ringside News