A.J. Francis spent five years in the NFL before signing with WWE in 2020. Over a year later, he debuted on "NXT" as Top Dolla and became a member of Hit Row alongside B-Fab, Ashante "Thee" Adonis, and Isaiah "Swerve" Scott. The group was brought up to "SmackDown" rather quickly in the 2021 WWE Draft in October, however, WWE released all four members in November. While speaking to Ryan Satin on a recent episode of "Out of Character," Top Dolla reflected on how he felt when he received the devastating call.
"Disappointment, shame," Top Dolla said. "I’d worked to get to that point, and being the fastest call-up ever in "NXT" history to then be released a month later… Honestly, I didn’t know that this would happen. I had no assurances that I would be back in WWE again. So I felt like the two years that I had spent in "NXT" to get to that point was just a waste of my time because I was going to have to do something else now."
Following his release, Top Dolla said it was a blessing that he always stayed in contact with Triple H, even if it wasn’t regarding wrestling. When he saw Dakota Kai and IYO SKY return at SummerSlam, he thought that maybe Hit Row could return to WWE, and then he got the call two days later. The trio of Top Dolla, Adonis, and B-Fab officially returned to WWE on the August 12 episode of "SmackDown."