Former WWE Star AJ Francis Explains That Hit Row Was Real - And That Was The Problem

AJ Francis — formerly WWE's Top Dolla — has detailed the issues that caused Hit Row to not be a success in WWE.

Francis expressed frustration with the way WWE looked at the hip-hop group while talking to Eric Bischoff on "Strictly Business," reasoning that they were the first authentic rap characters and the company didn't know how to handle them. 

"I've been trying to push wrestling forward. I've been trying to do that," he said. "Even R-Truth, R-Truth said himself, he don't like to involve his hip-hop. He told me himself, he don't like to involve hip-hop in his character because his character is not the kind of hip-hop artist that he actually is. Hit Row was the first hip-hop act [where] It wasn't a stereotype. It was very real. It was very authentic. It was real. B-Fab literally went on tour with Juicy J. I literally had three albums. It was real, and that was the problem. I genuinely believed that was the problem. That every other hip-hop act in wrestling, the way it's digested ... that's just not real hip-hop. So it's like when you try to give something to people that don't understand and appreciate what you're doing, they're not gonna accept it." 

The former Top Dolla bemoaned the limited opportunities the group had on the mic, especially considering vocals were a crux to their presentation. "There's a microphone in the middle of the Hit Row logo and we never got the mic. So it's like, how can you be a rapper without a mic?"

Francis has embarked on a solo journey after the Hit Row group was dissolved with his release from WWE last year. The group had a stuttered tenure on the main roster across two runs after originally breaking out in "WWE NXT.