Swerve Strickland Recalls Vince McMahon Scolding Hit Row
Hit Row ran afoul of Vince McMahon during their brief WWE main roster run
It was one of the more surprising WWE releases of recent times when Hit Row were let go from their WWE contracts mere weeks after being called up to the main roster from NXT.
During a recent appearance on Talk is Jericho, former Hit Row member Swerve Strickland (fka Isaiah Scott) revealed how the group got scolded by Vince McMahon early in their brief run, and how things unravelled quickly during their time on main:
"They had the match and everything, Edge was one of the first people to greet us in the back. Like, ‘We need this product, we need this on this brand, this is the great content that we need, it’s young, it’s hip.’ We were like, ‘Oh, cool.’ Then the following week, I forget what city we were in, but we flew out. We did another backstage promo with New Day, without Big E. Big E was on Raw with the WWE Title. Then the week after that we were getting flight information, and then Briana (B-Fab) didn’t have any," he began.
“We were like, ‘Wait, what’s going on?’ So, AJ (Francis) called to make sure everything with the flight info was good. They said ‘No, everything is good, she’s not needed this week.’ Then on the flight, literally mid-flight coming down, your phone starts buzzing and everything. We see that she’s released along with a bunch of other releases, and all that stuff. We were just like, ‘Oh, what?’ Especially as a female that can talk with the guys in the group, this is our Nicki Minaj right here. That kind of put a dampener on a lot of things.”
However, AJ Francis’ call to management was allegedly a big no-no for WWE:
“AJ apparently him calling and asking about flight information for Briana was like a no, no, and stuff. So, we had a talk with Vince, and Prichard, and Laurinaitis like in the hallway of the arena,” Swerve continued. “It was like a little bit of a scold session. But, at the end, it turned into being like, ‘Oh, don’t worry, we have a lot of fun stuff,’ and Vince starts laughing.
"Basically, just AJ, we wanted to travel together just making sure everybody was good. That’s like our sister, but it was mainly on AJ and stuff, and it was like, ‘No, you don’t do that,’ but it turned into a positive way of like, ‘This is what you’re going to do tonight, something with Sami Zayn. It’s going to be awesome, it’s going to be fun.’”
Francis (fka Top Dolla) caught a lot of flack online for a rap about Jinder Mahal which was deemed as culturally and racially insensitive, and Swerve thinks it didn’t help their case:
“Then AJ did a social media rap thing, and it was deemed offensive. He used an Indian instrumental beat, and it was deemed offensive, and he didn’t get clearance for that. You know the red tape you’ve got to go through to clear certain things you want to do individually on a social media platform. Jinder approved it, he thought it was funny, he thought it was great, he was like, ‘Yeah, sure.’
“But, they didn’t get approval. Then we were getting travel for Survivor Series, then it went away. It got back that we were doing just SmackDown, and that was it. Then that went away, and we were doing SmackDown, Raw, and Survivor Series. Then, literally, an hour later we got calls from Laurinaitis saying we’re all let go. So, it was just really weird.”
As for why the group was released, Swerve has his theories:
“They say it was just the heat within that. I guess there was contract negotiations with B, that I don’t know about. I think everybody individually had different things they felt like overall, there’s no point in having the whole group together if there’s going to be this person, this person, this person. So, they just throw the whole thing away, they were done with it,” Swerve said.
H/T: Wrestling Inc.