Hit Row is now getting their chance on WWE’s main roster, albeit sans Swerve Strickland, but Strickland isn’t feeling left out.
Fans were shocked when Hit Row – the trio comprised of Top Dolla, Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis, and B-FAB – returned to WWE programming, making their first appearance for the company since last November. They were cut from WWE in the final batch of sweeping cuts from 2021.
Missing from their side, however, was Swerve Strickland, who was the group’s proverbial leader in WWE and NXT under the guise of Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott. Speaking to Grapsody’s Will Washington, Phil Lindsey, and Righteous Reg, the current AEW World Tag Team Champion gave great praise to the group:
“I’m happy for those guys and I’m happy they got their second chance, I really am. Some people were like, ‘Are you upset about this? They’re back.’ Good, they deserve to be on TV. Now, this is their chance to be them and do what they do or however they want to do. There were times when I would discuss things and they wanted to do it this way, and I was like, ‘Okay, let’s try to mesh this together.’ It was a lot of teamwork and effort and family-type vibes to put these promos together.
I don’t think I brought them up to the main roster, I think we did it together. A lot of people with these comments are trying to separate us and do the dividing thing. No, you’re not going to divide me from my friends. You’re not going to divide me from people that I was really grinding with at the PC [Performance Center] and every week on TV, trying to do something really special and being, literally, probably one of the most creative people in the entire PC because nobody was telling us what to do. We were literally coming up with it ourselves. We did that together to get to the main roster.”
Swerve Strickland continued, explaining how they’re doing their own special thing in WWE while he does his in All Elite Wrestling:
“Now, I’m on a different wavelength with what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m not saying I move at a higher, lower, faster speed than those guys, they’re moving at a great speed, but I’m moving at a speed that is good for me. I’m doing something that is really special and they are doing something that is special over there too. I can’t do what I’m about to do in that environment. Even if I wanted to, I don’t think I would.
There are a lot of things where, WWE is a publicly-traded company. There is a lot of red tape and chain of command you have to go through and get all these things approved before something comes back to you, months later, ‘Yeah, we can do it’ or ‘Nah, that’s a no,’ when I have direct contact with Tony Khan over here, I have numbers, I have schematics, statistics, all these things that back up what I’m trying to do. He goes, ‘Yup, I love it, you’re good, go.’ Why wouldn’t I want that? Why wouldn’t I want to take advantage of that here?
They have a great relationship with Triple H, they really do, and that was Triple H’s choice to bring them back. I’m happy for them and they have a chance to really blow up and do some special things because of the relationship that we had all grown with Triple H at NXT. Now, on SmackDown, the possibilities are endless there. What I have right now with the close relationships and freedom that I have to do it, I’m happy where I’m at and I wouldn’t change that for anybody or any opportunity in the world.”
Hit Row has referred to themselves as The OG3 since making their return to WWE, having been embroiled in a feud with Maximum Male Models. Top Dolla and Ashante Adonis defeated ma.ce and man.soor on the latest Friday Night SmackDown.
Swerve Strickland, meanwhile, debuted for AEW at Revolution this past March. Now aligned with Keith Lee, Swerve captured the AEW World Tag Team Championships from The Young Bucks in July, and is scheduled to defend them against The Acclaimed at All Out.