A. J. Francis
A.J. Francis.jpg
Francis with the Washington Redskins in 2017
Born
Anthony Joseph Francis

(1990-05-07) May 7, 1990 (age 32)
Alma materUniversity of Maryland
Ring name(s)A. J. Francis
Suga Bear
Top Dolla
FRAN¢[1]
Billed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[1]
Billed weight330 lb (150 kg)[1]
Trained byBubba Ray Dudley
D-Von Dudley[1]
DebutOctober 25, 2018[1]

Football career
No. 64, 96, 99
Position:Nose tackle
Personal information
Height:6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Weight:337 lb (153 kg)
Career information
High school:Gonzaga College
(Washington, D.C.)
College:Maryland
Undrafted:2013
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:20
Sacks:0.0
Forced fumbles:0
Fumble recoveries:0
Player stats at NFL.com

Anthony Joseph Francis (born May 7, 1990) is an American professional wrestler, musician and former American football player. He is currently signed to WWE where he performs on the SmackDown brand under the ring name Top Dolla and is a member of the stable, Hit Row. He was signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Francis played college football at Maryland. Francis also played for the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins. He was the host of WWE's Most Wanted Treasures.[2]

Professional football career

Miami Dolphins

After going un-drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, Francis signed with the Miami Dolphins on April 30, 2013.[3]

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots claimed Francis off waivers on September 1, 2013.[4] He was released on September 7, only to be signed to the team's practice squad three days later.[5] Francis remained on the practice squad until being re-signed by the Dolphins in November.

Miami Dolphins (second stint)

On November 27, 2013, Francis was signed off the Patriots' practice squad.[6]

Francis was put on injured reserve on August 27, 2014.[7] On November 14, 2015, he was waived by the Dolphins.

Seattle Seahawks

On November 16, 2015, Francis was acquired off waivers by the Seattle Seahawks.[8] On November 24, he was released by the team,[9] but signed to the practice squad two days later. On November 30, 2015, he chose to be promoted to the active roster in Seattle over resigning with the Dolphins to their active roster. On March 8, 2016, Francis signed his one-year exclusive-rights tender deal to return to Seattle.[10]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On May 17, 2016 Francis signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[11] He was waived by the Buccaneers on September 3, 2016.

Francis signing autographs at 2017 training camp.
Francis signing autographs at 2017 training camp.

Washington Redskins

On October 12, 2016 Francis signed with the Washington Redskins.[12] He was promoted to the active roster on November 29, 2016.[13] He was waived on December 10, 2016, and was re-signed back to the practice squad.[14][15] Francis signed a futures contract with the Redskins on January 2, 2017.[16]

On September 2, 2017, Francis was waived by the Redskins.[17] He was re-signed to their practice squad on October 18, 2017, and was promoted to the active roster the next day.[18][19] He was waived on October 25, 2017.[20] He was re-signed on November 21, 2017.[21]

Francis was waived on April 30, 2018.[22] After his release, Francis publicly stated he was grateful that he was no longer a part of team due to the organization's lack of appreciation for him and adding his view that the team's mascot was racist.[23][24]

New York Giants

On May 2, 2018, Francis signed with the New York Giants.[25] He was released on September 1, 2018 and not signed by any other teams in the 2018–2019 season.[26]

Professional wrestling career

Francis signed with WWE in January 2020.[27][28] Francis then made his wrestling television debut on the May 4, 2021, episode of NXT where he aligned himself with Isaiah "Swerve" Scott by helping him defeat Leon Ruff in a Falls Count Anywhere match, establishing himself as a heel in the process.[29][30] The following week, Francis was introduced as Top Dolla and formed a new stable, Hit Row with Scott, Ashante "Thee" Adonis, and B-Fab.[31][32] Despite Top Dolla being drafted to the SmackDown brand along with the rest of Hit Row as a part of the 2021 Draft,[33] B-Fab was released on November 4, and the rest were released 15 days later.[34]

On the August 12, 2022, episode of SmackDown, Francis made his unannounced return to WWE under the Top Dolla name, where he and Ashante "Thee" Adonis defeated two local competitors.[35]

Other media

Francis also serves as the host of WWE's Most Wanted Treasures on A&E.[2]

Personal life

Francis speaking at an Uber event in 2015
Francis speaking at an Uber event in 2015

In April 2015, Francis went viral for signing up to be an Uber driver in the off-season, while playing for the Miami Dolphins.[36]

Filmography

In April 2021, Francis began starring in the A&E series WWE's Most Wanted Treasures as the historical expert where he travels with WWE Legends as they search for lost memorabilia from private collectors, museums and occasionally other WWE Legends.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Cagematch profile".
  2. ^ a b c "Top Dolla says he's still under contract for WWE's Most Wanted Treasures, plans to return for season 2". April 21, 2022.
  3. ^ Prewitt, Alex (April 30, 2013). "A.J. Francis signs with Miami Dolphins, gets engaged on same day". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 7, 2013. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  4. ^ AJ Francis claimed on waivers by New England Patriots
  5. ^ REPORT: PATS SIGN A.J. FRANCIS BACK TO PRACTICE SQUAD
  6. ^ Beasley, Adam (November 27, 2013). "Miami Dolphins sign defensive tackle A.J. Francis". MiamiHerald.com. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  7. ^ "Dolphins place three young players on IR, opening up roster spots". Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  8. ^ "Seahawks Make Roster Moves". Seahawks.com. November 16, 2015. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  9. ^ Boyle, John (November 24, 2015). "Seahawks Re-Sign RB Bryce Brown and Promote WR B.J. Daniels from Practice Squad; Waive DT A.J. Francis and Place LB Nick Moody on IR". Seahawks.com. Archived from the original on November 28, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  10. ^ Henderson, Brady. "Seahawks waive Jesse Williams; A.J. Francis signs ERFA tender". 710Sports.com. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  11. ^ Smith, Scott (May 17, 2016). "Bucs Add A.J. Francis to DT Corps". Buccaneers.com. Archived from the original on September 10, 2016. Retrieved September 4, 2016.
  12. ^ "10/12: Redskins Make Roster Move". Washington Football Team. October 12, 2016. Archived from the original on October 13, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  13. ^ Czarda, Stephen (November 29, 2016). "Redskins Sign Defensive Lineman A.J. Francis To Active Roster". Washington Football Team. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  14. ^ "12/10: Redskins Make Roster Moves". Washington Football Team. December 10, 2016. Archived from the original on December 11, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  15. ^ Czarda, Stephen (December 13, 2016). "Redskins Sign Linebacker Nick Moody, Place Anthony Lanier On Injured Reserve". Washington Football Team. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017.
  16. ^ "Redskins Sign Nine To Reserve/Future Contracts". Washington Football Team. January 2, 2017. Archived from the original on September 3, 2017. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  17. ^ "9/2: Redskins Make Roster Moves". Washington Football Team. September 2, 2017. Archived from the original on September 5, 2017.
  18. ^ "10/18: Redskins Make Roster Move". Washington Football Team. October 18, 2017. Archived from the original on October 19, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  19. ^ Czarda, Stephen (October 19, 2017). "Redskins Place Jonathan Allen On Injured Reserve, Sign A.J. Francis To Active Roster". Washington Football Team. Archived from the original on October 22, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  20. ^ Czarda, Stephen (October 25, 2017). "Redskins Sign Offensive Lineman Tony Bergstrom". Redskins.com. Archived from the original on October 28, 2017. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  21. ^ Czarda, Stephen (November 21, 2017). "Redskins Place Four On Injured Reserve, Sign Four To Active Roster". Washington Football Team. Archived from the original on December 29, 2017. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  22. ^ Williams, Charean (April 30, 2018). "Washington cuts six players, including A.J. Francis, Montori Hughes". Pro Football Talk. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  23. ^ Allen, Scott (May 3, 2018). "'So grateful that I'm out of there': Former Redskin rips team and 'racist' logo". WashingtonPost.com. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  24. ^ "A.J. Francis says Redskins' logo 'racist' after he joins Giants". ESPN.com. May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  25. ^ Eisen, Michael (May 2, 2018). "Giants sign veteran QB Alex Tanney, DT A.J. Francis". Giants.com. Archived from the original on May 3, 2018.
  26. ^ Eisen, Michael (September 1, 2018). "New York Giants announce 53-man roster". Giants.com.
  27. ^ Kelly, Omar (January 14, 2020). "Former Uber-driving Dolphins player A.J. Francis signs with WWE to become pro wrestler". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. South Florida, Florida: Tribune Publishing. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  28. ^ Melok, Bobby (January 14, 2020). "Mercedes Martinez, Jake Atlas and more report to WWE Performance Center". WWE. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved May 22, 2021. Anthony Francis is a 6-foot-5, 330-pounder with five years of NFL experience under his belt. The former defensive tackle played for the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins.
  29. ^ Garretson, Jordan (May 4, 2021). "WWE NXT results, May 4, 2021: The Way dethrone Shotzi & Ember as NXT Women's Tag Team Champions in jaw-dropping Street Fight". WWE. Archived from the original on May 5, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  30. ^ Currier, Joseph (May 4, 2021). "AJ Francis and Anthony Henry debut on NXT". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Archived from the original on May 15, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  31. ^ Garretson, Jordan (May 11, 2021). "WWE NXT results, May 11, 2021: Raquel Gonzalez, Kushida retain gold after fierce challenges". WWE. Archived from the original on May 14, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021. Flanked by Top Dolla, Ashante "Thee" Adonis and B-FAB, Isaiah "Swerve" Scott introduced the NXT Universe to Hit Row, putting the rest of the black-and-gold brand on notice.
  32. ^ Lambert, Jeremy (May 11, 2021). "Isaiah 'Swerve' Scott Officially Introduces Hit Row On WWE NXT". Fightful. Archived from the original on May 12, 2021. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  33. ^ Powell, Jason (October 1, 2021). "10/1 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell's review of the first night of the WWE Draft, Belair vs. Sasha Banks, Edge returns, fallout from Extreme Rules". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved October 2, 2021.
  34. ^ "Eight more WWE stars released, including John Morrison and all three members of Hit Row". Wrestlingnews.co. November 18, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  35. ^ Powell, Jason (August 12, 2022). "8/12 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell's review of Gunther vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the Intercontinental Championship, Liv Morgan and Shayna Baszler contract signing for WWE Clash at the Castle, Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah vs. Xia Li and Shotzi in a WWE Women's Tag Title tournament match". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved August 13, 2022.
  36. ^ "A.J. Francis, Dolphins defensive tackle, moonlights as an Uber driver". ESPN.com. June 9, 2015. Retrieved August 10, 2015.