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

(1990-05-07) May 7, 1990 (age 33)
Alma materUniversity of Maryland
Ring name(s)A. J. Francis
AJ Francis
Suga Bear
Top Dolla
FRAN¢[1]
Dolla
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]

American 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 · PFR
Websiteajfrancis.me

Anthony Joseph Francis (born May 7, 1990) is an American professional wrestler and former American football player. As of January 2024, he is signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). He also makes appearances for Major League Wrestling (MLW), where he is a member of World Titan Federation. He also performs on the independent circuit. He is best known for his tenure in WWE, where he performed under the ring name Top Dolla as a member of the stable Hit Row.

Francis played college football at Maryland. He was signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2013 and also played for the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins.

Professional football career

Miami Dolphins

After going un-drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft, Francis signed with the Miami Dolphins on April 30, 2013.[2]

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots claimed Francis off waivers on September 1, 2013.[3] He was released on September 7, only to be signed to the team's practice squad three days later.[4] 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.[5]

Francis was put on injured reserve on August 27, 2014.[6] 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.[7] On November 24, he was released by the team,[8] but signed to the practice squad two days later. On November 30, 2015, he chose to be promoted to the active roster in Seattle rather than re-signing with the Dolphins to their active roster. On March 8, 2016, Francis signed his one-year exclusive-rights tender deal to return to Seattle.[9] He was waived on May 9, 2016.[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.

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.[26]

Professional wrestling career

WWE (2020–2021)

See also: Hit Row

Francis signed with WWE in January 2020.[27][28] Francis 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 SmackDown along with the rest of Hit Row as a part of the 2021 WWE Draft,[33] B-Fab was released on November 4, and the rest of Hit Row were released 15 days later due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[34]

Independent circuit (2021–2022)

Following his release from WWE, it was announced that Francis and the rest of Hit Row, minus Scott, would begin wrestling on the indies, under the team name, The HitMakerZ.

They would reunite at MCW’s Spring Break event, where Francis and Miles defeated Boom Hayden and Clay Jacobs.

At Game Changer Wrestling’s For The Culture event, Francis and Miles would lose to the team of Shane Taylor and O’Shay Edwards.

Return to WWE (2022–2023)

On the August 12, 2022, episode of SmackDown, Top Dolla made his unannounced return to WWE with Hit Row where he and Adonis (accompanied by B-Fab) defeated two local competitors.[35] On the December 16 episode of SmackDown, Top Dolla and Adonis won their first main roster championship opportunity for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship by defeating The Viking Raiders and Legado Del Fantasma in a triple threat tag team match but failed to defeat The Usos for the championship.[36][37] On the January 6, 2023 episode of SmackDown, Top Dolla was defeated by Ricochet in a Royal Rumble qualifying match. After the match, Hit Row attacked Ricochet.[38] Hit Row were drafted to the SmackDown brand in the 2023 WWE Draft.[39] On September 21, Top Dolla was again released from his WWE contract along with a host of other WWE superstars.[40]

Return to the independent circuit (2023–present)

In December 2023, Game Changer Wrestling (GCW) announced Francis' return to the promotion at Look At Me on January 26, 2024.[41][42]

At the GCW Holiday Special, Francis would attack Joey Janela. This would lead to a match between the two at Look At Me, which Janela won.

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2024–present)

On January 13, 2024, Francis appeared at Hard To Kill under his real name, attacking Joe Hendry and marking his debut for Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling.[43] On March 14 episode of TNA Impact!, he would defeat Hendry with the help of Rich Swann,[44] with the duo now called First Class.[45]

Major League Wrestling (2024–present)

On February 17, 2024 at Burning Crush, Francis made his debut for Major League Wrestling (MLW) debut in a pre-taped vignette, calling out Alex Kane and was revealed as the newest member of the World Titan Federation. On night 2 of Intimidation Games, Francis made his MLW in-ring debut, defeating Mr. Thomas.

National Wrestling Alliance (2024)

On March 2, 2024, Francis made his debut for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) at Hard Times, defeating Bryan Idol in a no disqualification match.

Music career

On October 13, 2017, dropped a music video on his YouTube channel by the name of Olympic Gold featuring an artist by the name of J-Lew and the song is actually featured on A.J. Francis debut album by the name of "O.T.A" that has made it on ITunes / Apple Music.[46][47] On March 15, 2022, A.J. Francis was featuring in a music video by the name of Digits alongside music group Swerve City which has former Hit Row member Isaiah "Swerve" Scott in it.[48]

On March 6, 2023, Hit Row was partially fully reunited as a music video was dropped where it was musical artist Monteasy featuring A. J. Francis (aka FRAN¢ / aka Top Dolla), Rich Latta, Swerve Strickland (aka Swerve The Realest / aka Isaiah "Swerve" Scott former member) & Briana Brandy (aka B-Fab) dropped a music video by the name of Price Went Up.[49][50]

On July 21, 2023, three members of Hit Row by the names of B-Fab, Top Dolla and Ashante "Thee" Adonis dropped a freestyle single by the name of Barbie Barz.[51][52]

Other media

Other digital appearances
Video games

Personal life

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.[55]

Francis said that he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in December 2022, with his blood sugar level at 626 mg/mL.[56]

Championships and accomplishments

References

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  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ AJ Francis claimed on waivers by New England Patriots
  4. ^ REPORT: PATS SIGN A.J. FRANCIS BACK TO PRACTICE SQUAD
  5. ^ Beasley, Adam (November 27, 2013). "Miami Dolphins sign defensive tackle A.J. Francis". MiamiHerald.com. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  6. ^ "Dolphins place three young players on IR, opening up roster spots". Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved September 20, 2014.
  7. ^ "Seahawks Make Roster Moves". Seahawks.com. November 16, 2015. Archived from the original on November 20, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Henderson, Brady. "Seahawks waive Jesse Williams; A.J. Francis signs ERFA tender". 710Sports.com. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  10. ^ "A.J. Francis". Footballdb.com. Retrieved December 21, 2023.
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