TNA's AJ Francis Says He's Following In The Path Of These Current & Past WWE Stars

Former WWE star AJ Francis has revealed the two stars he has tried to emulate following his release from WWE. 

The former Top Dolla is not been resting on his laurels following his WWE release last year as he began appearing at MLW and later in TNA Wrestling, recently winning the TNA Digital Media Championship. In a new interview with "Busted Open Radio," the former Hit Row mouthpiece said that he is following in the footsteps of two prominent WWE releases.


"I followed [Matt Cardona's] blueprint ... and guys like Drew McIntyre," Francis said. 

In the case of Cardona, he's been away from WWE but is a constant main event presence on the independent scene. McIntyre was released from WWE in 2014, only to return to WWE with great success, which has seen him become a world champion since rejoining WWE. Francis says he's still in touch with McIntyre, and the former WWE Champion is impressed with his work ethic.

"[Drew] was like, 'You're showing them that you've really got it. Rule number one: believe in yourself. If I didn't believe in myself, I wouldn't be here right now. Find ways to apply that,'" Francis recounted. 

Francis believes he still needs to "find [his] own way" despite having the blueprint and recommendations of his former WWE colleagues. He was previously released from WWE in 2021, only to return to the company under a year later alongside most of his Hit Row compatriots. Francis was then let go again in 2023, immediately diving into his current schedule with TNA, MLW, NWA, and other independent promotions.