Tehuti Miles says he, AJ Francis & Briana Brandy were told they were going to be featured on ‘NXT Evolve’

Tehuti Miles looks back on the group formerly known as 'Hit Row' and recounts several stories in relation to their time in WWE

Photo Courtesy: WWE

Tehuti Miles looks back on Hit Row’s time in WWE.

The group known as Hit Row consisted of Swerve Strickland, A.J. Francis, Briana Brandy and Tehuti Miles. They were formally introduced on NXT TV in May of 2021 and along the way, the group added a championship when Swerve became North American Champion.

One month after being drafted to Friday Night SmackDown, all four members were released from the company. Tehuti Miles, formerly known as ‘Ashante Thee Adonis’ was a guest on The Angle Podcast and he looked back on the formation of the group that dates back to when it was just Brandy, Francis and himself, collectively known as The HitMakerZ.

Miles feels that the powers that be in NXT did not have full trust in them as a trio. He felt that they constantly proved themselves while at the Performance Center.

You know, to be honest, I don’t think they really trusted us a group, the three of us as a group [A.J. Francis, Miles & Briana Brandy]. For whatever reason, I don’t know because you can watch all the P.C. live matches and all the promos. You can watch all our stuff and to show you that we’re nice with this. We’re not playing around.

I wish that things would have happened a little sooner but everything happens for a reason, the timing is what it is… But I don’t think they trusted it at first, you know, for whatever reason, I don’t know. They put some people right on TV without even testing them but for us for some reason, you want to spend a year to see if we got it and we’ve been proving it to you every single week. I don’t get it, but that’s what I’m saying. People — I never got anything handed to me. I’ve had to work for everything while I’ve watched people literally just come in and get handed stuff. So, I’m not saying no names. I’m not talking about just wrestling, I’m talking about football too and the military. Like literally, just yeah. It just is what it is. It sucks but it is what it is.

He went on to recall a new show being in the works titled ‘NXT Evolve’. Miles, Francis and Brandy were told that they were going to be featured on the program and also be spotlighted on the main NXT platform as Swerve Strickland’s clique.

Miles expressed that they were all equals and recounted the first opportunity they got on TV and making the most out of it.

They were coming up with some new show called NXT Evolve or something like that and they were like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna put you guys,’ three of us on NXT Evolve and then, ‘We’ll have you guys with Swerve on NXT,’ stuff like that and they wanted us to be like Swerve’s posse or something like that and then we’re like, ‘Nah. Yo, we’re all equals,’ you know what I’m saying? So I don’t know if they really trusted it at first but eventually, they did and that’s when we did that first promo when we were wearing all red and we literally showed them, like look, we’ve been ready for this. I really don’t think people know or I don’t even think that they knew at the time how prepared we were. We literally had a year. We’d been doing it over a year, you know what I’m saying? I don’t think they understood how prepared we were.

Diving into their main roster call-up, Tehuti confirmed that the group was told that A.J. Francis was going to be the singles talent while he and Swerve would be the tag team.

When we got to SmackDown, they told us that they actually wanted me and Swerve [Strickland] to be the tag team and for A.J. [Francis], they wanted A.J. to be the singles competitor because A.J.’s a big dude, which is cool. We can do anything, seriously. We can be singles competitors, we can all do it, you know? Whatever they needed us to do.

They received feedback from both Vince McMahon and Paul Heyman during their stint on SmackDown. Miles stated that McMahon and Heyman said they were going to make money and have fun with Hit Row, with McMahon adding that the goal at the start of their run was to just get the group over.

The whole time we [Hit Row] were on SmackDown, I’m hearing it multiple times from Vince McMahon and multiple times from Paul Heyman being like, ‘We’re gonna make a lot of money with you guys, we’re gonna have a lot of fun with you guys’ and that was multiple times that they both said that so, yeah, and I remember Vince saying the goal was to ‘get you over right now.’ It wasn’t like a storyline or anything. It’s just to get us over and stuff which we were gonna do anyway because our promo is always good.

NXT 2.0’s secondary show is called ‘Level Up’ which is taped before the USA Network program. Tonight’s NXT 2.0 is the go-home show before ‘In Your House’ on June 4th.

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Angle Podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions. 

About Andrew Thompson 3890 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.