Hit Row quickly became one of the top acts in NXT when they formed in May 2021.
The group of Swerve Strickland, B-Fab, Top Dolla, and Ashante "Thee" Adonis were heavily featured on NXT television moved up to the main roster in the 2021 Draft when they were selected to SmackDown.
Things took a quick turn in November when B-Fab was released on November 4 and two weeks later, the rest of the group received their releases as well.
Strickland ended up in AEW while Dolla, Adonis, and B-Fab seldom made independent appearances and worked on other projects. On the August 12 episode of WWE SmackDown, Hit Row, minus Strickland, returned to WWE.
Speaking to Will Washington, Phil Lindsey, and Righteous Reg of Grapsody, Strickland gave his thoughts on Hit Row returning to WWE without him.
"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," he stated. "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."
Strickland was quickly signed by AEW when his non-compete clause expired, making his debut at AEW Revolution.
"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," said Swerve.
Top Dolla, B-Fab, and Ashante have referred to themselves as the OG3 as Swerve was added just before they became a television act. Fans can find Top Dolla's comments on Swerve not being part of the group by clicking here.
Swerve is set to team with Keith Lee at AEW All Out as they defend the AEW Tag Team Championships against The Acclaimed (Max Caster & Anthony Bowens). Fans can check out the current lineup for AEW All Out by clicking here.
The full interview with Swerve Strickland is set to premiere at noon ET on Saturday, September 3. Fans can watch at Fightful's YouTube channel.