A.J. Francis and Ashante “Thee” Adonis appeared on Busted Open Radio to talk about their release from WWE.
Francis on being released from WWE:
“We know that we are talented. There’s not much really more we could have done to prove that we belonged. When I get released, and WWE Hall of Famers are the first to reach out to me and say, ‘Man, I don’t know what they’re doing’, then I know I did something right.”
Mark Henry asked them if they feel they got heat when they were there that may have led to their release or if they did something detrimental to them being there:
Francis said, “They got mad that when Briana got released, I called up to the office and said, ‘I don’t understand why you would release Briana.’ We were a foursome group. You take Briana out of the group, and yea, we’re still cool, and yea, we can still do all the same things, but we’re just every three man wrestling group. They were upset because when they took Briana out of the group, they wanted to redo the song, so they did a remix of the song, but the song doesn’t sound the same without her part of it. What we did was we went into the studio and we made a new song. I guess they were upset that we made a new song, but we’re a rap group. How are we a rap group if we can’t make a song? Like then we’re just wrestlers.”
Francis added, ‘People want to bring up the fact about the song that I released for Jinder and Shanky on Twitter that people got mad about, but Jinder Mahal himself not only loved the song, but said, and I have the proof of it, but said that I said nothing wrong in the song. This is Jinder saying this. The whole point of it was the fact that we were in a feud together and we were trying to get more juice in the feud. Me and Jinder are cool. That was the whole point of it. When people are like, ‘The beat you used was insensitive’, the beat I used is call Beware by Panjabi MC, which is the most famous Indian sample in the history of Indian Hip Hop, and when I picked the beat, Jinder Mahal was sitting right next to me in the locker room when we formulated the plan to do this. For people to be upset with me and think that’s a reason why we got fired is ridiculous because even Jinder himself went and talked to them and said, ‘It’s not like that. We planned this out together.”
Ashanti Adonis said, ‘That’s just people thinking they know everything and they really don’t. Personally, I’m very much a to-myself person. I’m quiet most of the time, very opposite of what I present on TV. My real personality, I’m very to myself. I actually do like being alone and to myself in my zone. I know I was like that at work as well. I don’t see how I would have heat with anything at all, so I don’t understand it.”
Francis told us about an incident that happened before the SmackDown show:
“I’m a 31 year old grown man. I’ve accomplished a lot of things in my life. People in this business like to treat you like you’re a little kid all the time. As a black man in America, if I would have showed my frustration and anger in situations in the two years I was there, I would have been fired two years ago. I made a point to never do that even when people would constantly disrespect me and us with things they say, and they don’t understand what they’re saying, but we internalize it. Like, what do you expect from us? Do you want us to just sit on our hands and let you say whatever you want to say go me about whatever you want to say because you can?
He continued, ‘When we were on SmackDown, we did the segment with Sami (Zayn). We were rehearsing the segment. The audio was really loud in the arena. I politely asked, ‘Do you think we can turn down the audio in the arena a little bit just so that the people in the arena, because they were playing music, so that the people in the arena could hear what we were saying and we could get a reaction from it.’ I don’t know what was said, but something was said about me over the headset that was so disrespectful, that three different producers who heard it on the headset came up to me and apologized to me afterwards, even though I didn’t even hear what was said. Clearly something was said that was very wild and disrespectful because they felt the need to apologize to me for something I didn’t even know. If I would have heard it and said anything back, then I’m disgruntled, and I’m aggressive, and I’m the angry black man. It’s unfortunate the way that things shape out, but at the end of the day, I’m not telling nobody to never watch WWE again. I’m going to watch WWE. I’m not sitting here pretending that I’m not. I watch everything. But also, that’s not the end all, be all. That’s not where we have to be, to be successful. We are more than capable of going anywhere in this world and making the same impact.”
If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit Busted Open Radio with a h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription. Busted Open Radio can be heard on SiriusXM’s Fight Nation (Channel 156), Monday through Saturday from 9 am to Noon eastern.