During a recent appearance on the “Handsome Genius Club” podcast, former WWE NXT producer Ryan Katz commented on the creation of the Hit Row stable in WWE NXT, what role he played in it, and more.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On his role in putting Hit Row together in NXT: “Briana Brandy messaged me years before she ever got hired through social media, as many people had, trying to get opportunities. As I generally did, I usually threw challenges at people. I asked her to cut me three or four different promos based on, I just threw stuff at her. Within a few days, she came back at me and rocked it. It began to open a door and channel of communication at that point. Eventually, she was able to get a tryout. Things didn’t work and she didn’t get hired through that tryout. Through the next year, it may have been 18 months and pushing two years, or persistence and messaging myself and Canyon (Ceman) of ‘here is what I’m working on and what I’m doing. Here’s me training and doing this.’ She was showing us she was hungry and working and trying to better herself and doing more. She got another shot and got hired. I knew Briana’s talent and she has that styles, attitude, swag, vibe, and she came swinging. When I saw that was going on and then, all of a sudden, when Tahuti [Ashante ‘Thee’ Adonis] and Franc [AJ Francis/Top Dolla] were in the mix, it was like, ‘this makes sense.’ Briana is a rapper, Franc is a rapper. Tehuti just looks cool as can be. He has this awesome style and always had cool fashion. He looked like the real deal fashion template and I was like, ‘We just have to aim him to be the producer and he just have to give the ‘yeahs’ and ‘that’s right’ in terms of doing something musical or pretend he’s the one mixing in the chair,’ and that happened.”
On how Isiah “Swerve” Scott (aka Swerve Strickland) got put into the group: “Then, we hired Swerve, he comes into the mix and he’s in the breakout tournament. I remember giving some pitches, even when the very first breakout tournament happened and Swerve was in that, I remember making pitches, in the personality profiles, ‘we should have Swerve chilling at the studio with the three of them,’ it doesn’t mean they are a faction yet, just planting early seeds of, ‘these are his friends and rap crew.’ The ideas don’t always happen, especially when you want them, but through evolutions and changes, adjustments, tweaks, and time and timing, they come into play and Hit Row came to be. Franc killed it with the track, made the killer hook that got everyone in and they had that style, bounce, vibe, and aura, that was killer.”
On if he’s responsible for the group’s theme song: “I’m not. That’s their world at that point. No one can take responsibility in that sense because they are self-starters and go-getters. They are all hungry. They’re working together and making their own videos. That’s part of what the success factor is, for other people listening that are in the business or trying to be in WWE’s business, you have to have that drive and hunger. You have to go for it and present them with what you want to show them and not wait for what they want for you. You have to give them what they don’t know they want yet. In doing, be so undeniable that they have no choice but to say ‘yes.’ It sounds simple and is easier aid than done, but that’s really the secret to success.”
Katz was released from WWE earlier this year, while Hit Row was released back in November.
(h/t – Fightful)