AJ Francis Interview: Joining WWE NXT, "Most Wanted Treasures", Playing In The NFL, More

You're clearly a diehard wrestling fan. How awesome was it to be able to participate in a show like this and interact with the icons you mentioned?

Francis: It's funny because even when I was in the NFL, if you asked any one of my teammates that I played with and spent time with outside of the facility what my dream was to be, they wouldn't say win a Super Bowl. They wouldn't say make the Pro Bowl. They would say be WWE champion. This has always been the 10,000 pound elephant in the room. This is WWE, this is what you want to do, this is where you want to be.

To borrow a wrestling term, how do you not mark out while filming the show?

Francis: Who says that I didn't? [Laughs] I marked out any time I met any one of them. To be honest with you, one of the coolest moments of my life... so, here's a little backstory. My first training at the WWE Performance Center just happened to be the day they were in there filming for The Undertaker's Last Ride documentary. It just worked out that way. My first day in the ring, I trained with The Undertaker. I had already been trained and had matches on the indies, but in WWE, my first day, I'm with The Undertaker. I'm thinking that it can only go down from here. Fast forward to shooting the show, the first person I shot with on the show was The Undertaker. We pull up to where we're going to be working that day. He says, “Hey, AJ, what's up?” In my mind, I'm thinking, “Oh my god, Undertaker knew who I was. I can't believe it.”



Since 2008, Graham has been a diehard pro wrestling fan and, in 2010, he combined his passions for WWE and writing when he joined Bleacher Report. Equipped with a master's in journalism, Graham has contributed to WhatCulture, FanSided's Daily DDT, Sports Betting Dime, and GateHouse Media. Along the way, he has conducted interviews with wrestling superstars like Chris Jericho, Edge, Goldberg, Christian, Diamond Dallas Page, Jim Ross, Adam Cole, Tessa Blanchard, Ryback, and Nick Aldis among others.