Saturday marked one year since AJ “Top Dolla” Francis attempted a dive spot in a Triple Threat tag match on the Dec. 16, 2022 WWE SmackDown. The former football player didn’t come close to clearing the top rope, flipping over and hitting back-first on the apron — rather than onto the opponents assembled on the floor to take the move.
At the time, he explained that one of his legs gave out on him when he went to jump, and posted a clip of him successfully doing a similar dive on the indies while good-naturedly defending himself. It led to months of on-screen jokes about the botch being directed at Francis, mostly from lead announcer Michael Cole.
Compilation of Michael Cole roasting Top Dolla. pic.twitter.com/19L6l9GM1d— kelsey (@itsmekelsey_x) June 17, 2023
In response to someone who reposted video of the spot on its anniversary, Francis revealed that the incident was life-changing... and quite possibly life-saving:
The botch saved my life. I made that dive a dozen times before, legs felt off but I didn’t think about it. After I failed I went to the doc & found out I had Type II diabetes & my blood sugar was 626.
I almost lost my life & was about to lose both feet. The botch saved my life.
He also explained that the diabetes diagnosis was the reason he committed to losing weight over the past year:
Yes it is… that’s why I was drinking so much water and losing so much weight.
I took all the jokes in stride knowing that I almost died but I’m the asshole somehow
Francis — who was one of many released by WWE back in September, and who will be free to work & sign anywhere as of this week — thanked his Hit Row teammates & others who were aware of his health issues and kept it quiet until he was ready to talk about it publicly. Now he’s feeling and looking good, and aiming for a big 2024: