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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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EOTR Tag Team Tuesdays: The Ascension

By @AmeenKnows

I don't like to be one of those guys who act all high and mighty because they discovered something or someone before everyone else. I remember the early days of the rebranded NXT with the guys like Ricky Ortiz and Oliver Grey and Epico before he was called up to the main roster. The transition to what it has become today is nothing short of incredible. Not many knew of the original Ascension stable from FCW and for good reason, because there was nothing noteworthy they had done. It was made up of Kenneth Cameron, Conor, Tito Colon (Epico) and Raquel Diaz. The stable fell apart by Epico's call up, Diaz distancing herself from the group to be a singles star and the release of Cameron shortly after he and Conor were put on NXT TV.

The current duo of Konnor (Conor) and Viktor would come together in July 2013 and 3 months later they defeated Corey Graves and Oliver Grey for the NXT Tag Team Titles. With teams like The Usos, The Shield, and The Wyatt family being called up, NXT was in desperate need of a standard bearer of the tag team division. So what they did was give The Ascension sort of a Goldberg-esque push. They ran roughshod over local talent and whatever else NXT's creative team could find for them. Their first major defense was against the legendary group from the Attitude Era, Too Cool. Like the rest, Too Cool were brutally beaten which made Konnor and Viktor hungry for more competition. Next up, their best match at that point came against Kalisto and El Local at NXT Takeover and they beat that team too. Kalisto would find a new partner in Sin Cara, and the Lucha Dragons would go on to end the Ascension's 364 Day reign as NXT Tag Team Champions. Afterwards, they entered a feud with Finn Bálor and Hideo Itami and had their best performance to date at NXT Takeover: R-Evolution in a loss. They were called up to the main roster in December of 2014 where they destroyed The Miz and Damien Sandow. Over the next two years, they would be stripped of all momentum and turned into enhancement talent or jobbers.

Where it all went wrong was having Konnor and Viktor cut promos basically telling the fans that they were a knockoff version of The Road Warriors. They were put into situations where they blantantly disrespected the legends like LOD and Demolition when these guys had their own and were nothing like those duos in NXT apart from being the most dominant team in the ring at their time. It also did them no favors that JBL got on commentary every week and basically called them frauds. He never said anything positive about them and that also had a negative effect on them when you take into account that no one's promoting them. In NXT, the commentators feared for the safety of whoever Konnor and Viktor faced. On the main roster, it was like they saw it as these guys won't last and that's one of the reasons why they didn't. After placing them in such a precarious situation, the creative team essentially gave up on them. The team probably wasn't destined to be all time greats and the squash match booking wouldn't have worked forever.

However, where they lacked in the ring as far as being able to wrestle, they had the look, a great finisher and they could tell a good story as two bullies who could take what they wanted because they were stronger than you. That made them fun to watch in NXT because they were so overbearing that you had to pay attention, but when it cane time to put on a longer match, they showed the ability to hold their own. At times they have shown signs of life on Smackdown Live, but WWE creative still has a long way to go in rebuilding their credibility and I believe it may be way too late for that. Only time will really tell.



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