Ever felt like a superstar was being misused or had more potential then they have been able to show? Sometimes, all they need is a swing in momentum. A change of direction. In wrestling terms, a hot tag. This the first installment of “The Hot Tag”, a series where I take a wrestler (or tag team) with minimal momentum and give them a figurative push. My first subject is one of the most buried acts in WWE: The Ascension.
Connor O’Brian and Rick Victor first joined forces in July of 2013, quickly ascending the NXT roster. Only two months after becoming a tag team, The Ascension would win a gauntlet match to become number one contenders for the NXT Tag Team Championship. They would defeat Neville and Corey Graves for the titles in October, eventually transforming into Konnor and Viktor as we know them now. Being booked as world beaters, The Ascension would shred through local competition for close to a year, where they would be defeated by the Lucha Dragons for the NXT Tag Titles. They were promoted to the main roster shortly after, which was the beginning of their woes.
Debuting in December 2014, The Ascension were instantly compared to tag team greats of the past, like The Road Warriors and Demolition. Within only a few weeks, they started to lose credibility as fans only saw them as rip-offs of far better teams. In January 2015, they were laid out by a reunited APA, New Age Outlaws, and NWO. The Ascension seemed incapable of regaining momentum from then on. From being henchmen for Stardust to a suspension for Konnor, The Ascension has become little more than fodder for popular babyfaces to overcome. In 2017, they have won only one match, in which they were part of a 6-man team.
Change In Momentum:
The Ascension have a fair amount of talent that is being underutilized. Viktor is a solid striker and capable of some impressive aerial attacks, while Konnor has the size and strength to overpower his opponents. The key is to play up these strengths enough for fans to notice. Easiest way to embody these traits would be to give their characters a bit more personality and direction. The best place to start is against their current rivals, Breezango.
Having been defeated at Money In The Bank, The Ascension (more specifically, Konnor) can take an aggressive turn. During one of the Fashion Files segments, Konnor is shown seething as he confronts Breezango. Viktor, having a more level head, stands between his partner and the Fashion Police, and challenges them to a rematch. During this rematch, Konnor comes to the ring with a chain in his hand. Fans will see it as a costume prop, but there is more reason to it.
During the match, Konnor will be unhinged, focusing on inflicting pain over winning the match. Only Viktor will make pins, establishing a brain and brawn team. At the end of the match, Breeze will roll up Konnor (similar to their MITB match) to get the win. Konnor will retaliate, while Viktor keeps Fandango from intervening. Viktor will grab the chain that Konnor brought to the ring (see, I told there was more reason to it) and use it to trip Fandango up outside the ring. Then, once they set up for The Fall of Man (which is a really good finisher), Viktor will wrap the chain around his arm, making the impact of his uppercut more devastating and leaving Breeze laid out.
From here, Breeze will be taken off TV, leaving Fandango to attempt to avenge his partner. In doing so, he will recruit the help of lower card babyfaces (i.e. Sin Cara, Luke Harper) to face The Ascension. In these matches, Konnor can continue to look physically dominant and Viktor can use underhanded tactics to get the win. These wins will help The Ascension grow in legitimacy without sacrificing any of the already established tag teams. Eventually, Fandango will team up with a heel (i.e. Erick Rowan, Aiden English) who will turn on him and keep Fandango busy while The Ascension move up in the division.
The Ascension has proven in the past that they can portray a dominant heel team, with power moves and tag team strategies to boot. The problem is with their legitimacy and character focus. If given a chance to build even the slightest bit of character and momentum, they can become dominant once again. The Ascension, it is time for a hot tag.