Brian Damage, Jamie Lithgow & Craig Wilson
The WWE roster is filled with “superstars” at every level. There are the main roster guys who regularly appear on Raw and SmackDown, those who are used as glorified jobbers and those who are barely used at all. In this series of pieces, we will take an individual wrestler barely used and decide if they are worth keeping or should they be let go. Today we decide if we Book or Cook Konnor and Viktor of The Ascension..
Brian: I really had high hopes that the Ascension would really catch on on WWE’s main roster. They had the look and the size that Vince McMahon really seems to like and they were coming off a pretty successful run down in NXT. When they came to the main roster, they were tweaked a bit and made into a modern day Demolition or Road Warrior type of tag team. Still doesn’t seem like a bad idea.
Fans almost immediately rejected them and Vince seemed to grow tired of their shtick quickly. They were essentially killed off in a segment on Raw when the New Age Outlaws and the APA roughed them up. Ever since then, the Ascension have been comedic foils to other tag teams without actually being funny. They were paired up with Stardust to form Cosmic Wasteland…but that has seemingly gone nowhere as well. What went so horribly wrong?
Jamie: The phrase ‘big fish in a small pond’ comes to mind. They looked like monsters in NXT, and to be honest that’s all they really could be. They were never going to transition well because WWE has shown time and time again that they don’t really care about tag teams. The New Day and The Usos have managed to get over through to hard work and making the most of limited opportunities, and are now reaping the rewards. However, The Ascension were/are not the type of team to get over by themselves; they need opponents to bump for them and make them look good. This requires thought and considerations from bookers who – from outward appearances – do not care about tag team wrestling.
In their current guise as face painted hard men I’d have to cook them. That schtick just doesn’t work in a company that refuses to book them as per their gimmick. What else could they do though? I like Viktor, and from rare glimpses Konor seems to have good comic timing…
Brian: A team like the Usos and Los Matadores are perfect bump takers to make the Ascension look good. I see your point, the WWE really fumbled the ball with them right out of the gate. It seems unfair. There is a ton of potential there that isn’t being utilized. Perhaps if they split them up…is there potential for either as singles stars or even forming other tag teams with different partners and gimmicks?
Craig: I’m with Brian, I had high hopes too and have previously written about them and their influences. Sure their shtick was a total throwback but that’s not a bad thing. What has been a bad thing has been the way they have been booked. If the WWE wanted them to be a big deal they could have easily done it. A team like Los Matadores would have been perfect foil for them as would destroying pairs of local jobbers – ala Ryback – for weeks on end.
Jamie’s remark about big fish is very apt though. In NXT they did look like giants as they towered over opponents but the size difference was far less noticeable on the main raster and I can’t help but wonder if there lies the problem. Another problem is undoubtedly the lack of interest from the WWE, and that’s certainly how it looks, in tag team wrestling. A shame, undoubtedly, but is there really much defence in booking these guys? After all, they’ve recently appeared here and there on NXT invariably in losing roles…
Jamie: The fact that they have lasted this long on the main roster, while still using the same gimmick, just proves the lack of interest shown in the tag division. The powers that be seem to have just forgotten to get rid of them. If nothing else they are now finally starting to exude the same type of aura as Demolition…. circa 1991.
Brian: I am going to reluctantly cook them…not because they can’t get over, but simply because the WWE doesn’t seem willing to try.
Craig: It’s difficult to really see a way to book them, isn’t it? It’s not that I don’t think there’s something there – it’s just that I don’t think the WWE think there is something there. Think a cook might be the best thing for them.
The consensus seems to book to cook Konnor and Viktor. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
You can read all previous ‘Book or Cook?’ pieces here.