The Ascension, comprising Viktor and Konnor, was one of the best teams from the golden era of NXT, but their main roster call up essentially ruined their run and they were eventually released by WWE.

While speaking to Ringside News’ Steve Fall, Viktor talked about the team’s time on WWE’s main roster and how backstage politics impacted their run. He mentioned that in their second week, JBL approached them to explain the direction WWE wanted to take with them.

JBL clarified that it wasn’t personal, but rather something designed to generate heat. While Viktor had known JBL for a while and found him to be generally supportive, he was surprised by this approach.

Konnor seemed more aware of the backstage politics, but Viktor admitted he didn’t fully understand what was happening. They were told by WWE officials that the goal was to generate heat, but Viktor believed the company underestimated how well the audience already knew them from NXT.


“I don’t think we knew it happened. Um, in all honesty, like, the second week, I think JBL walked up to us, and I remember him explaining, ‘Hey, this isn’t, like, personal. This is what they want me to do—trying to do this to help you guys get heat.’ I was like, ‘All right, okay,’ because I’d known JBL for a while, like, I’d met him at OVW, and he was always cool to us and stuff. And I was like, ‘What do you mean? What’s going on here?’ I think Konnor knew about it and I didn’t. Um, and so, like, we just kind of said, ‘Whatever,’ and rolled with it.”

Viktor noted how The Ascension’s first live event after transitioning to the main roster was at Madison Square Garden, which was significant for them, especially as it came after the NXT Arrival pay-per-view. Viktor described it as a dream come true for any wrestler. They were scheduled to work with Los Matadores and were informed by Michael Hayes that Vickie Guerrero would introduce them to help get them heat, suggesting the main roster audience might not be familiar with them.

However, when Vickie did her usual boo-inducing entrance and introduced The Ascension, the crowd cheered them with a major pop. Viktor recalled being genuinely surprised by the crowd’s enthusiasm, realizing that NXT’s reach was broader than he’d expected.

“I mean, all the explanations they gave us at that time were, you know, ‘We’re trying to get you guys heat,’ but really it was like they didn’t pay attention to the fact that the crowd was watching NXT, and they knew us from NXT. And, I mean, the first time we ever came up was, I think, right after that pay-per-view you were talking about. We just had, like, a live event, and our first ever live event to go to was at Madison Square Garden. Pretty awesome, right? Like, that’s something wrestlers dream of doing. And we’d been screaming to go, you know, do live events with the main roster and stuff, and so that was our first one, and it was right after Arrival.

“So we’re working the Colons, like the Matadors, and Michael Hayes comes up to us and he says, ‘Hey, I’m gonna have you guys go out there with Vickie Guerrero so that Vickie Guerrero can get you guys some heat, just in case they don’t know who you are.’ We’re like, ‘All right, cool. That’s awesome. Like, no problem there, right?’ Like, that’s—I love Vickie Guerrero, super sweet. Um, but it just showed that they didn’t think the people knew who we were, and, I mean, as we were walking up to the building, people knew who we were. Like, it surprised the hell out of me.

We didn’t know how far, you know, NXT had kind of reached within the WWE Universe, let alone to reach Madison Square Garden, and there we were. And even then, it was pretty nuts because, you know, Vickie goes out to do her entrance, her intro for us, and she gets booed like mad, of course, doing her thing, right? And then when she introduces us and our music hits, that place popped. Like, it wasn’t like boo—it was like an awesome pop, which, like, I don’t know, it’s the last one I remember ever getting.

Despite this positive reception, Viktor noted that WWE didn’t seem to fully recognize the popularity NXT had, leading to a disconnect between the two brands. He believed this lack of awareness contributed to the failure to capitalize on the momentum The Ascension had built in NXT.

Viktok also mentioned that Vince McMahon wasn’t particularly invested in NXT, which may have contributed to this oversight. The general lack of connection between NXT and the main roster ultimately led to the underutilization of many talents, including The Ascension.

“So, I mean, like, that’s the one that I always remember, and it was like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s pretty awesome.’ Sorry, I just got to get my due inside. But that was, um, yeah, but that was just like how it was. Like, they didn’t know, you know, how far the NXT Universe was reaching at that point in time, and we didn’t know. And, I mean, if they did know, they sure weren’t letting us know, and they didn’t act like they knew. So, yeah, that’s the best explanation I can give for why I think a lot of those things happened at that time, and why the ball was dropped—not only with us, but with so many others afterward. It just kind of was a disconnect, bringing the two worlds together, like, Vince wasn’t really that much into the NXT product, so he didn’t have anything invested in it.”

The Ascension will forever be remembered as one of WWE’s biggest failures as they had so much potential to succeed on the main roster. Nevertheless, fans still hope they might return to WWE again one day.

Do you also feel WWE totally dropped the ball on The Ascension on the main roster? Sound off in the comments section below!

Please credit Ringside News if you use the above transcript in your publication.

Subhojeet Mukherjee

Subhojeet, a professional wrestling fan for over 20+ years, found his passion during the Monday Night Wars. With expertise honed over decades and a broad spectrum of interests including TV, movies, anime, novels, and music, he offers insightful analysis and coverage. Respected in the industry, Subhojeet keeps fans informed and engaged with his knowledge and perspective.

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