The Ascension (professional wrestling)

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The Ascension
The Ascension WM31 Axxess.jpg
Viktor (left) and Konnor (right) in March 2015
Tag team
Members Konnor/Conor O'Brian
Viktor/Rick Victor
Name(s) The Ascension
Heights Konnor:
6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Viktor:
6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Combined
weight
487 lb (221 kg)
Former
member(s)
Kenneth Cameron
Tito Colon
Raquel Diaz (valet)
Ricardo Rodriguez (manager)
Debut August 28, 2011
Years active 2011–present
Promotions FCW
NXT
WWE

The Ascension is a professional wrestling tag team signed to WWE consisting of Konnor and Viktor, performing on SmackDown Live brand. The Ascension was formerly a stable from 2011 to 2012. The Ascension originally started out in Florida Championship Wrestling as a stable consisting of Conor O'Brian, Kenneth Cameron, Ricardo Rodriguez, Tito Colon and Raquel Diaz. After several membership changes, Konnor and Viktor became established as a tag-team in NXT. Their 364-day NXT Tag Team Championship reign is currently the longest in the history of the title. From September 2015 to early 2016, The Ascension were paired with Stardust to form a stable known as "The Cosmic Wasteland". This did not last long and was disbanded as Rhodes left the company, leaving Konnor and Viktor battling lower mid-card obscurity since.

History[edit]

Florida Championship Wrestling (2011–2012)[edit]

On August 28, 2011, Ricardo Rodriguez announced the formation of a stable called The Ascension, with members including Kenneth Cameron, Conor O'Brian, Tito Colon, and Raquel Diaz. The first match to include all members in some capacity came on September 1, 2011, and saw Cameron, Colon and O’Brian, accompanied by Diaz, defeating CJ Parker, Donny Marlow, and Johnny Curtis.[1] On September 30, Cameron and Colon had a shot at the Florida Tag Team Championship but lost to then champions CJ Parker and Donny Marlow.

By October, The Ascension was no longer associated with Rodriguez, as video packages promoting The Ascension with new darker characters only featured the other four Ascension members without Rodriguez. By the end of November The Ascension had all but disbanded, as O'Brian fell to injury and Colon was called up to WWE to team with his cousin Primo (see Primo & Epico), meanwhile Diaz became Queen of FCW and distanced herself from the group. This left Cameron as the sole survivor of The Ascension and he continued to use The Ascension gimmick during his appearances. However the disintegration of the group would prove to be beneficial for Cameron as he would go on a three-month singles winning streak, beating the likes of Jiro and Calvin Raines until he finally lost to Colin Cassady on February 23, 2012.

On March 15, 2012 Cameron was accompanied to the ring by the returning Conor O'Brian in his match against Byron Saxton; the match ended in disqualification when O'Brian interfered. Cameron and O'Brian began wrestling as a tag team using the name of The Ascension, with their first tag team match together coming on March 23 when the two defeated Jason Jordan and Xavier Woods. The Ascension suffered their first loss when the pair lost to the Florida Tag Team Champions Corey Graves and Jake Carter in a title bout.[2] After this loss, the Ascension would go on another winning streak including winning a fatal four way elimination against the teams of Adam Mercer and Chad Baxter, Jason Jordan and Mike Dalton, and Brad Maddox and Rick Victor.[3]

NXT (2012–2014)[edit]

On June 20, 2012, The Ascension made their debut on NXT, defeating Mike Dalton and CJ Parker with their double team finisher, Downcast.[4][5] They would later enter a rivalry with the Usos, with the Ascension getting the better end of most of the encounters between the two teams.[6][7][8][9] The Ascension also defeated another main roster team in Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel on the October 3, 2012 episode of NXT.[10] However, the team was disbanded after Cameron was released from his WWE contract on November 30, 2012 after being arrested.[11]

From there O'Brian worked as a singles wrestler, keeping the Ascension gimmick on his own for some time. Following O'Brian's victory over Alex Riley on the June 5, 2013 edition of NXT, Rick Victor appeared on the ramp, getting O'Brian's attention.[12] Victor would officially accompany O'Brian to the ring as his partner in the Ascension on the July 3 edition of NXT as O'Brian defeated Andy Baker. After winning a gauntlet match to determine the number one contenders for the NXT Tag Team Championship,[13] the Ascension defeated the team of Adrian Neville and Corey Graves on the October 2 edition of NXT to capture the titles.[14] On the 8th of November the two were renamed, Connor O'Brian renamed to Konnor and Rick Victor renamed to Viktor.

For the majority of their title reign, The Ascension would battle and dismantle local wrestlers in mere minutes with very little to no offense from their opponents. Their first major title defense was against Too Cool at NXT's first live event, NXT Arrival, where they emerged victorious. The Ascension began demanding competition in the weeks following, moving up from local wrestlers to various combinations of teams made up from contracted NXT wrestlers. While still disabling and annihilating their opponents week after week, they were confronted by a team of masked wrestlers; El Local and Kalisto, who challenged them for their tag team titles at the second live event, NXT TakeOver. Though they were given their toughest challenge to date, The Ascension successfully defended their gold after hitting Fall of Man on Local.

The Ascension had a cameo on the main roster on the September 9, 2014 episode of Main Event to promote their upcoming title defense, defeating Los Matadores in a match to promote their title defense against The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) at the NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way event. At the event, The Ascension lost the titles to Kalisto and Sin Cara, ending their reign a day short of a full year. That same night, they were in an altercation with William Regal and the debuting Hideo Itami. After feuding with and assaulting Itami for several weeks, a second international wrestler, Finn Bálor, joined Itami in his fight against both Konnor and Viktor. This led to a match on December 11 at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution, where The Ascension were defeated by Itami and Bálor.

Main roster (2014–present)[edit]

In the main roster, The Ascension changed their look, similar to The Road Warriors.

The following night on SmackDown, vignettes began to air promoting The Ascension's call-up to the main roster. They were promoted to the main roster on the December 29, 2014 episode of Raw, defeating The Miz and Damien Mizdow.[15] On the January 2 and 9 episodes of SmackDown and the January 5 episode of Raw, The Ascension easily defeated local preliminary wrestlers in less than a minute, and also cementing their heel status after comparing themselves to prominent tag teams of the past including The Powers of Pain, The Road Warriors and Demolition.

By the second week of their main roster run, Mike Tedesco of wrestleview.com lambasted how WWE had made the Ascension lose all credibility for two reasons: firstly, they openly admitted being "a rip off of The Road Warriors and Demolition", and secondly, all the commentators (including the heel commentator) disparaged the Ascension as "nothing compared" to the older teams they were copying.[16][17] On the January 19 episode of Raw, the Ascension confronted the reuniting New World Order members Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and X-Pac. However, the Ascension were then interrupted, attacked by and laid out by two other past-generation teams: the Acolytes Protection Agency and the New Age Outlaws.[18] At this point, various critics were labeling the writing for the Ascension's main roster storylines to be that "it seemed WWE gave up on [the Ascension] in week two of their main roster run", with WWE making "a mockery of the push every single week" with "criminal booking".[19][20] The storyline culminated in the Ascension defeating the New Age Outlaws at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.[21]

"The Ascension were amazing in NXT then the WWE dropped the ball when they moved them up to the main roster. I have sympathy for Konnor, Viktor. They toiled so hard over the years in NXT and then the main roster management just ruins everything they have worked so hard for. A crying shame to be sure."

John Powell of SLAM! Wrestling, in naming the Ascension as 2015's worst tag team in wrestling[22]

On the February 12, 2015 episode of SmackDown, the Ascension's main roster winning streak (since their call up) ended in a tag team turmoil (gauntlet) match; they entered against Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns and were eliminated via disqualification.[23][24][25] On the February 23 episode of Raw, the Ascension suffered their first pinfall loss on the main roster, courtesy of the Prime Time Players.[24][26] Although they defeated the Players in a rematch on the next week's episode of Superstars, the Ascension's fortunes then vastly declined; between early March to the end of July 2015, they appeared regularly on Main Event and Superstars, and scored televised wins over only one team (Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow), as teams like Los Matadores, the Usos, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, the New Day, and Luke Harper and Erick Rowan won matches involving the Ascension. Meanwhile, during this period, the Ascension lost 10 and 12 times (on television) to the Prime Time Players and the Lucha Dragons respectively.[23]

At WrestleMania 31, Konnor and Viktor made their WrestleMania debuts in the André the Giant memorial battle royal, with neither of the duo winning the match. In May, The Ascension started a feud against Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel and defeated them at Payback pre-show. At Elimination Chamber on May 31, they participated in an Elimination Chamber match for the tag titles, they eliminated Los Matadores and the Lucha Dragons until they were eliminated by the Prime Time Players. On the July 9 episode of SmackDown, The Ascension interrupted Randy Orton, before Orton attacked them. On the August 27 episode of SmackDown, The Ascension lost to The Dudley Boyz, after which Viktor was put through a table. On the September 3 episode of SmackDown, The Ascension attacked Neville as he was making his way to the ring against Stardust, aligning themselves with him in the process and thus forming a group known as "The Cosmic Wasteland", where in Stardust calls The Ascension his "henchmen". At Night of Champions Stardust and The Ascension defeated Neville and the Lucha Dragons in a six-man tag team match in the pre-show, but were subsequently defeated in two rematches. On the Survivor Series Kickoff, The Cosmic Wasteland, The Miz, and Bo Dallas were defeated by The Dudley Boyz, Neville, Titus O'Neil, and the returning Goldust in a Five-on-five traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match.

In early 2016, The Cosmic Wasteland stable quietly disbanded. At WrestleMania 32, Konnor and Viktor entered the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, both with failing efforts. On 16 April 2016, WWE suspended Konnor for 60 days for a second violation of the Talent Wellness policy.[27] Following the suspension, Viktor began competing in singles competition, mainly on Superstars and Main Event.[citation needed] Konnor made his return during the June 20th WWE Superstars taping, teaming with Viktor to face The Golden Truth.[28] The pair competed in various tag team contests up until the 2016 WWE Draft, where they were drafted as a team to SmackDown Live in the eighth round.[29] On July 26 both members competed in a WWE World Championship #1 contender's six-pack qualifying battle royal, which was won by Apollo Crews. At SummerSlam, The Ascension competed in a 12-man tag team match, where their team lost. They then entered the SmackDown Tag Team Championship tournament where they were eliminated in the first round by the Usos. on the September 27 episode of Smackdown, The Ascension picked up their first win on the Smackdown brand when The Ascension and the Usos defeated Heath Slater & Rhyno and American Alpha in an Eight-Man Tag Team Match. On the No Mercy preshow, The Ascension and The Vaudevillains lost an Eight-man tag team match to The Hype Bros and American Alpha. on the October 25 episode of SmackDown Live, The Ascension competed in a Survivor Series Qualifying Match but lost to The Hype Bros. on the November 15 episode of SmackDown Live, The Ascension, The Headbangers, The Vaudevillains and The Spirit Squad competed in a 16-Man Tag Team Match against American Alpha, The Hype Bros, the Usos & Breezango but lost the match. on the November 22 episode of SmackDown Live, The Ascension competed in a Tag Team Turmoil #1 contenders' Match, which they lost. On the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pre-show, The Ascension, The Vaudevillains and Curt Hawkins lost a ten-man tag team match against The Hype Bros, American Alpha and Apollo Crews.

At the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, the fought in a tag team turmoil match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship, but were the last team to be eliminated, losing to the reigning champions American Alpha. They once again entered the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33 but neither were successful.

Other media[edit]

The Ascension, consisting of the duo of Konnor and Viktor, made their video game debut as a part of the NXT Arrival DLC pack (Downloadable Content) in WWE 2K15. They are also part of WWE 2K16, and WWE 2K17 also as a duo.

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

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  27. ^ http://www.wwe.com/article/raymond-leppan-ryan-parmeter-suspended
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  29. ^ http://www.wwe.com/article/2016-wwe-draft-results
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  31. ^ Trionfo, Richard. "WWE NXT Report: The First NXT Champion is Crowned; Does Lightning Strike Twice for Dalton and Jordan?; Did We See the Most Dominant Force in NXT in the Ring?; The Usos and Ascension Battle". PWInsider. Retrieved 8 September 2012. The Ascension with Total Elimination to Jey on the floor. They give Jimmy Total Elimination in the ring. 
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