Things can’t remain the same for The Ascension.
The WWE SmackDown Live duo is unimportant and ineffective, a nonfactor in the tag team division. Viktor and Konnor have been standing in concrete for much of their WWE tenure, and there is little hope of them getting free. Not without major change.
At NXT, The Ascension was portrayed as an overwhelming force.
The face-painted bruisers stomped out the competition. Viktor was the technician who wore opponents down; Konnor was the battering ram who finished them off. They held on to the NXT Tag Team Championships with an unyielding grip.
But once they moved to the main roster in late 2014, a shift happened.
Viktor and Konnor still wore mysterious symbols on their gear. They still donned war paint that looked like something out of Mad Max. But they didn’t look the same in terms of aura.
WWE pushed The Ascension to the bottom of the food chain. The group remains there today.
A look at their 2017 resume on CageMatch.net is proof aplenty.
Not counting the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33, Konnor and Viktor have been in only two pay-per-view matches this year. They have only competed in four bouts on SmackDown since The Show of Shows. And The Ascension hasn’t won a match since February.
WWE Universe @WWEUniverse
AIN’T NO STOPPING HIM, NAAAHHHH!
@Sheltyb803 hasn’t lost a beat in his #SDLive in-ring return! @WWEGable @ViktorRiseWWE @KonnorWWE https://t.co/pk8b0XRyxD
With this kind of booking, the audience can’t take them seriously. The good news is not taking them seriously could well be the key to their revival.
The Ascension has shown a talent for comic timing and entertaining in absurd scenes. While Tyler Breeze and Fandango have been the clear stars of the Fashion Files segments, in a supporting role, Viktor and Konnor have shown how funny they can be.
Their appearances on Southpaw Regional Wrestling have only served to back that idea up.
The fictional promotion has been a place where Superstars have been able to cut loose and take creative risks as fresh characters. The Ascension have played both Surf Dudes with Attitude and a Top Gun-parody pair called The Danger Zone.
Like with Fashion Files, these menacing predators’ goofier sides were on display with these roles. They were miles more entertaining in these comedy bits than they have been as their standard selves.
Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet feels this shows The Ascension is being wasted:
Ryan Satin @ryansatin
My main takeaway from #SouthpawRegionalWrestling is that Konnor & Viktor are being wasted with The Ascension gimmick. They’re hilarious!
WWE has to tap into what The Ascension flashed in both Fashion Files and Southpaw. Its best bet is to give Viktor and Konnor their own comedy segments. They can explore this wasteland The Ascension have so often talked about. It can get weird and over the top with their creepy characters.
This route can have them better connect with the crowd and become a regular part of SmackDown, even if they don’t make the card.
Comedy backstage bits changed Breezango’s fortunes. They catapulted The New Day. They made Daniel Bryan and Kane the hottest thing WWE had going. It’s worth seeing whether The Ascension can be next.
Once we’ve gotten to know the former NXT tag titleholders better and seen them wander in the wasteland a few times over, the team could upset The Usos in non-title action.
Jimmy and Jey Uso are so hot a single loss, even to cellar-dwellers, wouldn’t hurt them. They could dismiss it as a fluke and grow extra aggressive in the bouts following it to remind fans how dangerous they are.
The Ascension, meanwhile, could use such a victory as a catalyst.
The delusional, spaced-out grapplers could think the win makes them champions of some sort. They would create their own title belt as a result. They would march around hoisting the Wasteland Galactic Championship, or something to that effect, in the air with great pride.
Viktor and Konnor could luck into a few more wins or just barely escape a team of jobbers and celebrate “retaining” their titles afterward.
There’s a chance here to explore and experiment, to let The Ascension have fun and be fun. The act would be a mix of R-Truth’s out-of-touch nature, the comic book-inspired elements of Stardust and Breezango’s silliness.
Don’t EVER accuse @ViktorRiseWWE and @KonnorWWE of not living a gluten-free lifestyle!!! #FashionPeaks @mmmgorgeous @WWEFandango #SDLive https://t.co/SLuK1PrR1I
It may not work, but it promises to be far more entertaining than the status quo. And WWE would be giving Viktor and Konnor something clear to work with for the first time in recent memory.
What does the company have to lose? The Ascension is already bottom-feeding.
It might as well give the team a new track to run down to see whether it can start picking up speed.