The Ascension’s Disrespectful Ascent
An easy, softball title betrays an article about the newest addition to WWE RAW’s Tag Team division. The Ascension, Konnor and Viktor, are into their second week of RAW appearances and this past week (1/5/2015) they trounced some local flavor in spectacular fashion. The only issues with their steady push have been their newly ham-handed promos and burial from the announcer’s table.
Back in NXT Konnor and Viktor would step out of shadows, using obfuscation and darkness to add a little gravity to their act. They were dark and broody, still angry but somehow more rooted than other “Angry Young Man” wrestlers and teams. When they came to the main roster they were given body armor, more red accents to their facepaint and edgier promos to match.
The first thing they did after the change was evoke memories of other colorful, angry, armor clad tag teams such as the Road Warriors and Demolition. Two big fellas with a talent for domination and a lot of red and black aren’t exactly a new sight in the WWE, but they were a well established team before this point with a record setting 364 day NXT Tag Team championship run. The second thing they did was to literally connect themselves to those former tag teams in a scathing promo.
Viktor: “Throughout the history of WWE there have been many so called ‘dominant’ tag teams…just like Axe and Smash of Demolition.”
Konnor: “We’ll destroy Demolition!”
Viktor: “…Or there’s the Road Warriors”
Konnor: “We’ll throw them right off the road! And hey Vik, what’s the old saying?”
Viktor: “Ohhhhhhhh what a rush!”
Konnor: “More like “Oooooooh what a joke!””
This wasn’t light hearted ribbing, this was a heel tag team doing their best to bury the boys who came before them. Sure, half the current WWE Universe is too young to have great memories of Demolition and The Road Warriors/LOD, but there’s a way to tactfully separate yourselves from the ones who came before and there’s the bulldozer way. Road Warrior Animal took to Facebook to respond to the comments made by The Ascension, needless to say he felt a little like he’d been slapped in the face. Respect is quite literally the most important lesson taught in professional wrestling and there is a fairly well established and respected “way of things”. Going out of your way to bury someone without working it out beforehand mocks the power of the shoot promo and makes strong talent look weak. Cheap shots are not becoming of a team of power heels.
The silver lining to their promo was that it sounded like they were simply regurgitating lines. The reason that’s a silver lining is it still gives Konnor and Viktor a chance to surprise us and the back office by taking fuller control of their characters down the line. They won’t get that chance if they don’t take it soon, as their first impressions are being wasted, but if they and the rest of the roster could find a way to work through the corporate shit and creative black hole that’s plaguing the WWE’s story writing.
As soon as the match started JBL began laying into the team, saying they weren’t worthy of carrying the Road Warrior’s bags, reminiscing about his time fighting with them, and generally putting everything The Ascension had just said into the “Bullshit” barrel next to the desk. JBL is the worst offender when it comes to this kind of behavior, and it does absolutely nothing beneficial for the viewers or the wrestlers in the ring. By putting himself over JBL is saying “Nothing on your TV set is as worth watching as me, who you can’t see, or things I did in the past.” On NXT the announcers (Renee Young, Jason Albert, Corey Graves, and at times Alex Riley) do a stand up job of putting over every talent that steps in the ring regardless of their alignment with them. Some guest heel commentators like The Miz also do a pretty good job putting over the skills and talents of their opponents. That kind of talk is essential for supporting new talent to an audience unsure of them, and it can be done respectfully as well.
So twice in one night the line of respecting your peers was crossed, once by The Ascension and once by the announce team. Both times all it did was help derail what should be a steady and well earned pushed for a power tag team. The Ascension can come off this little set back if they get better writing, and hopefully the announce team will get rid of JBL at some point but in the meantime, we can only hope that The Ascension does what they’re intended to do: add some mystery and some fire to the current tag team division.
[images from fanpop.com, lastwordonsports.com]