On Wednesday's episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, Justin LaBar interviewed Konnor of The Ascension. The Ascension were released by WWE a few months ago. Konnor had spent over a decade with WWE starting out in WWE's developmental territories. He was on NXT back when it was a reality show, but he says he tries not to think too much about it due to what he describes as an uncomfortable experience with Vince McMahon, including briefly having a rat gimmick.
"Honestly, Justin I try not to think too much about that. I think once and a while people will hit me up like oh the right character. I'm like, 'oh dear god. Oh dear god.' And that was Vince's idea just so you guys know that. Make sure everyone knows that. I didn't want to do that. That was Vince's idea. He came up with that character back in 2007. That's a true story," Konnor said. "I had to go sit in his office one day, and Fit [Finlay] had this whole thing of, 'he looks like a rat.' I'm like come on man. This is embarrassing man.
"Come on. So Johnny Ace took me in there. Vince is kind of just sitting in his chair. I don't care who you are. For the most part, you're gonna be nervous when you meet him for the first time, and that was my first time meeting him. And Vince was just sitting in his chair. He's like asking me these questions like, 'what kind of music do you listen to?' I was like, 'I like rock n roll.' He goes, 'ugh.' Then he looks down, and I'm like oh no. Oh I really screwed that question up. Oh man. Then he goes, 'what kind of movies do you like?' I go, 'I like comedies.' He goes, 'ugh.' Then he looks down. Dude it looks like disappointment, and I'm like man I'm really bombing this thing right now. Then Johnny Ace is just nice and quiet sitting to the right of me, and he goes, 'Vince, Fit says he looks like a rat.' Then once Vince heard that, he comes up real slow and looks at me bugged eyed. He's like looking at me, and I'm like this is so uncomfortable. Like I am so uncomfortable with this. Like I would have rather sat around one of my exes than have him look at me the way he looked at me. I was like oh my god this is it. I'm done. I'm finished, and he goes, 'can you talk nasally?' And I go, 'what?' [He goes], 'nasally.' I'm like man what is he talking about? He's like, 'can you talk like this?' I was like oh my god. What is happening here? So lieu and behold, that's how the rat character came about. It was something that Vince envisioned. Whether it was a rib, I don't know. Hell of a rib."
LaBar asked Konnor if he thought there were "too many cooks" in WWE's creative team. Konnor said there was but sympathized with the jobs of the writers who try to put on a good show every week.
"That's hard to say because at the end of the day, it does come down to one mind, and there really is only one chef. You have all these other cooks bringing all these ingredients. The chef either likes it or he doesn't," Konnor said. "Is there too many? Yeah, but at the end of the day, they really do try to put out a great product. Some of their ideas get shot down. Some of them don't. That's really hard to talk about because when you're there and you see it, you kind of have a different point of view on things as opposed to being an outsider and just assuming because you really do see these writers. They try. They really do. They really do try to pitch the best stuff they can, and if it doesn't peak an interest or something or whoever it may be for that day, they'll just say no and then you got to rewrite the show an hour before. It's just crazy."
The XFL has forced McMahon to miss time on TV tapings and some pay per views including WWE TLC which he and Triple H were not present for. Konnor recalled a time when Vince was not backstage but a head producer still checked in with him.
"I don't think so. I could be wrong, but I think for a majority I don't think so. There's been times when we were doing the Cosmic Wasteland, and Vince wouldn't be there. Then we'd talk to the head producer for that day, then you'd watch him text Vince, and you'd wait. And you'd ultimately get an answer with the response that you needed," Konnor said. "It's been a while since we've been there so things could have changed by that point. Ultimately, at the end of the day, whose product is it, and who's gonna allow it? If you do it without him knowing, then you'd better make sure you have a good answer for him."
"I'm a big fan of Bruce Prichard's work. You can always tell Bruce Prichard's work. That was one thing that I always noticed was Bruce Prichard was writing a certain segment and usually he'd always close out a show for the most part, and the thing with Bruce Prichard I always noticed with his writing was he would hook the viewer at the very end. It was never someone raising the title at the end or smiling. It would always a catch you to see what would happen next week," Konnor said. That was like Bruce's thing so I think bringing in Bruce was a great move for the company. I just wish I could have been able to work more hands-on with him, and Paul too. What do you say about Paul? He's a catalyst to this business. He's been around forever. He's done some amazing things, worked with some amazing talent. I mean the guy knows what he's going."
Konnor's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of Wednesday's episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it's released Monday - Friday afternoon by clicking here. You can listen to it below.