Konnor and Viktor of The Ascension were released by WWE on December 8, 2019. Their first post-WWE booking was announced soon after. Konnor made an appearance on Wednesday's episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily where he was interviewed by Justin LaBar. Konnor talked about his relationships in NXT and how easy it was to talk to Triple H.
"It was such a different world when we went up to main roster, but we had a close working relationship with Hunter in NXT. A lot of the reasons why we were so successful was because of him, and it was because of Dream. Dream and Hunter and Bill DeMott, at that time, had a lot of influential power on the way things were done down there, and they believed in us," Konnor said. "Obviously, you could see what the outcome was, but there wasn't a doubt in my mind that you could go to Hunter and you could speak with Hunter and you could talk to Hunter whether it's working relationship type stuff or personal things or whatever it might be. He was always there. He was always open to listen. He always lend an ear."
LaBar asked Konnor if that relationship led to The Ascension asking to get back to NXT. Konnor talked about their mindsets at that time and how they felt nothing would change even if they went back to NXT.
"No, honestly I think by that point, I think the damage was done mentally to us. We had just given up. We folded. It was just one of those things where it was like beating a dead horse. Part of us, I think, wanted to reach out, but the other part was like, 'man, we're possibly gonna be treated the same way.' We didn't know. That's how much that place had gotten to us," Konnor said. "I can't tell how much I saw fans going on message boards or hit you on Twitter saying things that they would say and you just would want to be like, 'hell yeah. We hear you. We totally agree with you.' But, at the same time, it's different when you're wearing our shoes too."
LaBar discussed the potential The Ascension had going from NXT to the WWE main roster. Konnor agreed, but he explains that WWE has brought him a lot of positive things in his life including his wife and son, and he does not hold any grudge against the company.
"I think you and a lot of other people to be honest with you. I know two guys especially, one of them on the other line with you right now, but you know you can do two things with this," Konnor said. "You can either be really aggravated and frustrated like some of these 'pricks'; they leave the business and crap all over everything, or you just kind of take it for what it is and still be grateful for everything. Here's the reality of it, from my [perspective], if it wasn't for WWE, I would have never met my wife because we originally met in Deep South. Had I not met my wife, I would have never had my son. So if I had never been in WWE, I would have never had, financially, the things I have right now. So there is that part of me that is very grateful for WWE. So I try to look at everything from the positive aspect of things. I can walk around and tell people, 'oh don't go work for that company,' this and that, but the reality is I want everyone to work for that company. I want everyone to make money just because our experience was the way that it was doesn't mean that's how it's gonna be for everybody."
Konnor also went into detail about the pay raise he and Viktor received after being called up to the main roster. He said that despite the "life-changing money", there are still a lot of sacrifices that come with being a WWE superstar.
"It's pretty good. It can be really good. It's life-changing money. I don't even know what the NXT pay scale is anymore because it's been five or six years since
I've been down there. I'm not one of those guys that likes to go around like, 'hey, what are you making?' I'm not nosy. I don't really care about people's personal issues other than their well-being. It's like, 'hey dude, are you OK?' I'm not like, 'man, how was your paycheck this week?' But to transition from that NXT roster to the main roster, you're talking big money, and with big money comes different attitudes," Konnor said. "It's a big deal. It can be a very big deal when you're one of the top guys, guys like Roman, guys that were big there previously like Cena or Batista. You're talking big money for these guys, but there's also a lot of sacrifice put into it too because those guys don't get to go home to see their families because they're out promoting, they're out doing signings, anything that they can do."
Konnor talked about his proactive approach while in WWE. He talked about the online courses he was taking to help manage his money to make sure his family would live a comfortable life.
"Everything was great from pay per view buys, action figures or whatever it is. It was always good money. It's just a matter of how smart you were with your money. So one of the things I did was that I was making sure I was taking online courses, things like that, to learn how to invest money, to learn how to protect my family. So a lot of the things I did with my money, I maneuvered it around to where I made sure that my family would always be taken care of," Konnor said. "Every little dime I got, I always made sure 20 percent of it went to my son's college tuition. That was just [natural]. I paid all my debt off. I just made sure that I could always be comfortable."
He explained why he did this talking about the legends from the '80s and '90s that have gone on to struggle financially. Konnor talked about the goal of not wanting his family to end up in that kind of situation.
"Absolutely. I wasn't anything big. I wasn't going to Harvard Online or something like that, but I wanted to learn how to manage my money. I come from not poor but I come from a struggling family so I always knew from seeing things like that that wasn't what I wanted," Konnor said. "So when the opportunity presented itself, that I saw this bump in pay, I was like, 'OK listen man, we got to get our stuff together, and we got to make sure we're smart with our money because the one thing I can't stand seeing, I'm sure a lot of people listening to this have seen it or know someone that has seen this, looking at some of these veterans from the '80s maybe some from the '90s are struggling financially and it just breaks your heart. And that's not what I wanted for me and my family so I just made sure to set myself up the way I could with what I had."
Konnor's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent 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.