On a recent episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast, former WWE NXT Tag Team Champion Vik The Spacelord (fka Viktor of The Ascension) sat down with Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman to discuss his time in NXT. Vik revealed that he was almost part of The Wyatt Family before being paired with Big Kon (fka Konnor).
“I suffered a couple little minor injuries while I was there. I just started rolling, this was kind of before I got put in Ascension,” Vik recalled. “I’d been working with Seth [Rollins] a ton, and I was in a three-way dance with him and Leo Kruger (Adam Rose) somewhere three hours north of here. And it was one of the very last things in the match, and Seth was just throwing me back into the ring.
“And I remember my knee just suddenly gave out when I went to stand up and finish the match. And it was such a good match. It was really good. We had so much fun. I just remember somebody being like, ‘It was so much fun.’ I go, ‘Yeah, I’m not walking out of here,’ and so then after that, it was kind of a weird scramble where I was almost in The Wyatt Family for a little while.
“And then after that got shut down, Hunter (Triple H), under the suggestion of Norman Smiley who had been saying it for years and Billy Kidman who said, ‘Hey Vic should be in The Ascension.’ That’s kind of how that happened. NXT had already kind of formed, but we were still in Tampa. We hadn’t moved to Orlando yet.”
The Ascension are still the longest reigning NXT Tag Team Champions of all time with nearly a year-long title reign. The next closest team is Blake and Murphy who held the titles for only 200 days. On the podcast, Vik explained why he has mixed feelings about the honor.
“I have a lot of mixed feelings about it,” Vik admitted. “I think I was laughing about it with Konnor the other day because we were like, ‘I can’t believe they haven’t gotten rid of that yet’ because I was sure that they were going to get rid of it at one point.
“I thought it was going to be FTR or AOP because I know both of them had super long reigns, and I was sure that one of them is going to get it. And then they never did, and I was really surprised at that. And I think it’s just the fact — WWE did their best to forget about us being the longest reigning NXT Champions.
“I remember some of the commentators saying that they were never allowed to bring it up again on commentary. That’s more or less why I have mixed feelings on it, and I remember the time for me and Konnor, it looked one way to everybody else, and it was really a completely different way for the two of us.”
Vik later recalled his reaction to the news that The Ascension would be called up to the main roster. He admitted that his career flashed before his eyes and that he didn’t fully express his excitement right away.
“When Hunter told us — we were in weird meeting one day. We’re in the Performance Center, and a bunch of the coaches were all in there with us,” Vik recalled. “And we were just going to do a video conference with them or whatever. They tell us, and everybody starts cheering.
“And I was just kind of sitting there because really, I just had the last 15 years flash before my eyes of everything, and I was just kind of trying to take it in. And I remember Hunter saying, ‘Everybody looks really happy except for Viktor,’ and I had just kind of gone into space because I was just like, ‘Holy s**t. He actually said it. Alright, it’s finally happening,’ and then I kind of started laughing.
“I’m like, ‘No dude, I’m just blown away.’ I was just amazed, and then they showed us the picture of the stupid gear that they were going to make us wear. And I was like, ‘Cool, this is downhill.'”
During their early run on the main roster, The Ascension mocked many legendary tag teams. Vik recalled Michael Hayes’ reaction to the backlash of their promos as well as Pat Patterson’s reaction to when they started to turn things around.
“At the time, I said I didn’t care because I’m like, it’s not real. We don’t feel this way about any of these legends,” Vik noted. “It’s just trying to get us heat, and so it didn’t really bother me because I didn’t mean any of what we said. It really bothered Konnor because he had to say a bunch of stuff that he didn’t want to, and to me, I’m like, well, it’s not real. We don’t feel this way. When we started seeing the response, the company was kind of blind to the response that the fans gave us, as they are in many cases.
“It took them forever to realize that we weren’t bad guys anymore. I can remember Michael Hayes saying to us after we cut a promo one day on NXT, and he was like, ‘I don’t get it. You guys are cutting heel promos, but the fans are reacting to you like babyfaces.’ We’re like, ‘Michael, you haven’t realized people have been cheering for us for like six months?’ [He said,] ‘I just don’t get it. We’re gonna have to do something about that.’ I don’t remember the match, but we came back, and Pat Patterson was standing there clapping.
“This is the only time he ever did this, for me anyway, and he goes, ‘Oh my God, I love it you guys! I love it. You guys used to be the biggest badass heels, and now you’re just the biggest badass babyfaces! This is so good!’ And we were like, ‘Okay, cool. People are starting to notice.’ The first time we came up, our very first live event together for WWE was in Madison Square Garden right after the first Takeover and both super nervous just being like, man, I don’t know what people are going to think or whatever. And as we walked up to MSG, there’s so many fans outside, and they just all started chanting for us. We’re like, ‘Holy s**t. This is crazy.'”
Vik then revealed the work he and Big Kon put into creating different logos and symbols for their characters. He said it came to a point where WWE asked them to stop because of how much they were sending, and he recalled WWE coming up with a t-shirt without their knowledge.
“We sent them about 100 different logos at one point in time,” Vik revealed. “We always had the eye, and then the one that wound up on our t-shirt was one I actually had made on gear. And then they told us, ‘We need you guys to maybe change the logo, and we’ll figure out something else.’ Me and Konnor went through thousands of esoteric symbols and things like that, the two of us and submitted them all to the point where they’re like, okay stop. Don’t send us any more.
“So this was before the first Takeover I think because then all of a sudden, we didn’t even know that they were making t-shirts for us. It was one of the first Takeovers, and all of sudden, they just brought us these shirts. They’re like, ‘Hey, here’s your shirt,’ and we’re like, ‘That’s our logo?’ They’re like, ‘Yeah, you like it?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I already had gear with it on there. You told me not to make any more.’ That was the kind of thing we used to deal with. A lot of it is silly.”
The Awakening (fka The Ascension) battle The Headbangers for their Atomic Wrestling Tag Team Championships on Friday February 19th. You can find more info by following ARW on Twitter @WrestlingAtomic.
Viktor’s full interview 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. You can find the full interview in both video and audio form below: