The friendship between Billie Kay and Peyton Royce dates back over a decade, as the two attended the same high school in Australia. They then wrestled each other on the Australian indie circuit before joining NXT in 2015, which is when they first teamed together.
"We didn't get phone calls, we got emails. Yes, so we both got an email very early in the morning saying that they would want to offer us a contract and hire us," recalled Kay. "We both kind of freaked out with our families. I was crying a bunch, and then I called her and she answered and we both said hello. Then there was just silence and we were just waiting on what the other person is going to say, and then I think I said it first. And then she said it, and then we're all just absolutely ecstatic. But yeah, she's the first person I called when I found out, and, I mean, that whole tryout experience, we were just laser-focused.
"We went in there and we were just inseparable through the whole tryout as well, so it was such - that was a long time ago, too. I'm thinking about it. I was like, 'Damn, I was young.' That was six or seven years ago."
The IIconics received their WWE tryouts in August 2014 when the company made a tour of Australia. While WWE has other Australian talents like Rhea Ripley and Murphy, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce were the only ones who made it from that particular tryout.
"It kind of just happened because we both had the same goal. We were both just adamant on getting the tryout in the first place, and then she was living in Melbourne at the time, so we both kind of had our separate journey. But we knew that there was a tryout coming out, and when we found out that we'd both be there, it was kind of like, 'Oh okay, awesome.' And it was quite a large tryout," said Kay. "There were like 40 people there from Australia and we were the only two signed from that tryout so that just makes it super special."
Often times when WWE signs someone, they may have one set plan for the talent, but what they end up becoming is far different than the original plans. Kay was asked if the original idea was for her and Royce to be a tag team.
"We were together for a little bit when we first came into NXT, and then they were kind of like, 'Find who you guys are individually.' We were like, 'Sure.' so we found who we were and then they ended up bringing us back together," stated Kay. "Then, we just kind of stuck with it and formed. We kind of were able to bring in more of our real life friendship into it, which helped massively, and then when we debuted on SmackDown as The IIconics, we really got the chance to turn it up a hundred, which we loved. Being able to get mic time and cut promos was a dream come true, so that was so much fun. And it kind of just all amplified from there. So, it's been such a fun journey."
At last year's Elimination Chamber PPV, the IIconics were one of six teams to take part in the Elimination Chamber Match for the inaugural WWE Women's Tag Team Championships. Bayley and Sasha Banks ended up winning, but what Kay most remembers about that experience was the initial feeling she had when they got into their pod.
"Oh my goodness! I think you can tell, if you watch it back when Peyton and I were about to walk in and we looked at each other, and I was just like, 'Oh my goodness!' We're about to walk into this massive steel cage dome and I'm claustrophobic, so when they closed our own pod, I was like, 'I can't get out, I can't get out, I can't get out.' But there was so much adrenaline, that kind of went away. But there was an initial, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to try and break this glass because I can't stand here. I can't for this amount of time; it's so tight and everything.' But yeah, it was okay once it started," said Kay, who also admitted she enjoyed that unique environment.
"Absolutely, but that was so much fun. Just being in the match for the first-ever Women's Tag Team Titles was just a dream come true, so that's always going to be one of my favorites."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.