Former WWE stars the IIconics, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, joined Busted Open Radio to talk about their releases. Over a month later, Billie is still stunned by the release and isn’t sure why they were let go and believes they’ll never truly know why.
“I wish I knew to be honest,” Billie said. “It was a total shock, I had no idea. When I got the phone call, I thought it was in regards to something else. I was like ‘oh they need me to do something. I’m needed for something else.’ And when I heard those words ‘we’re going to release you’, my heart dropped. I was so shocked and I was just heartbroken. I don’t have any answers, and I don’t think I’m ever going to get answers. So at the moment I’m just trying to have peace with that.”
Peyton likewise was blindsided by the release, learning about it while receiving a massage. She says feelings about it come to her in waves to this day.
“Tt was absolutely a shock,” Peyton said. “Obviously they do the budget cuts once a year, but they hadn’t done it in awhile and I thought last year was just purely because of the pandemic. I didn’t see it coming, and maybe I should have, especially because I was really doing nothing since they split us up. I was laying in the middle of a massage in by bedroom, and the husband (Shawn Spears) walks in and says ‘you should probably check your phone.’ And I was like ‘uh, okay.’ And I checked it and I was like ‘yup. I’m done.’
“Complete shock and I feel like we’re still going through waves with it. One day I’ll feel so free and so excited for these opportunities that now we can take upon ourselves. And then other days I sit there wondering ‘what?’ I just don’t understand and like Jess said, I don’t think we ever will understand. And to be honest with you, I don’t think there was much of a reason other than cuts had to be made.”
Both revealed that while it appeared Vince McMahon enjoyed their act, creative never seemed to understand what the IIconics were. For Peyton, it also appeared they understood them less once the IIconics were broken up.
“To be honest with you, I feel like creative never really understood us,” Peyton said. “When we first came in, Vince really loved our first promo and he was like ‘give them a microphone every week.’ Which thank the lord because not many people get that opportunity and its such a good way for the audience to really get to know you and understand who you are. So I know Vince enjoyed it, but I just don’t think creative understood it. And they just wanted to send us in this direction that, like, it was fine. But I was just like ‘I’m not sure they really understand what we see for ourselves.’ But yeah, I don’t know. I’m not sure that they ever really understood us. And then when they split us, it was like ‘well now we understand them less.'”
Billie concurred with her partner and admitted she felt lost after the split. It wasn’t until moving to Smackdown that she found herself and found a groove, which made her release all the more shocking.
“I thought they thought they knew what they were doing by breaking us up, but I don’t think they really understood it,” Billie said. “Because we are different, individually and together. It’s night and day. And I think, for entertainment purposes, it’s just so different. And after they split us up we were struggling. I had no idea who I was. They just took away, not only my best friend and my tag team partner, but she was my comfort zone and support system. And that was kind of stripped away and I was like ‘I don’t know what I’m doing. Who am I?’ I know who I truly am inside but I kind of had this image that I needed to be like, come out and be like sexy or like, do a moonsault or something like that. And I’m like ‘that’s just not me. That’s just not me.’
“It wasn’t until I got drafted to Smackdown, which I think really helped me. I would talk to TJ (Wilson) a lot and be like ‘this is what I want to do. This is who I am. This is what I think is relatable to people.’ And he was like ‘go for it. You need to do it.’ And I was able to show for awhile who I really am. And I thought it was getting received well. I was having a blast at TV’s. I was having fun, I was doing what I wanted to do and feeling really fulfilled. So that’s why it was even more of a shock to me as well.”
Host Dave LaGreca brought up Peyton’s match with Asuka prior to her release as a sign that the release came out of nowhere. Peyton admitted to having a weird feeling about the match however, and also revealed that she wasn’t Asuka’s original opponent.
“That match I had with Asuka was kind of strange,” Peyton said. “Because afterwards I felt so happy and so fulfilled, like ‘yes, I feel like I’m finally scratching that wrestling itch.’ But I had this really freaking strange feeling overcome me, and I like to think I’m psychic so maybe that’s why. But I just had this really strange feeling that was going to be my last wrestling match. It was just this feeling came over me and then it went away and then nothing.
“But then I found out afterwards I only got that match because someone had COVID. It wasn’t because of my RAW Talk promo got me the opportunity or, you know. Every time I spoke to creative, like I couldn’t get past creative. I could not get past the creative walls and get ideas pitched. I was just struggling. But yeah, I had this just strange feeling that that was my last match.”
Billie meanwhile described going in the opposite direction of her best friend and finding her groove on Smackdown leading into WrestleMania.
“For me it was the opposite,” Billie said. “With the headshot and resume, it was my first promo that I ever did on Smackdown. And it was, I read it and it was like ‘okay, you’re going to present them a headshot and resume.’ And I was like ‘okay, this is cool. They’re going to reintroduce me to Smackdown as a singles competitor.’ Once we did it I was like ‘I just want to keep doing this.’ I felt like that was something I could really do, because I love to interact with everybody. Men, women, superstars, announce team, whatever, I just love to interact with people.
“So I said to the writers afterwards, I said ‘I want to be here every week. If you have a 30 minute segment you need to fill, if you have a pre-show, which I was, thank goodness, I was on four or five PPV’s in a row just on the pre-show. For thirty seconds or a minute. I was like ‘any spot where you need to fill time, let me give it to somebody and we can just see what happens.’ And thankfully I got that opportunity. So I was feeling really good.”
Billie then discussed her WrestleMania 37 appearance, teaming with Carmella on Night One in a woman’s tag team gauntlet match. She revealed she was told there were more plans for her and Carmella as a team, which never came to pass.
“Then WrestleMania comes around,” Billie said. And you know, the tag team gauntlet with Carmella, and we were super excited to work together. I literally, right before we went out, I was like ‘is there a bed sheet I can use to try and recreate her entrance? Let’s just try to do something fun and make people remember our entrance.’ People aren’t going to remember me for my headscissors, they’re going to remember me for entertaining them, making them smile, making them laugh, which is all I ever wanted to do. And I was told Carmella and I would be doing stuff afterwards. So that’s why it was even more of a shock. It’s hard man. I mean Cass and I, it’s hard. It’s up and downs. Some days you’re fine, and some days your not. You really have to grieve it.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Busted Open Radio and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription