On the latest episode of WWE After the Bell, Corey Graves and Vic Joseph spoke about Peyton Royce’s recent promo on WWE RAW Talk where she voiced her frustrations about not receiving an opportunity in WWE. Joseph said he’s so happy that Royce spoke out and said she loves the business and spoke from the heart.
“Peyton Royce doesn’t do this for a pay check,” Joseph said. “Peyton Royce loves this. She loves wrestling, this is an art form for her. When she was not on television and I was in the Performance Center, she was in there working joining classes and helping others because she just loves this business. That’s what I heard from her.
“She moved across the world, she left everything moving from Australia to America. When I first got here, she was like the locker room leader in NXT, she kind of helped me say hey, this is the path. I’ve always thanked her for that, so to hear her speak her truths, it resonated with me because that was the person talking, not a character. I look at the person who’s worked very hard day in and day out, who’s been overlooked in her own mind and I believe she has, has literally picked up her life for this business. It spoke to me about the person, it wasn’t the character, it was the person.”
Graves was a little more critical of Royce, saying she was originally viewed as the star of the IIconics and quickly became second fiddle. He said she doesn’t have a character outside of a good looking girl who can wrestle and she needs to give people a reason to want to see her wrestle in big matches against stars like Asuka.
“When they [IIconics] split, I don’t think I’m speaking out of line by saying everyone and their mother saw Peyton as the breakout star,” Graves said. “Everybody kind of said, okay, Billie is the sidekick. As far as gauging television time as success, Billie took the ball and ran with it. Billie has been on SmackDown practically every Friday, she’s incredibly entertaining, and makes me laugh. Billie has been doing her thing where Peyton has been floundering.
“That’s not for a lack of talent, ability and definitely not a lack of passion. To me, as a fan to try to look at this as a fan objectively, I don’t know who Peyton Royce is anymore. I know who Billie Kay is, Peyton is a good looking girl who is good at wrestling to me. I just don’t know beyond what I just described who she is, why do I want to see her face Asuka?”
Graves continued to talk about some talents complaining about the lack of opportunities, and noted that when you are given an opportunity, you need to capitalize on it. He said now that she’s created this buzz around herself, she needs to make sure the next time they give her an opportunity that it’s a home run.
“In WWE, you may not get many opportunities so you have to make sure when you are given any opportunity, you hit a home run,” Graves said. “If you don’t hit a home run, maybe you only hit a single. That’s okay, you’ll probably get another opportunity but they’re not putting you in the clean up spot. You’re not getting that third spot in the batting order that’s for Roman Reigns, that’s for The Miz, that’s for Braun Strowman. When you get a momentary opportunity, the old wrestling cliche making chicken salad out of you know what, that is the most valuable thing.
“Does that mean Peyton has gotten that many opportunities as she deserves? I don’t know. Maybe she does deserve more opportunities, but what she did on RAW Talk was masterful. It got the whole world talking about Peyton Royce. Home run. Now the world is buzzing about you. Likely, she’s going to get some sort of opportunity, is she going to Asuka at WrestleMania? Probably not, but she may get a high profile match. So guess what, if she goes out there and hits a triple or a home run, we’re going to see a hell of a lot more of Peyton Royce.”
Graves praised Royce for being strong enough to come out and talk about her frustrations with the company. He also used women’s Royal Rumble winner Bianca Belair as an example of somebody who made the most of her opportunities and is now in a WrestleMania main event match with Sasha Banks.
“She should be commended for that,” Graves said. “Now you’ve got the world’s attention. What are you going to do with it? You can make or break yourself. She demands respect, she wants this she wants that, okay Peyton, here you go. Is she going to crumble under the pressure? Because guess what, I guarantee you she’s not going to get what she wants after that.
“Bianca had an opportunity and hit a home run. She can strut her way to WrestleMania because the opportunity was presented to her. Last year she was in the Women’s Royal Rumble match and impressed everybody and people don’t forget. They leave that impression. She didn’t ask for anything, Bianca just went out and got it. She didn’t get an opportunity and win in the Royal Rumble because somebody created a hashtag saying she deserves better. It’s the business, it’s the same on the men’s side of things on the women. You’re going to be presented a very limited amount of opportunities and it’s up to you what you do with them.”
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