Former WWE star Peyton Royce (under her real name Cassie Lee) returned to Insight With Chris Van Vliet to talk about her recent release from WWE. Royce talked about the roller coaster ride of the last few months, from the sadness of being released from WWE to being excited about the next step in her career.
“Yeah I would say it has been a rough couple of months,” Royce said. “Since the draft and since they split Jess (Billie Kay) and I up I would say. But I am doing well, every day I am feeling happier. I’m just excited for the future and these opportunities I can chase. I have my moments where I get sad that everything didn’t work out, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason and there is something bigger out there for me.”
When discussing the release, Royce admitted she was taken aback by it because she didn’t expect any releases at all. In hindsight she would’ve seen it coming for her if she had known, though she remains perplexed as to why her long time tag team and podcast partner, Billie Kay, was released.
“I did not even think there was going to be releases,” Royce said. “And maybe that’s my fault for not being prepared for it. It was not even a thought in my mind, and I don’t know why because it’s April. They always do releases in April, and it just skips my mind for some reason. So it came out of left field for sure. If I had thought there were releases coming up, I would’ve been worried for myself. I was worried the previous year when they did releases. I thought ‘this might be it for me.’ And Ronnie (Shawn Spears) was like ‘no you’re just being self conscious or whatever.’
“But I wasn’t doing anything. I was pushing so hard to get an opportunity at something, and just nothing was happening for me. If I had thought there had been releases, I would’ve expected it more. As for Jess, no, because she was just killing it. I’m like ‘my gosh.’ She was just so easy to watch and she was so fun and she was on everything. She was just on WrestleMania. I wasn’t even on WrestleMania, I was one of the two girls not on WrestleMania. So I 100% would’ve thought ‘yeah I’m going to be on that list’ if I thought there was a list.”
Royce also took the time to clarify why her team with Kay, The IIconics, controversially broke up. For that Royce blames herself, as she had told Kay in January of last year she wanted to go on a singles run. Ultimately she thinks it may have been the worst decision she made while in WWE.
“So I have never told anyone this and I hope Jess isn’t upset with me for saying this, but I wanted to go singles,” Royce revealed. “There was just things I wanted to tick off of my bucket list as a singles competitor. I vocalized that to Jess in January last year. I didn’t do anything about it, I just told her where I was at, I didn’t try and get us broken up or something like that. It was during the PC era and Jess was out for a week, I had this random singles match, I don’t even remember who it was against. Vince loved it, he said to me ‘you’re so good, what are we doing?’
“I just said to him ‘look. If it is possible in future plans, I’m not saying right now, but in the future I would like to see what I can do on my own.’ I am so comfortable with Jess, we can conquer the world together. But I wanted to see what I can do for myself. So many people were like ‘why did they break you up? It was so stupid.’ I’m like I feel like it’s my fault, because I wanted to push myself and see what I was capable of. But that might have been the worst decision that I made, because nothing ever happened.”
One of the other issues Royce has dealt with since her release is how it sapped her love of wrestling out of her. She admits now that she was already in the process of that prior to her release, due to all the roadblocks she faced.
“I mean it was completely taken from me when we got let go,” Royce said. “But just knowing that I felt like I had only just scratched the surface with my goals, and then I felt like there was just this roadblock. And it was just like ‘I couldn’t get past the roadblock.’ That was hard to just kind of sit with. Because nothing I did would let me through.”