In an appearance on Insight With Chris Van Vliet, former WWE star Peyton Royce talked about her journey to working for WWE. Wanting to be a star in WWE as long as she can remember, Royce detailed how every decision she made growing up was made with WWE in mind.
“I decided I wanted to wrestle for WWE when I was ten years old,” Royce said. “It’s so weird, like in high school and growing up, knowing that’s what I wanted to do in my life, literally every decision I’ve made in my life was for the purpose that it would get me one step closer to WWE. And those are things like picking my subjects in high school. Like ‘what subjects can I pick that’s going to help me learn things that’s going to progress me towards WWE?’
“And then on school holidays, I wouldn’t go to parties. I would being working out, a fifteen year old girl working out around my house. Because I thought ‘the fitter the better.’ And then I would take modeling lessons, I would do modeling competitions, because when I was growing up it was the Divas era. And I thought I had to know how to model, I had to know how to walk in heels, and how to wear a dress and how to do my makeup and my hair. So I took lessons to learn how to do that so I could just check off every single box and leave no stone unturned. There was nothing getting in my way.”
Royce admitted that she was so outspoken about her goals that it led to her being bullied. But she never wavered, and with confronted with something that scared her, she used her goal of getting to WWE to motivate herself to overcome the obstacle in her way.
“I was so vocal about my dreams as a kid, and I kind of got bullied for that,” Royce said. “Because you’re right, it sounds crazy and it sounds like it cannot be done. But I don’t know what it was. I was just born with this thing, this instinct inside of me that said ‘I’m going to get what I want, no matter what. I will not let anything stop me from achieving my goal.’ And it was, it was always WWE. I didn’t want anything else. I would pray at night to achieve my dreams.
“And I would always, if something scared me, physically scared me for example. There’s this water park in Sydney, and there’s this big rock that you can jump off into a pool. Well I didn’t know this at the time but I’m afraid of heights, so every time I got to the edge of the rock, I could not bring myself to jump off it. And everyone was cheering me on. So I took a step back and I said to myself ‘if you want to be a WWE wrestler, jump off the rock.’ And literally just ran and jumped. But every time I was faced with a fear of something, I would say to myself ‘if you want to be a WWE wrestler, do this.’ And I would just do it.”
Royce would indeed reach WWE and work there for six years before being released this April. Shortly after her release, Royce recalled a meeting with Vince McMahon that didn’t go the way she had hoped. Royce took the opportunity to clarify that it wasn’t as bad as she made it sound.
“I just went in there with what I wanted to present, and we just moved on from it so quickly,” Royce said. “In my head I was thinking how can I steer this conversation back to that? I really thought something was there and I hadn’t explained it properly. I sat in that room with him and Bruce Prichard for 45 minutes tossing up ideas.
“At one point we had come up with the idea that I was going to be a motivational person, a motivational speaker. Vince loved how much I had sacrificed to be there. I didn’t want anything else in my life other than to work for him. He loved that and was so thankful for what I had sacrificed, my family, everything in Australia, my whole life. So that’s what we had come up with and obviously nothing ever came of it. But that conversation wasn’t a complete dud. From my perspective it was this is what I want to present and move forward with.”
Royce also revealed that prior to her release she was incredibly unhappy with WWE, as well as struggling with the passing of AEW star Brodie Lee. She discussed almost requesting her release from WWE several times, including one occasion where another WWE star talked her down before she could ask.
“I really struggled when Brodie [Lee] passed,” Royce revealed. “I struggled with the big picture and putting things into perspective. I was really unhappy at work, really unhappy. A few times I thought to myself I can’t do this anymore and I am going to ask for my release. A few times I was in the locker room, some sort of creative would change and it would just, I would be juts so upset. Rhea Ripley of all people had to talk me off the ledge, because I was about to walk into talent relations and say ‘I’m out. I don’t want to do this anymore.’ I was so unhappy. So the release was a blessing in disguise. I was so close to asking for my release but I never actually pulled the trigger.”