Thursday, September 29, 2022

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Saying Goodbye to the IIconic IInspiration

The IInspiration, the IIconics, the Iconic Duo, Billie Kay, and Peyton Royce, Jessie and Cassie- whichever of the many names you like to call them have unfortunately announced that they will be stepping away from wrestling indefinitely. The pair have been friends for many years, well before they even became a tag team. Although both ladies had success in indie organizations before joining WWE, this article will concentrate on their time in NXT and WWE, with a short mention of Impact Wrestling.

Cassie Lee and Jessie McKay signed with WWE in 2015 and were assigned to NXT. The duo was almost immediately put into a tag team, with Cassie taking the name Peyton Royce and Jessie taking the name Billie Kay. They made their NXT TV debut on October 5th, 2016 when they started calling themselves the Iconic Duo. In 2016, they were chosen as “2016’s Breakout of the Year” at NXT Takeover: San Antonio. Nearly a year after their debut, the Iconic Duo fell to Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross on October 4, 2017.

Peyton Royce debuted on the main roster at Wrestlemania 34 as one of 20 women in the Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal. They assaulted Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair on April 10th, 2018, allowing Carmella to cash in her Money in the Bank contract and become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion. The IIconics won their first main roster match against Asuka and Becky Lynch the next week.

In 2019, the IIconics competed in the first-ever women’s tag team Elimination Chamber match to crown the first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Peyton and Billie competed against Sasha Banks and Bayley, Naomi and Carmella, Nia Jax and Tamina, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan, and Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. The IIconics would eliminate Carmella and Naomi, but would ultimately be eliminated by Nia Jax and Tamina. Sasha Banks and Bayley won the match and became the first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions.

Following their victory against Sasha Banks and Bayley in a non-title match at Wrestlemania 35, the IIconics faced the champions in a fatal four-way match. They competed against champions Sasha and Bayley, a returning from retirement Beth Phoenix along with Natalya, Nia Jax, and Tamina. Billie Kay pinned Bayley for the win and the Iiconics won their first and only WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. After a few successful title defenses, they lost their titles in a fatal four-way elimination match on August 5th, 2019’s Raw. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville eliminated them first, with Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross winning the match and the titles, and the Kabuki Warriors finishing fourth.

After losing their titles, the IIconics feuded with Ruby Riott, which led to Ruby reuniting with Liv Morgan. Forcing the IIconics to disband as a tag team after they lost against Ruby and Liv on August 31st, 2020. This eliminated any possibility of the duo reconciling in WWE. Budget cutbacks were mentioned as the basis for both women’s releases on April 15th, 2021.

After their release, the ladies said they would remain a team and renamed themselves the IInspiration. At Bound for Glory 2021, they defeated Havok and Rosemary (Decay) for the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship. The IInspiration were the first women to hold both the Impact Knockouts and the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. They would lose the titles at Sacrifice to the Influence (Madison Rayne and Tenille Dashwood. They unsuccessfully challenged the Influence to a rematch at Rebellion which would turn out to be the IInspiration’s final match.

On April 27th, 2022, they released a statement saying they would be retiring from wrestling. The best is yet to come for both of these girls, and I wish them nothing but the best.

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