The IIconics Detail Struggle To Be Women’s Tag Team In WWE – Exclusive

Cassie Lee and Jessica McKay, currently known as The IInspiration, but formally known as The IIconics, officially signed their WWE contracts in 2015. The two Australian-born pro wrestling stars were some of the first talents to be trained in the WWE Performance Center and were prominently presented in the early days of NXT. In 2018, they were elevated to WWE’s main roster and became part of the Smackdown brand before being released in 2021.

In an exclusive Haus of Wrestling interview with The IInspiration, Jessica McKay, fka Billie Kay, reflected on what it was like for her and Cassie Lee, fka Peyton Royce, to pitch women’s tag team ideas to management.

“We used to do promo class at the Performance Center each week, and our first promo that we ever did was talking about how we wanted to fight in the women’s tag team division,” she began. “So, that was very, as soon as we got to the PC, that was the image we created for ourselves. We wanted to be a tag team, and we wanted to push the tag team division as far as we could because it hadn’t really been done before that. Yes, there were some great tag teams like The Bella Twins before us, but in terms of having a division, it just hadn’t been done yet.

“So, we’ve always been pushing for that. It was interesting. We wanted it so bad. They kind of got sick of us because we’re always together, so they were kind of like, ‘Stop spending time together and try and find yourselves individually.’ So, we did that for a couple of months, and then we came back, and they’re like, ‘Alright, we’re gonna put you together.’ And we were like, ‘Oh, okay,’ and it was an interesting time because we had both found these individual characters, and we were trying to mesh them, but they were so different.”

“They were so different,” Lee interjected.

“We tell the story all the time,” McKay continued. “We were doing a backstage promo, and they had, you know, gone over it. We did the promo, and they were like, ‘We’re just gonna go again. We just need it to be more…’ They couldn’t really tell us what it was, there was something missing, but they couldn’t tell us, and right before we did the second take, we just looked at each other and said, ‘Can we just do our usual schtick?’ And we both said, ‘Yup, let’s do it,’ and we did that second take, and they loved it, and we just grabbed it and ran with it.

“So, it’s just so interesting how it all came back to what we originally wanted, and then we had a great time at NXT. We had so much fun. A great, like, group of women down there, and then obviously debuting the Smackdown after Wrestlemania, which was no pun intended, absolutely iconic. I feel like we had a great debut on the main roster, and then we kind of just kept on fighting for that women’s tag division.

“Thank goodness, we were able to capture the championships at WrestleMania, which, I mean, even to this day, when we talk about this, it still seems so surreal, but damn, I’m so proud of us because we worked our bloody asses off to get here and sacrificed a lot. So, the fact that we accomplished everything that we had set out to do. I mean, we’re just, like, awesome.”

Unfortunately for WWE fans of The IIconics, their main roster run as a tag team was relatively short-lived. While they were able to capture the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 35, a little over a year later, they were split up as part of the WWE Draft.

“I think when they split us up, just from being a tag team, and the Draft was coming up, it was inevitable that they were going to put us on separate brands so that we kind of didn’t cross paths,” Lee said. “You know what it’s like on TV, like, ‘Oh, there’s a women’s tag match. We’re gonna put two singles wrestlers together.’ And, so, if we were on the same brand, we would have been 100% tagging up at some point, but they split us up.

“So, it just wouldn’t have made sense, but that was so hard because our whole journeys we had done together, and now it’s like, ‘Okay, we’re going on separate brands,’ which means we’re going to be traveling individually, which is not good for my mental health. We actually didn’t end up going on the road because we got fired.”

The IInspiration’s podcast, Off Her Chops, is back with its third season. It is available to watch on the Premier Streaming Network and can also be found on all podcast platforms.

My full conversation with The IInspiration can be found on the Haus of Wrestling YouTube channel and podcast feed.

If you use any quotes from this article, please give a h/t to Haus of Wrestling for the transcription