Jessica McKay and Cassie Lee, formerly known as the IIconics, were guests on the recent edition of Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette. During the interview, the topic of transitioning from NXT to WWE main roster came up.
McKay was first to speak about the stark differences between NXT and the main roster.
“It’s night and day. It’s completely different. It’s a completely different audience and a completely different creative team. Everything is different. Nothing, like, overlaps. NXT was so much fun. We got to explore who we wanted to be. I mean, our debut, we couldn’t have dreamed for anything better than that.”
Lee added that moving to the main roster saw them become less threatening;
“So, in NXT, we were kind of like, bitches, I guess. We were stronger. We looked more like threats. Then, we transitioned to the main roster, and Vince [McMahon] thought we were so funny on the microphone that it became more about if we were funny than if we were threats. For me, I needed time to understand and just know that we’re not threats anymore. We were these fun, over-the-top personalities, which I loved. But I missed being perceived as someone who could win a match or win the championships or something like that.”
“But, like, when we came back from the pandemic, I absolutely loved from the time we came back from the pandemic till when they split us up. That was my favorite IIconics’ era because it was a good mesh of both of those things; we were still able to be ourselves on the microphone, but when we got in the ring, it was time for business!”
The duo signed for WWE in 2015. They made their NXT debut in 2016 as Peyton Royce and Billie Kay and became known as the ‘Iconic Duo’.
In 2017 they were voted 2016’s “Breakout of the Year” at the NXT Year-End Awards. On the same night at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio, they challenged for their first title when they competed in a Fatal Four-Way match with Asuka and Nikki Cross for the NXT Women’s Championship.
Lee and McKay made their main roster debut as the ‘IIconics’ on SmackDown in 2018. Their debut was as strong as one could hope for. They interrupted SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair before beating her down in emphatic fashion.
Following the debut, they won their first match against Asuka and Becky Lynch. The IIconics became an integral part of the newly formed women’s tag team division. They won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 35. After the title win their comedic side began to overtake their more threatening side.
Despite them being portrayed as less threatening their comedy made the stand out and become a much loved part of WWE.
h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
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