Persia Pirotta, real name Steph De Lander, was one of ten talents that were released last Friday from the NXT 2.0 brand. WWE continues to release its Superstars and give the excuse of “budget cuts” that were constant through 2021.
While talking to Fightful she explained that she didn’t consider it a shock that she was released because of the way talent has been cut since she’d been there. She has been thinking about it a lot ever since she got hired. The conversation wasn’t long and she knew it was time when she saw a call from Stamford. She doesn’t believe that there are many people there that could consider themselves immune from it.
De Lander was signed in 2019 and her original contract would have been up this year. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, they had t operate on a three-month “wait and see” increments and she was told to stay safe and in shape. During this waiting period before she debuted, she wasn’t being paid and WWE had no say over who she wrestled. Although she was a big component to the NXT 2.0 rebrand, she was actually hired before then and most of the people who ran NXT at that time were no longer employed.
She adds to the NXT 2.0 rebranding that it came in bits. One week they would mention a new song and then new logos, etc. She doesn’t believe that even the people who ran NXT knew exactly what was going on.
Leading up to her release, De Lander considered releases were coming and originally heard that they were going to happen close to Good Friday. She spoke highly of Doudrop’s demeanor and said that they and Kay Lee Ray were hanging out the day before she was released and they spoke about the releases possibly happening.
Her favorite moment in NXT 2.0 was when she was in a Triple Threat with Io Shirai and Jacy Jayne. Jayne was sidelined during the match and it caused Pirotta to step up and put on a stellar match with Shirai on the spot.
Steph wrestled on the indie scene in Australia prior to joining WWE and NXT. Prior to her tag team partner and best friend Indi Hartwell being signed with WWE, the two ran an angle at an indie promotion, MCW, that Pirotta turned on Hartwell. De Lander pitched this idea to NXT.
The angle was received well and that was the basis of their time together in NXT. Dexter Lumis and Duke Hudson were later added to their storyline. Despite the criticism of the story, she said that she has no regrets. De Lander was frequently shown on NXT 2.0 programming weekly.
De Lander has booked her first indie match post her release on June 25 at an XPW WRestling event. She tells Fightful that she is at the start of her career but will also be selective with her bookings and take the ones that make sense for her. She intends on staying in the United States at this time.
The full interview drops at Noon ET and the link is below.
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