The WWE tag team formerly known as the IIconics, Cassie Lee and Jessie McKay, talk about receiving their release and when we can expect them to return to the ring.
The pair were recently a guest on Oral Sessions with Renee Paquette. They spoke on their release from WWE in April and where they were and how they reacted to the news.
Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay Share Their Story
McKay, formerly Billie Kay, was going about her normal weekly routine and getting a spray tan in preparation for SmackDown. When she got the call from WWE, she wasn’t thinking it was anything beyond a simple work related call, but it quickly became much more serious.
“I couldn’t say anything. I was like, ‘What?!?’ and I was speechless,” McKay said. “This is a lot, then the phone call wrapped up, it ended, and I was frozen. I walked out on the back patio and my husband was out there with our puppy. We joke a lot and you know how there’s always like fake wrestling news, all that kind of stuff, but I was just like, ‘babe, I’m not joking, I got released.’ And his face dropped and seeing that made my heart break even more.
Honestly, we just spent the next two hours crying together out on the patio and it was like 4:30 when it happened. I rang my family at about 5, spoke to all of them and they’re just so loving and supporting so that helped, but it was just a shock. I just wasn’t expecting it at all and then my husband went and got me donuts, so that was nice.” H/T To WrestleZone For Transcription
Cassie Lee, formally Peyton Royce, was caught just as off guard by her release as McKay. She was getting a massage when her husband, AEW wrestler Shawn Spears, told her to look at her phone because McKay texted about her release and a missed call from WWE. It was probably pretty obvious what the call was about, but still she was probably hoping she was wrong.
“I was like, ‘Well, I’m done,’” Cassie Lee said. “So I tried to call back and there was no answer, but I wrapped up that massage real quick. ‘I’ll have to rebook you, mate!’ Ronnie [Spears] and I sat on the couch just waiting for the call to come back and thank gosh he was home, because if this was a typical Wednesday and he was at work and I was home by myself, oh boy.
I can’t even imagine dealing with that alone in my house. He was reassuring me that everything was going to be OK. ‘You’re fine, it’s going to be OK. I promise you’ and I just felt this overwhelming sensation of relief, like the world lifted off of my shoulders almost.”
Cassie Lee Looks At A Bad Situation In A New Light
When she finally got the call back from WWE the call only lasted about a minute. Lee could see it coming based on Tweets and McKay’s text, but was still shocked and a hard call to receive. The next day she was sad and thinking about what she did wrong and what she did to deserve being released. However, she eventually turned a new leaf and thought about the situation in a different way.
“I just had to realize that it wasn’t something I did or didn’t do,” Cassie Lee said. “We were good employees, we were the first ones there at TVs, we dressed like professionals and Superstars, we were polite, respectful and I know we didn’t do anything wrong. We were just victims of budget cuts, so that’s something that I had to just realize and know is the truth. We didn’t do anything wrong.”
Green Card Problems Don’t Sound Very IIconic
I think that was absolutely the case. They were both popular and it came down to WWE not having anything lined up for them and not knowing what to do with them as singles competitors. Lee was starting to get a little push towards the end of her time with WWE, but it wasn’t strong enough to keep her around. I wouldn’t be surprised if WWE reaches out to them to return at some point in the future. They both had a ton of charisma and that is something people either have or don’t.
Something which has made this release even more difficult is that they can’t work because they don’t have work visas. They have plans for their future and what they want to do, but legally can’t.
“The difficult thing for us is that, this is a whole thing but, we still don’t have our green cards,” Cassie Lee said. “So, we’re not allowed to work until we get those or until we can find some sponsorship anywhere else. It’s like, we’re so excited, we have all this freedom and we have so many ideas, but pump the brakes, because we can’t do any of it. This podcast that we’re doing, we’re not making any money off it or anything like that. It’s purely just to get our name out there and kind of try and stay relevant. It’s been tough just knowing we have all these things we wanna do but can’t do it.”
Paquette, who is married to AEW star Jon Moxley, added how many people don’t understand how the green card is this thing which is held over performers heads. She knows from personal experience how it looms in performers’ minds being from Canada herself. Luckily she is a US citizen now. The whole process is very stressful for the performers. They added how most people don’t understand how hard the process is and how long it takes.
“We’re just in this holding pattern right now,” Cassie Lee said. “There’s literally nothing we can do, it’s just waiting. We’ve been in this process for four years which is basically unheard of, but [the fact is] that no one could control the pandemic, whatever, government, all that kind of stuff.”
“I don’t think people understand it properly,” McKay said. “Obviously, I’m so glad we’re talking to you because you get it. People are like, ‘Well, what do you want to do now?’ and it’s like, ‘Well, nothing, because I can’t legally work here in this country.’
People think it’s like you apply for a green card and it comes in the mail with a balloon, like ‘Here’s your green card, here you go!’ This sh*t takes years and we’ve been through the ringer with this, with getting things denied and having to switch the process over because of the pandemic. It keeps backing on and it’s year after year after year. We’re almost there, but almost there could be a year away, and that’s the thing. We just don’t know.
People say, ‘It’ll work itself out’ or ‘Surely your former employer will help out’ and stuff like that, no. We’re in this together. It’s just us doing it by ourselves now, so it’s been stressful. It’s just another added stress after getting released. We didn’t know what would happen, we were like, ‘Do we have to leave the country?’ ‘Do I have to sell my house?’ We had no idea how it works. Thankfully, we can stay here, but yeah it’s just that added stress, it’s a lot. Thankfully, we hope it’s going to work itself out in the next six to twelve months.”
July would be 90 days since their release so the non-compete clause will expire next month. However, according to them we are still a long way out before we can see them in the ring or even working for a wrestling promotion in any way. Unless this was all kayfabe and they already have their green cards and are planning a surprise appearance. I guess we will see in the next month or two.
However, one thing is for sure: I am excited to see where Cassie Lee and Jessie McKay will end up and what these ideas entail. Drop some of those ever so sweet comments below and let us know what you think.