Fighting

Billie Kay interview; WWE NXT in Orlando, Miami, Fort Pierce

NXT Superstars Billie Kay and Peyton Royce during a WWE NXT show. NXT will be in Orlando for TV tapings on Wednesday, Feb. 22 and then Miami on Friday, Feb. 24 and return to Fort Pierce on Saturday, Feb. 25.
NXT Superstars Billie Kay and Peyton Royce during a WWE NXT show. NXT will be in Orlando for TV tapings on Wednesday, Feb. 22 and then Miami on Friday, Feb. 24 and return to Fort Pierce on Saturday, Feb. 25. Photo Courtesy NXT

A subtle rivalry existed between Billie Kay and Peyton Royce as to who carried the banner ‘biggest WWE fan’ while growing up in Sydney, Australia.

“We went to the same high school,” Kay said. “I was three years ahead of her. Westfields Sports High, I was there for basketball, and she was there for dancing.

“We actually didn’t get along at first. We would see each other in line for all the shows WWE would do in Australia, all the signings they would do.

“One time Mickie James was signing near our hometown, and I remember Peyton being like four or five people in front of me in line, and I had been there about five hours at this point. So we used to have a little silent competition as to who was the biggest WWE fan.”

They eventually set aside their youthful egos, sharing a passion which led both to WWE NXT.

“[Peyton] joined PWA, and from the moment we actually spoke to each other there, we’ve been best friends ever since.”

PWA (Pro Wrestling Alliance) is the wrestling promotion in Sydney, Australia, where each got their start. Peyton in 2009 and Billie in 2007. They signed with WWE in 2015, assigned to the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center in Orlando, where they learned the WWE way.

“Every single trainer at the Performance Center has their own style, their own uniqueness to this business,” Kay said. “I just love learning from each and every single one of them..I just want to continue to learn because there is decades and decades of knowledge in that building. So I want to make sure I’m taking full advantage of it.”

By doing that, Kay and Royce are two promising NXT superstars blazing a trail for others – fans and wrestlers alike, especially those in Australia – to be inspired by them.

It’s a process, leaving family and friends behind to pursue your dream in another country far, far across the long-stretched waterways.

“It was pretty hard,” she said. “I was very close to my family. They are my biggest supporters. They were so excited and grateful I got this opportunity with WWE.

“I still get homesick every now and then. It was a big thing. I had never left for another country before. I packed up everything that I owned in two suitcases and jumped on the plane..and 20, 24 hours later..I was in Orlando.

“I don’t regret anything, and I would absolutely do it all over again.”

Training in Sydney around 2007, Billie worked throughout Australia. It didn’t take her long to attract attention, and the athletic beauty began venturing to North America, wrestling for Combat Zone, NCW, Ring of Honor, Shimmer, and Shine.

Billie, 27, is friends with another Australian pro wrestling/sports entertainment talent.

“I am friends with Emma [now WWE Superstar Emmalina],” she said. “I was contacted through her as well as another mentor of mine, Jag, from Adelaide in Australia that WWE was having a tryout in Melbourne.

“I sent my stuff through, and I was fortunate enough to receive the OK to attend the tryout. It was three days, and it was before WWE had a live event in Melbourne. It was incredible, and then eight weeks later, I was fortunate enough to get an email, saying they were interested in signing me.

“That was one of the best days of my life,” she said with a smile. “I still remember screaming and crying and just jumping for joy with my family.“

How things change.

“The first person I told was Peyton Royce,” she chuckled. “As soon as I got the email I rang her, and I said WWE wants to hire me, and she said, ‘Me, too,’ and we just cried on the phone a good 15 minutes…and then said, ‘OK, it’s time to tell our families,’ and the rest is history.”

Part of that history is watching the maturation process of Kay and Royce in NXT. The hard work is paying off. They starred in a fatal fourway for the NXT women’s title against each other, champ Asuka and Nikki Cross at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio during Royal Rumble Weekend.

“It was overwhelming to say the least,” Kay said. “I had actually written out my 2017 goals a couple of weeks before that, and the first one was to wrestle for the NXT women’s championship on a TakeOver...and I was able to check that one off on the [bucket] list the first month of the year.

“And the fact that I was able to do it with Peyton Royce just made it a little more special.

“Going out there in front of almost 20,000 people is a feeling I want to continue to have over my career.”

Once part of the crowd, Kay is a longtime pro wrestling fan.

“I started watching wrestling when I was 10-years-old with my big brother [Jacob],” she said. “He sat me down in front of the TV to watch it, and ever since then I’ve been absolutely hooked.”

Now big brother is watching her on TV.

“It’s very surreal to him,” Kay noted. “We watched it all the time, growing up together, and we idolized the same wrestlers -- The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin. So for him to see me achieve my dream and to be here in NXT, it’s really special.”

Kay also excelled in basketball, beginning at age 5.

“I loved it,” she said. “I played in the ABA [Australian Basketball Association], which is kind of like college basketball [in America]. We won the state championship one year. It’s something I continue to miss.”

Though, following high school, at age 18, her mind was already made up.

“There were always opportunities to play basketball that would come about,” she said, “but I always knew deep down I wanted to be in WWE and NXT. So I never really put all my energy into basketball because I knew that being here in Orlando was my dream job, and I wanted to put 110-percent effort into that.”

Unfortunately, finding pro wrestling in Australia isn’t like the United States.

“It is a little bit harder [to do that in Australia],” she said. “There isn’t much wrestling in Australia as compared to America. So in that sense it was a little bit tougher to get into the business. Fortunately, one of my brother’s friends owned a wrestling school [PWA]. As soon as I finished high school, I joined up, and that was almost 10 years ago now...I just wrestled as much as I could around Australia and was fortunate enough to come to America a couple of times to wrestle.”

Now Kay is wrestling regularly in America, and she is striving to complete her list.

TwitterBillieKay

- NXT in Miami

WWE’s NXT makes its third visit to Miami on Friday, Feb. 24 at the Fieldhouse at the Watsco Center (formerly Bank United Center) at the the University of Miami in Coral Gables.

“Fans can expect to see a really family friendly, awesome, entertaining show,” Kay said. “You can bring your whole family, your friends, and make a great night of it. We got great NXT Superstars -- Tye Dillinger, Shinsuke Nakamara, Bobby Roode, myself, Peyton Royce -- we really want to perform for the NXT Universe, and it’s going to be a great night.”

Also see some of the newer faces on the NXT roster as well as the progressing talent who are continuing to build a hot NXT brand and working toward joining the ranks of the main roster in WWE.

Asuka, #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa), Authors of Pain (Rezar and Akam) and more.

Bell time is 7:30 p.m.

“I’ve been to Miami once before with NXT,” she said. “It’s a beautiful city. I couldn’t stop looking around. It’s just stunning, and the crowd there was incredible as well. So I’m eager to get back there to Miami and put on another great show.”

Tickets are on sale online and at the Watsco Center box office.

Visit NXTTickets.com.

http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0D005224DB339A6B

NXTUCFOrlandoMiamiShowInfo

- NXT in Orlando

WWE’s NXT returns for TV tapings at University of Central Florida in Orlando at The Venue at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22.

The Venue is behind the CFE Arena.

Featured superstars include NXT champ Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura and NXT women’s champ Asuka.

For tickets click NXTUCFTickets or visit the CFE Arena box office.

- NXT in Fort Pierce

WWE’s NXT is Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Havert L. Fenn Center in (South Florida) Fort Pierce.

There will be a pre-show meet-n-greet around ringside included in the price of admission. WWE NXT superstars Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford participated in the January meet-n-greet at the Havert L. Fenn Center.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Bell time is 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: General Admission $10; Gold Circle (Ringside) $20.

NXTFortPierceTickets

@WWENXT

- NXT on WWE Network

WWE NXT is 8 p.m. Wednesdays on WWE Network.

@WWENetwork

@WWE

- NXT abroad

To see NXT in a city near you, check

www.wwe.com/events

- NXT/WrestleMania 33 Orlando

WWE WrestleMania 33 is Sunday, April 2, 2017 at Camping World Stadium, formerly Citrus Bowl Stadium, in Orlando.

“I think it’s going to be probably the biggest WrestleMania ever,” Kay said. “It’s in Orlando where NXT is based. There are going to be so many exciting events and activities happening around that whole week...So I will be grateful if I can be included in anything.”

During WrestleMania Week, NXT TakeOver: Orlando is Saturday, April 1 at the Amway Center, home of the NBA Orlando Magic.

She added: “Obviously I would love to wrestle at TakeOver in Orlando because I think it’s going to be really special and an amazing event to be part of.”

@WrestleMania

- Pro Wrestling On The Web

http://www.miamiherald.com/sports/fighting/

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