Aussie women shock America in historic WWE moment
TWO hours after living their dreams, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay were still in shock.
The Sydney-born tag team known as The IIconics had just won the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships in front of 80,000 fans at MetLife Stadium just outside New York. They are the first ever born-and-bred Australians to win a title match at WrestleMania.
But this is not a story about two characters winning wrestling championships. This is a story about two women who have grown up together, tried to reach an almost impossible dream together - and then achieved it. Together.
The pair, high school friends, entered the wrestling industry in Australia wishing they could one day reach the pinnacle of professional wrestling - the WWE - together. To do so, they travelled the world, living off little money at times and having to battle in an incredibly competitive landscape.
Through all of it, they had each other, even when moving across the planet and leaving their friends and families behind.
"Ever since we came into each other's lives, we had this one goal, and we wanted to do it by each other's side," an emotional Kay told Australian media backstage at WrestleMania 35.
"And every step of the way we have been by each other's side. We are so in love. She is my life partner, my high school sweetheart, and the fact that we walked out onto our first WrestleMania and won the women's tag team titles, I am beyond happy."
Royce was clearly still trying to get a handle on her emotions. With the team's victory came an incredible flurry of support - as they were being interviewed, a fellow wrestler from their match rode past on a golf cart and yelled out how happy she was for them.
A "flood" of their co-workers were hiding right behind the curtain waiting to congratulate them after their victory.
"All of a sudden I had all these arms around us, and I honestly didn't even know who was there," Royce said.
Kay added: ""It was just a big hugging circle, and everyone was crying. It was filled with love."
Kay described the moment when she went for the winning pinfall in the middle of the ring as "surreal".
"Everything kind of went silent, but I heard the three count and then my body just went into this really big noodle. And I kind of just collapsed," she said.
"I remember Peyton coming in, and us just crying our eyes out, and then we got handed these championships.
"I will never feel something like that again in my entire life and I am so damn proud of us. This is what we worked for and, man, we did it."
At one point in Royce's pre-WWE career, when she was still trying to make her way in the wrestling business, she didn't even have enough money on her to afford the bus to get to work.
That was just four years ago. She is now at the top of her profession.
"All we want is to make our friends, our family and our country proud," she said.
"I really hope we did that tonight because we are just ecstatic right now."