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I still don’t understand the IIconics break-up

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Over the last two weeks, Raw has been telling a story about the break up of former WWE Women’s Tag Team champs IIconics.

Splitting up tag teams in pro wrestling is a tale as old as time. So even if a lot of fans (including this writer) aren’t thrilled about the decision to have Peyton Royce and Billie Kay go their separate ways, it’s not some unprecedented move on WWE’s part. The prevailing wisdom that Vince McMahon sees money in Royce as a solo act also makes sense.

The way they’ve gone about doing it, though? That I can’t figure out.

First, IIconics were booked in a match were the winner got a title shot, and the losers had to disband. Peyton & Billie had had issues with their opponents, Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan, at that point, but nothing in the build established why those stakes would be applied to their hastily announced #1 contenders match on Aug. 31.

It wouldn’t have been difficult. Riott & Morgan were in a just-resolved “will they or won’t they reunite” storyline after Ruby attacked Liv earlier this year. The new tag champs, Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, hate each other. Royce & Kay could have cut an arrogant promo gloating about how their real friendship would help them beat both teams and re-claim the belts, then baited them into the stipulation. Instead, we got an edict from a faceless authority figure*, a heartfelt promo after the stip was announced, and real tears in the wake of the decision.

Shortly after that, Peyton served Billie up for a beatdown in Raw Underground. That looked like it might be a heel turn for the already heel Royce. But the next week, the former partners faced off in one-on-one action above ground, then cried together in the ring after Peyton won.

She had a post-show segment that only left me more confused, and made it seem like she’s, confused, too. It’s mostly mourning the loss of her partnership, but then she snaps at interviewer Sarah Shreiber like her old self (just without Billie there to tell Shreiber to go back to journalism school).

I want to believe this is some next level booking**, en route to a fresh story that will help both performers’ careers. But it just comes across as a disorganized afterthought.

Maybe we’ll get some answers tonight. Maybe neither woman will on television. I feel like there’s an equal chance of either possibility.

Help me make sense of it all, Cagesiders.

* Maybe the same powers-that-be Miz contacted to get Mandy Rose shipped to Raw?

** And that it’s setting up Kay as Royce’s manager.