Steph De Lander (Persia Pirotta) Says Her WWE Release Is Not The End Of Her Journey

The end of Persia Pirotta in WWE is not the end of Steph De Lander’s journey in wrestling.

After being a major character on WWE NXT 2.0 in a featured storyline, Persia Pirotta was abruptly released by WWE on Friday, April 29, 2022. Now, Steph De Lander is talking all about the heartbreaking release and why she is not taking too much time to mourn, saying there is still more to accomplish.

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Speaking with Sean Ross Sapp less than a week after her WWE departure, Steph acknowledges the heartbreaking aspect of her losing her dream job with WWE, but says it would be silly to claim that she was blindsided because since she has been in WWE, there have been frequent releases.

“As it happened, I don’t want to say it’s a shock because I don’t think you can say it’s a shock with the way it's been since I’ve been here,” she began. “Obviously, it’s heartbreaking. WWE is my dream job and to lose that is, obviously, a huge loss. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot and since I’ve been at WWE, the last year, these kinds of cuts have been coming very often and also kind of out of nowhere. So I think it would be silly to say, ‘I was so shocked and so blindsided,’ because the way that it is at the moment is it’s kinda like, ‘Well, you know it’s happening at some point. You know that phone call is gonna ring. It’s gonna come.’ So obviously I wish it wasn’t right now, I feel like I had a lot more to do with WWE, but I wouldn’t say it’s such a shock because I don’t think there are many people that can be completely confident that they’re safe right now.”

Continuing on, the former NXT Superstar says that now, it is all about how she recovers from this setback and claims she is all about trying to find the positive in every situation.

“I think it’s one of those things where—I love inspirational quotes, and it’s very lame—but it’s not about what happened to you, it’s about how you react to it. I could very easily let this thing that happened destroy me and tuck my tail between my legs and cower home and do all those things. Or I can try and find the positives in a situation which I truly believe there are some positives in this situation and make the most of it and just continue with everything that I did before WWE. Because I started wrestling and training when it was 2015. So I hustled on the indies, I grinded, I did all of these things from an unknown wrestler in Australia to WWE. So it’s like remembering that mind frame and that mindset that I had beforehand and now taking what I learned in the last year and applying that and just creating the best version of myself and the best career I can for myself."

Talking about rumored releases, Steph says that every year around this time, new releases occur and because of that, some within the company begin to start thinking about the releases earlier, whether they are given a heads up or not.

“It’s one of those things where you always know releases are gonna come after WrestleMania. So I think everyone gets their brain thinking," she said. “Then also the quarterly call coming up or whatever it is. That makes you think about it because they hadn’t done any this year. We hadn’t been told anything, but you see it enough and you go, ‘It’s been longer than about three months…’ You start to get those thoughts growing and then enough people think the same thing and then whether it’s true or not. You know what wrestling is like. Everyone talks to each other.

“So, there was a feeling of releases are coming soon," she continued. “As I said, it’s one of those things where I think—and it’s not a healthy thing to sit there and just stress about it constantly and that’s something I wish I could have let go of that feeling a lot more, but personally I just couldn’t. It did worry me a lot—it’s my dream job. Of course, I’m terrified of getting fired. Especially seeing the way that things panned out with all of the releases. Within a month of me arriving, there was all of the huge ones last year with the Iiconics and all of those people.”

Furthermore, she says that because of the way things have been since she joined, releases were something that was in the back of her mind for quite a while.

“So pretty much the second I landed, it was like, ‘Oh, my God. What’s going on?’ It didn’t stop," she said. “I can’t speak on behalf of everyone, but for me, it was something that I worried about quite a lot. It’s worry, but it’s also kind of realism. Personally, if I was going to sit and put my head in the sand and go, ‘Lalalalala,’ that doesn’t help me. It’s not gonna make it not happen. I need to at least think about it and go, ‘Right. If this does happen, what’s my next move? What am I doing? How am I gonna get all my ducks in a row so that I can continue to have a career beyond this?’ Everyone handles it differently. But for me, it was a thought on my brain often.”

Moving forward, Steph is determined not to dwell on the negativity and focus on the positive. Speaking about the people that have reached out to her since her release, she says she's appreciative but deals that some people have been too mournful in their reactions. Steph wants to make it clear that she is not done and there is no need for the tiny violins right now.

“I don’t know what I want the headline to be,” she tells Sean Ross Sapp.” I’ve had a lot of people send me messages and I totally understand it, ‘cause when I’ve had friends released, what do you say? What a weird uncomfortable thing. But I’ve had a few messages where it seems like it’s mourning. It’s like I’ve died and that’s it for me and I’m done. A lot of like, ‘You should be proud of what you did.’ It’s like, ‘No, I’ve got so much more.’ I think that’s what I want the perception to be. It’s not that I had this dream ripped away from me. It’s a change of course which truly, I believe, will lead to a lot more and a lot of really big things. I think that’s what I want it to be. I don’t want it to be sad.

“Like I said to my mom, ‘Put the tiny violin away. This doesn’t help anything.’ I don’t need that,” she added. “I can be sad myself if I want to. But I don’t want the sadness and the I’m so sorries. I appreciate it and I love it. I can’t believe how many people have reached out to me. But I’m not looking at it as a sad thing. I know that sounds like bullshit, but I’m actually not. I want it people to see it the way I’m seeing. Yeah, it’s a change of course that I wasn’t expecting right now, but I think I’m gonna look back in a year or two years and go, ‘Thank God that happened when it did,’ you know?”

Steph is currently accepting bookings. She can be contacted at [email protected] and she can be reached on Twitter.

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