Something bad happened during the six-woman tag match between Natalya & the Bellas and Riott Squad on Raw last night (Sept. 24). While delivering the YES/IT Kicks, a series of shin strikes to the torso of a kneeling opponent used by WWE Superstars Brie Bella, Daniel Bryan and The Miz, Brie hit Liv Morgan in the head instead of the chest and Morgan was injured as a result.
That’s all I know.
When someone who has never been a stellar in-ring performer is involved in a botched spot which hurts another wrestler - especially during a return from hiatus which has featured a string of moves gone wrong - there’s going to be backlash. Some of it is almost certainly deserved. Brie is the common denominator in these equations.
The breakdown which blames Bella completely could be right. She’s probably not at least partly responsible. But it also could be that the first kick was misplaced, which threw off Morgan’s rhythm so she swayed right into the next one and that’s the one which caused her injury and there’s lots of blame to go around. When/if a diagnosis becomes available, we also won’t know if any of the damage was caused by the triple suplex spot the Riott Squad member allegedly insisted she take part in, despite Brie trying to ensure Morgan was out of the action and that her teammates and the referee knew she’d been hurt.
There’s a lot we don’t know.
As someone who’s watched a lot of wrestling, took a few years of Tae Kwon Do classes and was mostly on the losing end of a handful of real fights during my wayward youth, here’s what I’m pretty confident saying I do know:
- This was a situation several professionals did their best to diagnose and address on the fly. WWE - a company I have a lot of issues with, but which I truly believe wants to prevent injuries to its independent contractors (for numerous reasons) - will continue to investigate how Morgan’s injury was caused and responded to. They’ll hopefully change some of their procedures for reacting to an in-match incident as a result.
- Accidents happen. Maybe they occur more often with Birdie’s mom. The likelihood of them happening goes up on certain spots and types of moves. But there’s no way to make what wrestlers do on an almost nightly basis empirically safe. Whatever else may or may not be true, Liv’s injury is the latest reminder of that.
- The business has a way of addressing these things. If Bella is truly dangerous to her opponents, bookers will find a way to use her which doesn’t involve her delivering offense. Wrestlers will no longer be willing to work with her, or will at least try to call their matches differently. Or this will happen... what Ruby offers up here at the end is called a receipt:
- We should be especially careful taking Brie to task for her tweeted acknowledgement of the incident. Was it a great apology? No. But we don’t know if it came from Bella herself, or a WWE PR person. The company’s website has a story up about the incident... would her bosses want her to completely pull the curtain back? Yes, kayfabe is dead. But its coffin isn’t always nailed shut, and WWE has a lot riding on Brie’s match with her sister and the company’s big investment, Ronda Rousey, in less than two weeks. Having one of the stars of Super Show-Down tweeting about how she dangerously screwed up a work isn’t ideal publicity. Anyone deciding Bella is a bad person because of the way the tweet is worded is off base.
In a nutshell, I’m sure neither Liv (for obvious and not obvious reasons), Brie, the referee, the agent, the medical staff nor anyone involved feels great about what happened in Denver. We as fans can ask the entire business to take better care of the performers, but that’s about it.
Beyond that, we should accept that wrestling is dangerous, and let wrestling take care of it from there.