This is a topic I and others have covered in the past, so forgive me for going back to the well. But it’s been about a month, and it remains pretty amazing how WWE took something a lot of fans were anxiously anticipating and turned it into “meh”.
It looked like we might be turning the corner on Liv Morgan’s rollout as a singles performer. Annoying as it was, no one was really complaining when they dropped the lesbian angle from the Lana/Bobby Lashley wedding segment. Morgan even rebounded from Lana standing tall in a few encounters between them to decisively win their feud.
The surprise attack by her former friend Ruby Riott looked like the set-up for a solid program. “Betrayed by an ex-partner” is pro wrestling 101, Riott’s an extremely talented wrestler... what could go wrong?
Well, putting the whole thing on the back burner for two weeks hasn’t helped. Riott cut a decent promo on Feb. 10 which sort of explained her turn, but not in much more than genericly evil “she’s nothing without me” terms. Then last night, we got this from Liv in response...
“Being betrayed by someone you wholeheartedly believed in, that’s enough to break anyone. And not long ago, it would have broken me. But I am not that puppy on a leash that Ruby Riott described. I found a home in my own skin with the power of looking to the future with an open eye. And Charly, in my future, I’m stepping into that Elimination Chamber, I’m eliminating Ruby Riott from that chamber match and I am moving on to a championship match at WrestleMania.”
This starts and ends decently enough, but as was the case during her issue with Lana, as soon as it touches on anything that would explain Liv’s transformation from pink-haired wild child to chilly blonde slow talker, it breaks down. “The power of looking to the future with an open eye” is even worse than the bringer of karmic justice word salad we were getting a month ago.
I don’t want to rag on Morgan the performer too much, because I think it’s mostly creative letting her down. It’s also possible for someone to grow into this monotonously paced promo delivery style where emphasis is added solely by upping the volume - Charlotte Flair’s done it. But Liv’s not there yet. And if this is what we get backstage, I’m not looking forward to what would happen if she’s asked to stand alone in a ring and talk.
Some of this is personal preference, but wasn’t she much more interesting with her Harley Quinn-inspired personality? Who thinks more people will want to cheer for an ice queen who sounds like she’s reading Gwyneth Paltrow’s Instagram captions?
It’s theoretically possible they’ll figure this out, use the Elimination Chamber - a great vehicle for multiple stories to develop in one match - to kick her feud with Ruby into another gear, and launch Liv to singles stardom. But we’ve hoped for the best with this repackaging several times now, and they’re still missing the mark.
Maybe I just haven’t mastered the power of looking to the future with an open eye.