Her run as SmackDown Women’s Champion may have gotten off to a rocky start in the eyes of many, but those same eyes cannot deny that Liv Morgan has really started to find her groove these last few weeks. The confidence of the New Jersey native, both on and off the screen, grows with each passing day.
Every morning Liv Morgan wakes up with a smile on her face because she still has the SmackDown Women’s Championship in her possession. Cageside Seats had a chance to chat with Morgan ahead of Extreme Rules and you could see the glow radiating off of her. Or maybe it was the reflection of the title belt off her camera lights, but regardless, you get my point.
Liv Morgan is living the dream right now, but she learned very quickly just how heavy the head is that wears the crown.
“You are the champion. You are representing the company. You are representing this title. Everything that you do matters,” Morgan told Cageside Seats. “There’s a true, for me at least, there’s a true responsibility to the locker room, to the other women. Obviously, you’re representing this massive worldwide global company, especially during this insane time of transition that the WWE went through. It was a lot. But I am very proud and honored that I’m the champion during this time. I don’t know, it just, it means more to me. It’s so real to me. It means more to me than having a title or being considered champion. There’s so many layers that go into it. It’s truly an honor.”
One of the biggest criticism’s of Morgan’s reign so far has been her booking. She’s been the recipient of a great deal of offense from her opponents and has had to play from behind, so to speak, to win her matches.
That scrappy underdog mentality played well to the crowd while she was chasing the gold all these years, but now that she has it, what she was once revered for is now seen as a sign of weakness. However, while others want her to tower over the rest of the SmackDown Women’s Division, Morgan has a different vision. She’s choosing to use her time in the spotlight, to shine that light on others.
“As I settled in as champ, it just became very clear and like natural to me, what those responsibilities are and what kind of champion I wanna be. I don’t wanna be the champion that is feeling entitled and is feeling like I’ve gotta look better than everyone all the time. It’s like, no, I wanna be the champion that literally and genuinely lifts up the division. That lifts up the locker room. That lifts up every single person that I work with.”
Morgan spent eight years watching other women carry the gold and saw Bayley as someone to emulate. It’s in this case that the Grand Slam Champion has lived up to her Role Model nickname.
“She is someone that I’ve had my entire WWE journey with. She was locker room leader when I started in NXT. And she always wants what’s best for the betterment of the Women’s Division and women’s wrestling in general. You know, it’s not just about her or her being on top or her looking fantastic. It’s about who you’re in there with and everyone else.”
A statement that still holds water to this day. Bayley may no longer be the lovable hugger she once was, but upon her return to WWE this summer, she still prioritized putting the progression of others ahead of her own goals. It was only after she helped establish her Damage CTRL compatriots, Dakota Kai and IYO SKY, that she turn her attention toward capturing the Raw Women’s Championship for herself. Proving that even in darkness, there can be a hint of light.
While Bayley has been critically lauded for her efforts to elevate the division, it’s been the exact opposite for Liv Morgan. Immediately following her controversial victory over Ronda Rousey at SummerSlam, the full brunt force of the fickle fanbase came crashing down on the SmackDown Women’s Champion. Just as a certain someone predicted it would late last year.
Becky Lynch during her feud with Liv Morgan last year -— Andrew (@bigtimeEST) August 6, 2022
“If she (Liv) was standing in here with this title on her shoulder, you would find every reason to doubt the same woman that convinced you to believe in her.”
Becky being right yet again about wrestling fans lol pic.twitter.com/HnJK04wxA6
Just call her Bex-tradamus.
Having the crowd turn on you that quickly, live on the most watched wrestling show on the planet, could be a jarring experience for any performer. But Liv handled herself well. She told Cageside Seats that she actually needed that reality check, and in a weird way, she’s grateful and appreciative for the experience.
Ultimately, it could prove to be the turning point in a lengthy and successful run as SmackDown Women’s Champion.
“It’s been a journey. I think in the beginning I just was so in disbelief that I made my dreams come true. That it took a couple weeks for this to like settle in and feel real. It didn’t feel real for what feels like forever. I remember people asking me like, ‘Does it feel real yet?’ And it’s been like a month and a half later and I’m still like, no,” Morgan said. “I feel like over the last couple weeks, the last month or so, it’s really settled. And it doesn’t feel like, yes, thank you, I’m grateful to be champion. It feels like, I’m the SmackDown Women’s Champion. I’m the rightful SmackDown Women’s Champion and I’m perhaps the best woman for the job right now.”
In true Liv Morgan fashion, she’s ready to fight. Fight to win back the admiration of those fans she lost. And most importantly come this Saturday, she’ll fight with every ounce of her being to retain her championship against Ronda Rousey.
“There’s nothing that I won’t do. And I mean that so very genuinely. There’s absolutely nothing that I wouldn’t do. And there’s especially nothing that I wouldn’t do to keep this championship. Ronda’s gonna have to kill me. Like, I’ve said it before, but I just mean that so quite literally. You’re gonna have to get creative if you think anything’s gonna keep me down from keeping my championship.”
Win, lose or draw, Liv is excited for the opportunity that lays ahead of her this Saturday at Extreme Rules. She says growing up it was the hardcore style, noting specially the early TLC classics, that really attracted her to pro wrestling.
It may seem crazy to some. Challenging Ronda Rousey to an Extreme Rules match is like handing a can of gasoline to someone with a blow torch. You don’t need to make someone that’s a threat even more dangerous. That said, Liv doesn’t see it that way. This is her wheelhouse.
So bring on the tables, the ladders, the chairs, the kendo sticks, and yes, even the thumb tacks Ronda. Liv is ready. And more importantly, she genuinely loves it. Seriously. She wants it all. Liv Morgan is ready to go out in front of a hot Philadelphia crowd, the birthplace of ECW, and put herself through Hell to hang on to her SmackDown Women’s Championship.
“There’s a passion about it,” Morgan said. “You have to love something with your whole entire heart and soul. And I don’t know how else to show my love for wrestling then to like show you guys that I will do anything for this. I will put my body through anything just so you could understand how much this means to me and how much I love this. I don’t know how else to really explain it more than that. It’s like, for you to understand what this means to me, I will roll through thumb tacks, on fire.”
Flaming thumb tacks? Yea, you can sign me up for that.
Check out our full conversation with Liv Morgan in the video above and make sure to watch her this Saturday at Extreme Rules as she defends her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Ronda Rousey in an Extreme Rules match. Coverage starts at 8pm ET\7pm CT on Peacock.