Liv Morgan carries the SmackDown women’s championship like a born winner, but her confidence was not always so unwavering. Morgan defeated Ronda Rousey for the SmackDown women’s championship at Money in the Bank in Las Vegas on July 2.
Morgan captured her first world title after eight years in the WWE. A lifelong WWE fan, the 28-year-old from New Jersey repeatedly experienced conflicts between her eternal hopefulness and creeping doubts.
“It’s a weird conundrum because I lost confidence, but I never lost hope,” Morgan told CBS Sports. “There were tons of moments where I was maybe starting to bring up the idea of accepting that my wrestling career wouldn’t pan out the way I expected it to. Still impactful nonetheless but maybe this [title] just wasn’t in the cards for me.
“Tons of moments where I had to kind of familiarize myself with that possibility,” she continued. “At the same time, my inner-inner-inner monologue said, ‘You’re going to be champion. This is what you were born for. This is what you were meant for. There is no way that somewhere along the way in this crazy journey you are not going to have this.’ I just battled with that for a long time and now here we are.”
Check out the full interview with Liv Morgan below.
Morgan’s post-match celebration was far more intimate than planned. An expectation to commemorate the occasion with friends was replaced by a long period of self-reflection.
“I thought I was going to want to go out and celebrate. That was my full intention,” Morgan said. “But when I got to my room I literally laid on my bed and draped my title over me and I just stared at the ceiling and replayed the last two hours of my life. I couldn’t get it to feel real. I just sat there like, ‘No, this happened.’ I laid there for hours. I didn’t move and I didn’t go out. I just laid there on my bed with my title, looking at the ceiling and trying to absorb that moment as best as I possibly could.”
Pro-wrestling is littered with contradictions. It occupies a space between sports and entertainment. Its stories blur the lines between fiction and non-fiction. The action is part scripted, part improvised. And its athletes work together in pursuit of their individual ambitions. That individual pursuit is why Morgan is so grateful that her fellow female superstars were so encouraging of her ascension to world champion.
“It was amazing. It made the victory and everything so much sweeter,” Morgan said. “This is a competitive sport. What we do is competitive. We all want this. We all want to be in a position where we can say we are champions, where we can have this championship. The fact that so many other women took themselves out of that for a second to just be genuinely happy for me made everything so much sweeter. It genuinely touched me. This is just as good as winning. It was very, very sweet and I’m so grateful to all the girls.”
Morgan will defend her SmackDown women’s championship in a rematch against Ronda Rousey at SummerSlam. The event takes place at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, on Saturday, July 30.