When Gionna Daddio was hired by WWE in 2014, a lot of people were shaking their heads. WWE was hiring yet another model who would continue to make female wrestling unwatchable. Her WWE name became Liv Morgan, but her gimmick was relatively nothing initially. The New Jersey native seemed to rely on her Jersey roots at first. But that would later change as she developed as a character.
You might remember in 2014, WWE began to slowly make changes to their Diva’s Division. WWE NXT was putting on some of the best female matches in modern WWE history, and that was completely due to Sarah Amato. She was formerly known as the impressive independent wrestler, Sara Del Rey. When she was hired in 2012, she was amazed at how bad the women were being trained in WWE. They were telling them to “wrestle like Divas.” Yet this was a meaningless instruction.
People like Fit Finlay and later Goldust fought to make sure women could actually wrestle. They were capable of this but WWE did not want to allow it. This is why someone like Liv Morgan was the perfect hire for WWE in 2014. They were still stuck in their Divas Era and hiring another model only made sense. Yet Triple H’s decision to change the way women were used in WWE slowly began to take place in 2014 and heavily by 2015.
Amato would even be promoted to the Assistant Head Trainer role and that only led to people like Morgan being trained properly. Yet WWE also wanted to bring her up to the main roster after she showed she could be a useful asset to the company. That led to the introduction of the Riott Squad.
The Riott Squad
Liv Morgan was introduced to the main roster fans along with Ruby Riott & Sarah Logan as the Riott Squad in 2017. While they did make an impact initially as a tough trio, the group eventually became lovable losers. Morgan even took most of the pinfalls when the group lost. This group was organized initially to push Riott, but it was also useful for the crazy girl with the multi-colored tongue in the group too.
Liv was able to learn from two independent wrestling queens, who were impressive in-ring workers. Due to working with them, it only made sense to assume was going to learn a few things. This included how to cut a promo and even how to wrestle at a high level. Liv Morgan in 2017 could never have worked as a singles act, as she was still too green to really do this alongside the likes of Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch.
WWE now had higher standards for female athletes. The women were also no longer “Divas” but simply “WWE Superstars,” equal to the men. No longer were females able to go out there and just have a 2-minute match where the babyface went over. They were now given time to show off as great in-ring wrestlers, just as they were trained to be by Amato and the WWE Performance Center staff.
While the Riott Squad might have been lovable losers, Liv Morgan learned a lot from her time with them. More importantly, by the time she was essentially forced to be a singles worker, she was ready. Her friends and Squad members were let go by WWE, but they did not let Morgan go. Oh no, the company saw she had a lot left to offer.
Liv Morgan Now On Her Own
Once Ruby and Sarah were let go by WWE, especially Ruby, Liv Morgan was forced to become a singles wrestler. At the time, many fans did not expect much from her. She was fun to watch with Ruby by her side, but could she work well outside of a tag team? WWE did try to see at one point when Ruby was out of action. But she did not seem ready, and that was a big problem.
However, Morgan knew she could improve if she worked hard. Not only did she do so, but she has since been able to excel in every opportunity WWE has given her in the last year. Initially, her singles run felt forced. As if WWE was only giving her screen time because she’s gorgeous. Being beautiful in WWE is not enough, as you must be able to work well in the ring too.
Being a pretty face might have been enough to give you a lot of screen time in 2010 or even 2013. However, today the other women are so good in the ring that you have to be able to climb up to their level. Some of these women are even better than a lot of the men in WWE. Therefore, you cannot just expect to be given something just because of your beauty. You have to actually earn it, then KEEP earning it.
Flashes Of Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus came into WWE from the fitness modeling world. This was a time when WWE programming was more mature, so overly sexualizing women was one of the biggest things they were known for. Women who could work well in the ring were nice and all. However, that was hardly useful to “WWF” at the time. You needed to have great looks because chances are, WWE is going to have you wear very little clothing.
If nothing else, they’ll have to take part in things where clothing will be taken off quite often. In spite of this, WWE had some incredible female wrestlers. People like Lita, Jacqueline, Ivory, Molly Holly, and many more were on the roster by the late 1990s. By 2000 when Trish was hired, she could certainly not compete well with a lot of the female locker room. To be fair to her, that was not her role at first.
She came in as the manager of Test and Albert, given the name T&A. It was a double-meaning name and had no connection to the future promotion that sounded similar.
Eventually, WWE began training her for in-ring action but she struggled for a while. However, Trish realized that she had to be better or she might not have a job after too long. WWE already had talented women, and the buyout of WCW & ECW only meant other women would be arriving soon. The female locker room was filled with beautiful women, and more new girls would be arriving as time went on.
Her looks would only get her so far, but if she improved in the ring and on the microphone, she could have a chance to stand out.
Trish’s Improvements Made Her A Legend
Trish was only in the company for a year when WWE bought out WCW & ECW in 2001. Yet by Survivor Series in 2001, they were bringing back the WWE Women’s Championship that had all but been retired. The first person to hold the title in this new era would be important to the future of the women’s division. WWE then decided they’d have a match to decide the new champion at the event, putting Trish in the ring with Lita, Ivory, Molly Holly, & Jackie.
In a surprise twist, they added the former ECW star Jazz into the mix. Trish ended up winning the match and immediately going into a rivalry with Jazz. Of course, Jazz was an incredible worker and the work with her only aided Stratus as a worker herself. From there, she ended up having a great rivalry with Lita that led to the two having impressive matches.
Trish then worked in high-level rivalries with women like Victoria, Mickie James, and many more. Yet none of these matches or rivalries would have worked if Trish did not improve in the ring or connect with the fans. Without becoming someone fan’s could get behind and love, but also see progressing, she could never become a true star. She connected and the fans could not help but love her. Even when she became a heel, they loved every minute of her on-screen.
How Does Liv Connect To Trish?
It’s as if Liv Morgan is taking the Trish Stratus road to success right now. She obviously spent far more time with WWE before going solo. Yet like Trish, Liv has been forced to improve or not have a job at all. WWE fans have even seen Morgan trying and love her. Pretty much every week now, Liv gets some of the loudest pops of the night. That is from men, women, and children alike.
Her looks, while helpful in many cases, only got her so far. Fans connected with her and Liv went out and kept proving fans right for loving her. She’s constantly proving how much she has improved in the ring, with several matches standing out as proof of this. Her rivalry with Becky Lynch led to a match where she took the then-champion Lynch to the limit. She also was a star inside the Elimination Chamber a little while back.
Just recently, she had a match against one of the best wrestlers alive (man or woman) on WWE SmackDown, Sasha Banks. Not only did she and Banks have one of the best matches of the week, but she actually beat “The Boss” in that very match. It was the biggest win of her career, but it’s unlikely to be the last big win she’ll see.
Like Trish, she has had rivalries and great opponents to work with on her move up the ladder of success. That is only making her better day by day. It is clear that WWE sees a lot in Liv, and the fans certainly love her. The question is whether or not she will continue to improve? Most feel she will, as she seems to do so every single week now.
Future Legend – Unknown
Will she become a future 7-time Women’s Champion? This is unknown as time will tell. One thing is for sure, like Stratus, she is not just some model who wanted to take the WWE exposure to move on to something else. She wants to become a success here and prove the time invested in her was worth it.
Liv Morgan has said time and time again that she has loved wrestling since she was young. She jumped at the chance to work for WWE all those years ago. At 27 years old, 7 years into her WWE career, this is around the time model types tend to jump from WWE into something else. Meanwhile, Morgan is busy getting better and wants to pursue championships in the WWE.
For quite some time, we pre-judged Liv Morgan as a model type that would leave after a little WWE exposure. Many others have done it, and very few could blame them for taking on a job with fewer risks. However, Morgan pushed against leaving for other ventures and wants to become a future legend.
This is why so many fans also seem so willing to back her. They know she is not like other women with a similar pre-WWE background. We as fans want to see her succeed, but some might feel she’ll never be able to see the same success as people like Sasha, Bayley, and Charlotte.
To that, Liv would simply state: