All wrestlers have to start somewhere on the path to making their dreams a reality, whether it be a wrestling school, church basement, bingo hall, etc. From there, those wrestlers work their way up to the pinnacle of their dreams. For many, that’s a career in WWE or more recently AEW, IMPACT Wrestling, or even NJPW. But sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination. In LWOPW’s feature, “Before They Were Famous,” we take a look at the pre-WWE careers of some of the company’s top current stars, following along on their road to superstardom. In this edition, we take a look at the highly promising member of the SmackDown women’s division, Liv Morgan.
Liv Morgan has felt as though she’s been with WWE forever at this point, and yet she is only 26 years old. The prime of her career remains in front of her. She’s been one of the more interesting women on WWE television in the past number of years when looking at her over the top charisma, continuously improved in-ring abilities, but having no true direction on TV until now. The number of times WWE attempted to repackage Morgan almost made it seem there was no hope for the girl who took sacrifices to pursue her wrestling career, but as one of the key members of the SmackDown women’s division, she is finally at home to thrive.
As WWE airs the “Liv Forever” special on the WWE Network, we get a real insight into her own thought process of her last 16 months that really were an up and down adventure from wanting to prove herself, to be the love interest of Lana, and eventually getting back together with her best friend Ruby Riott to reform an updated version of the Riott Squad. But what about before that? Here, we look at what Morgan did to become a WWE superstar. Some may know the story, others may not understand what Morgan was willing to do to live her dream.
Before They Were Famous: Liv Morgan
Before Liv Morgan was running roughshod on the main roster as a member of the Riott Squad or even a part of NXT, she was better known by her real name, Gionna Daddio. Growing up in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, Morgan was a wrestling fan from the start. While some see her as this possible model who was found by WWE, she had a dream to do this since childhood. In an interview with WWE.com, Morgan explained how she and her brothers made a backyard wrestling ring at home.
“We dug four poles into the ground and put lawn chairs in front of them for buckles,” Morgan said. “We tied three pieces of industrial rope around the corners, and the only mat we had was a stacked-up pile of lawn chair cushions. When we finished, we thought it was the most awesome thing ever, and my house instantly became the after-school spot for all of my brothers’ friends.”
This was a real dream for her after she fell in love with WWE in her childhood. She attached herself to Lita, as she never felt that the WWE Divas that she saw on television matched who she was.
“I would literally take Pedigrees and powerbombs like it was my job,” Morgan said. “I always pretended to be Lita. All the Divas were so glamorous and girly, and I was such a tomboy and didn’t have nice clothes. When I saw Lita come out in baggy pants and sneakers, wrestling the boys, I thought she was the coolest thing ever. I related to her and thought she could be my friend.”
For many young girls that grew up wrestling fans, you hear the names like Lita and Trish Stratus who they connected to and wanted to be. Morgan’s realness in this interview gives that insight that she wanted to be good at this. It wasn’t simply an avenue to make money but something she loved.
While Morgan didn’t wrestle in any independent wrestling promotions to get her start, she did have an athletic background, competing in competitive cheerleading. Morgan has been vocal in the past as well that she did not finish high school, dropping out at the age of 16 after her high school wanted her to repeat her sophomore year due to various reasons. She saw this as a real opportunity to try and chase her dream in wrestling. It was then that she went for her GED and attended community college at 17 years old.
She’d end up working as a model and waitress at a Hooters restaurant to pay the bills. Morgan has been vocal in the past that she was living on her own at the age of 18. By the age of 19, she was discovered by WWE at Joe DeFranco’s gym in New Jersey. Thus earning herself a WWE tryout and being signed in Oct. 2014 to be a part of the WWE developmental roster at age 20. It was a lot in a short amount of time for Morgan, who had a love for the company she now worked for at a young age.
As we know, it was only three years later in 2017 that she would debut on WWE’s main roster, that being SmackDown, alongside Ruby Riott and Sarah Logan to form the Riott Squad. As we sit here in 2020, she’s now getting her most opportune chance to shine as a member of that same show, SmackDown, and it’s young women’s division. The sky really is the limit for Morgan, 26, who is connecting all the dots to be one of WWE’s finest in-ring competitors as she continuously shows new moves and skills inside the squared circle. Time will tell as to where Morgan goes from here as a WWE superstar, but with “Liv Forever” airing on the WWE Network, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Morgan to show that potential once and for all. Daring, willing, and growing, Morgan is going to be a star moving forward.
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