Following their standout match at World Wrestling Entertainment’s November 14 event Tribute to the Troops, Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan both enjoyed pivotal moments on November 15’s Monday Night Raw. Both performers have experienced their share of uncertainty in the WWE Universe, but both seem to be on the cusp of intriguing new angles.
Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan: On the Rise
“The EST” Bianca Belair was living a Cinderella story until SummerSlam 2021. After spending time on the rosters of NXT and Raw, she blossomed whilst on the Friday Night SmackDown roster in 2020 and 2021. After winning the women’s event at Royal Rumble, Belair challenged then-SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and won the title from her in a history-making bout at Wrestlemania 37 in April 2021. She also feuded with Bayley during her time on SmackDown, helping to solidify the “Role Model’s” heel turn. Until SummerSlam, “The EST” was a star on the rise… Then came a 26-second squash against Becky Lynch that not only saw her lose the SmackDown women’s title but begin a losing streak on WWE television that wasn’t broken until Tribute to the Troops. In her many encounters with Lynch, Belair has come off diminished each time.
Hope may lie in a new storyline opposite Doudrop. On November 15’s Raw, Belair captured her second victory in as many days in a match against former WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Tamina. Tamina dominated the encounter initially, but Belair changed the character of the match by hitting a spinebuster on Tamina. Tamina fought back by landing superkicks on Belair, and then attempted to climb the ropes to land a Superfly Splash. Belair thwarted the attempt and was able to end things in her favor with her Kiss of Death finisher, and a pinfall. The match itself, and its outcome, was predictable, but what happened afterward was promising-Doudrop entering the scene and meeting Belair with a challenge, for after Survivor Series.
Keeping one performer perpetually in a championship race can dim their likeability, as occurred with Drew McIntyre during his latter days on Raw, in which he repeatedly sought and failed to regain the WWE Championship from Bobby Lashley. Rather than continuing to diminish her character, a feud with Doudrop could reestablish Belair as a feisty “never-say-die” babyface. Doudrop, as her body of work in NXT UK and Insane Championship Wrestling bears witness, has immense in-ring skill, but hasn’t had much chance to show the full extent of it on Raw. In Belair, Doudrop gets a far more competent in-ring partner than Eva Marie. She and “the EST” are bound to have some great moments in the ring, which will make Belair look strong again when she inevitably pursues the Raw women’s championship once more, sown the road.
With her feud with Bianca Belair on pause, Becky Lynch has her sights set on her champion vs. champion match against longtime “frienemy” Charlotte Flair. While addressing Flair in absentia in the ring, Lynch was interrupted by Liv Morgan. Morgan won the right to challenge Lynch in a fatal five-way against Belair, Rhea Ripley, Zelina Vega, and Carmella on November 7’s Raw. She made sure the champion didn’t forget about her, sardonically apologizing for interrupting her “love, hate, obsession thing” regarding Flair.
It was gutsy, and despite her sporadic use by WWE creative, Morgan is beloved by WWE fans for her vivacity. However, it earned her a devastating verbal blow from Lynch. Upon departing for parental leave in 2020, Lynch famously told Morgan she believed that Morgan would become a champion in her absence. In a low blow, Lynch told Morgan that she’d been wrong about her, and Morgan had underperformed.
It was the moment that both Morgan and Lynch needed. Morgan is easy to like but has not been made easy to invest in. She’s brimming with potential, but in character hasn’t had a clearly defined hero’s journey. The two-faced insult from Lynch about her shortcomings gives her something galvanizing to live down, whilst trying to live up to her own ambitions.
As for Lynch, this is WWE’s second attempt to make her a heel, and it seems to have finally stuck as the crowd reacted to Lynch’s insult to Morgan with stunned silence. This was Lynch, the underdog, putting down another underdog she had once championed, and it was the line Lynch needed to cross to bridge the gap between the organic success of “The Man” and the new “Big Time Becks” persona.
With Morgan interjected in the middle of the Raw Women’s Championship picture, Lynch has a clear babyface foil to her new heel character, and with Belair taking a break from the race she has a chance to regroup and come back on the attack with her credibility restored.