NXT video highlights: Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe collide
Liv Morgan is livin’ the dream in NXT
Regular viewers of NXT may have noticed her penchant for wearing a baseball cap and sneakers to the ring, or perhaps her football jersey, which pays homage to her home state of New Jersey.
With an unabashed sense of individuality, Liv Morgan has arrived on the scene of NXT. Also bringing with her a glowing excitement and an affirmative outlook, she realizes just how lucky she is to be competing under the NXT banner.
“To have made it here is completely humbling and beyond anything I could have imagined,” she told WWE.com. “I wake up every day excited to learn.”
After being discovered at Joe DeFranco’s Gym in Wyckoff, N.J., Liv began training at the WWE Performance Center in October 2014. It’s an experience she describes as a childhood dream come true.
“I grew up a huge wrestling fan,” she said. “My mom was a single parent raising six kids, and she worked very hard to provide whatever she could for us. We didn't have fancy material items, but we had cable, which meant we had WWE broadcasting multiple times a week. That completely took over our lives. I fell in love with it the first moment I watched.”
Liv’s love of WWE consumed her so much that she and her four older brothers built a makeshift ring in the backyard of their Elmwood Park, N.J., home.
I feel best when I'm in sweatpants, a pair of J's and a snapback.
“We dug four poles into the ground and put lawn chairs in front of them for buckles,” she explained. “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.
According to the fiery NXT rookie, it didn’t take long for her to channel her inner competitor.
“I would literally take Pedigrees and powerbombs like it was my job,” Liv 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.”
Liv’s lawn chair-laden ring has since been replaced by WWE’s 20- by-20 squared circle, where she gets to train and compete inside every week. One might suggest the timing of her ascent is perfect, as many aficionados credit WWE’s much-publicized Divas Revolution as the starting point for the next golden age for women’s wrestling.
“Seeing the spotlight on all the women in the company is empowering,” she said. “Not only girls want to see the women wrestle, but men want to, as well. The fact that Bayley vs. Sasha Banks in [TakeOver:] Brooklyn was acknowledged as NXT’s Match of the Year is just as telling as what the female talent is capable of, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.”
At 21 years old, Liv freely admits that she has a long road ahead to prove herself in NXT. Yet, she credits a deeply personal motivation with driving her to succeed.
“The passing of my dad really took a toll on everyone, especially my brothers,” she revealed. “They didn't have that father figure anymore, and started constantly getting into trouble. I definitely believe I learned from all their mistakes, which I am so grateful for.”
It was through those hard times that Liv realized who and what she needed to be.
“Growing up, I knew that I wanted and needed to be different,” she said. “I took it upon myself to be the one to do something great — not only for myself or to make my family proud, but to be able to give them all a better life.”
And to give her family a better life, Liv promises to stay true to herself every step of the way.
“I don't know how to be anything other than myself. I'm not a fan of makeup or dressing up,” she said. “I feel best when I'm in sweatpants, a pair of J's and a snapback. I grew up heavily influenced by hip hop music and pop culture, and I'd choose pizza over everything. There is nothing like individuality and to feel alive in your own skin. I want people that grew up struggling like me to know that no matter what circumstances you live in, even when you feel it’s hopeless, if you work hard and believe in yourself, you can and will achieve anything. No dream is too big.”