Liv Morgan Defeats Ronda Rousey; Retains SmackDown Women’s Title at WWE SummerSlam
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival
In her first title defense, Liv Morgan defeated Ronda Rousey in controversial fashion at WWE SummerSlam on Saturday to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Rousey dominated the bout, locking in her trademark armbar multiple times to weaken the titleholder.
The end of the match saw the challenger go for the submission with the armbar. Morgan got to her feet while still in the hold and her leverage got Rousey’s shoulders on the mat. The referee counted three, but Morgan tapped out as his hand was coming down the third time.
The referee missed it, awarding the decision to the champion. Rousey, after losing the title four weeks ago when Morgan cashed in her Money in the Bank briefcase, snapped and attacked her and the referee after the match.
Early in July, Morgan shocked the WWE Universe by scoring the two biggest victories of her career in the same night.
On July 2, Morgan outlasted six of the best female Superstars WWE has to offer to win the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match and secure a future championship opportunity.
Later that same night, Rousey put the SmackDown women’s title on the line against Natalya and beat her to retain, but she took a great deal of damage, as The Queen of Harts worked her leg over throughout the contest.
With Rousey nearly unable to stand, Morgan ran down the ramp and handed the referee the briefcase. Just seconds later, the match was official, and she defeated the former UFC star to win her first title in WWE.
Morgan received a huge reaction for the win, as large portions of the WWE Universe have long called for her to receive a push to the top and an eventual title reign.
One person who wasn’t particularly happy about Morgan’s title win, however, was Natalya, who interrupted her promo time on numerous occasions after Money in the Bank.
Nattie claimed that she was the only reason Morgan beat Rousey for the SmackDown women’s title and she couldn’t have done so if Rousey wasn’t so worn down from their match.
Rousey was far more diplomatic, shaking Liv’s hand after the match at Money in the Bank and congratulating her in a subsequent promo.
In terms of strength and physicality, The Baddest Woman on the Planet had a huge advantage over Morgan entering SummerSlam, which led to some speculation that the champion would fall flat in her first title defense.
This match certainly didn’t do anything to change that opinion, though Morgan is leaving Nashville, Tennessee with the championship. The finish sets up a potential rematch, with Clash at the Castle looming on Sept. 3.
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