Rhea Ripley is building a head of steam heading into WrestleMania 39 as she will compete against Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
On Friday night, Ripley took on Liv Morgan, challenging the winner of the 2023 Women’s Royal Rumble to a match. Morgan started off strong trying to take down his 5-foot-7 Judgment Day roommate, with Dominik Mysterio in his corner at ringside.
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Liv Morgan enters the ring during the WWE Royal Rumble at the Alamodome on January 28, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. (Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)
However, Morgan fell short and lost to Ripley who hit the Riptide maneuver and put Morgan into a modified cloverleaf to get her hit. Ripley would continue to talk trash throughout the match and at one point even target Flair to make sure he was seeing what he was doing to Morgan.
In the stands, a huge Morgan fan was seen in tears, upset that his favorite fighter had lost. Morgan welcomed the fan backstage at SmackDown. Images showed Morgan comforting the fan.
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Rhea Ripley, left, and Liv Morgan wrestle during the women’s WWE Royal Rumble at the Alamodome in San Antonio on January 28, 2023. (Joe Camporeale-USA Today Sports)
It’s been tough for Morgan lately. She put on a show at Elimination Chamber last month, but fell short of a shot at the Raw Women’s Championship as Asuka won the match. She lost to Asuka before the February pay-per-view on Smackdown and was also part of a six-man tag team that fell to Asuka, Carmella and Nikki Cross.
Morgan’s last win was on February 10, when she and Raquel Rodriguez defeated Chelsea Green and Sonya Deville in a tag team match.
Liv Morgan watches the WWE Royal Rumble at the Alamodome on January 28, 2023 in San Antonio, Texas. (Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)
Ripley has been on fire lately. Despite losing a mixed tag team match to Edge and Beth Phoenix, she won the Royal Rumble, pinning Candice LeRae on January 9 and winning against Akira Tozawa and Asuka.
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WrestleMania 39 is set for April 1st and 2nd.
Ryan Gaydos is the editor-in-chief of Fox News Digital.